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DND Dwarf Stronghold Campaign

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Introduction:

I love writing campaigns, I try to write one shots but invariably they become something bigger and bigger and so I've decided that in essence I'm a go big or go home writer. I decided with this DND Dwarf Stronghold Campaign to write a series of adventures that would see the party stuck underground perhaps for months and thought that it might be an interesting campaign setting for DMs for two reasons:


  1. During the campaign the setting changes as a result of adventures themselves. The stronghold is rather likely the Lonely Mountain that has just been reclaimed by Dwarves, but the battle to take back control of their home has depleted their already limited numbers. This means that they need PCs in order to explore and patrol their fiefdom, and the more adventures the PCs complete, the more established the stronghold will be. Quite possibly, when the PCs move on to other adventures there will be a functioning polity right there for them to revisit and have deep connections for good or ill with.

  2. The Dwarves themselves are strangers in their own domain. The new rulers of the stronghold know of it only from their great grandfathers, who were the last generation to have direct experience of life there. There are maps, but they are out of date, parts of the stronghold have been destroyed, other parts corrupted by the forces of evil or adapted by monsters. This adventure can work as a Western Marches, with an established level of the stronghold acting as base camp and different levels offering a variety of exploring opportunities. If you want to do things like this, skip down to the end of the article and check out the locations. These can be integrated with the ongoing narrative of the following ten adventure outlines.


In this adventure we must go back into the ancient history of the Dwarven clan, the Ironfists, that the PCs are trying to help. A distant clan, the Stonehammers, long thought extinct and guilty of a terrible betrayal that led to the stronghold falling are more alive than anyone suspects. One of their descendents, Helga Stonehelm, has become a trusted part of the Ironfist clan but has deep allegiences to the realm of Orogos, the demon kingdom that led to the fall of the stronghold centuries ago. This traitor's unmasking will be key plotline throughout this adventure.


Campaign Outline:

Part 1: Reclamation and the Call for Help


Objective

The party is summoned to aid the Dwarves in their newly reclaimed stronghold, which had fallen to Underdark forces. They meet King Thrain Ironfist and learn about the fortress's vastness and the dangers still present in the uncharted depths. Each member of the party has some form of connection to King Thrain, either as Dwarves or other character races.


Key Events:


1.Arrival at the Stronghold:

Setting the Scene: The party arrives at the massive entrance of the Dwarven stronghold, carved into the mountainside. The fortress, though recently reclaimed, shows signs of both ancient grandeur and recent battles. Guards stand at attention, their faces a mix of relief and wariness.

Welcoming Committee: The party is greeted by a delegation of Dwarven soldiers and led through the impressive gates into the main hall. The air is filled with the sounds of rebuilding, the clang of hammers, and the murmur of voices.


2. Meeting with King Thrain Ironfist:

The Grand Hall: The party is escorted to the grand hall where King Thrain Ironfist and the Dwarven council await. The hall is adorned with banners and ancient relics, but also shows signs of recent damage and repair.

King's Speech: King Thrain Ironfist, a formidable figure with a gray beard and heavy armor, greets the party. He expresses gratitude for their arrival and explains the current state of the stronghold.

Connections: Each party member has a moment to interact with King Thrain, revealing their personal connections. Some might be old friends, others owing favors or having a deep respect for the Dwarven king.


3. Learning About the Fortress's History:

Historical Briefing: The council provides a detailed history of the fortress, explaining how it fell to Underdark forces and the recent struggles to reclaim it. They highlight the vast network of halls, mines, and tunnels that need to be explored and secured.

Current Situation: The fortress is not yet fully secure. Pockets of resistance and unknown threats still lurk in the uncharted depths. The party is tasked with scouting these areas to map out and identify any dangers.


4. The First Mission: Scouting the Outer Halls:

Mission Briefing: The party is given their first mission to scout the outer halls, a crucial step to ensure the safety of the stronghold’s outer perimeter. They are provided with basic maps and supplies.

Departure: The party sets out through the main gates, entering the dimly lit tunnels. The atmosphere is tense, with the weight of the task ahead and the unknown dangers lurking in the darkness.


First Scouting Mission Details:


1. Exploration:

Initial Exploration: The outer halls are a maze of ancient stone corridors, some partially collapsed or blocked by debris. The party must navigate through these, relying on their wits and skills to avoid traps and pitfalls.

Signs of Recent Activity: As they progress, they find signs of recent activity – discarded weapons, makeshift barricades, and remnants of camps used by the Underdark forces.


2. Encounters:

Underdark Creatures: The party encounters small groups of Underdark creatures, such as goblins and giant spiders, testing their combat abilities and teamwork.

Environmental Hazards: Natural hazards, like unstable ceilings and hidden pits, add to the danger. The party must use their skills to safely navigate these obstacles.


3. Initial Plot Twist:

Mysterious Artifact: In one of the outer chambers, the party discovers a hidden room containing a mysterious artefact – an ancient Dwarven relic that emits a faint, eerie glow. The artefact seems out of place and bears strange markings that none of the Dwarves can immediately identify.

Suspense and Drama: As they examine the artefact, they trigger an ancient mechanism. The walls shift, revealing hidden passages and releasing a horde of undead Dwarven warriors. These warriors, once guardians of the stronghold, have been corrupted by dark magic.


4. Cliffhanger:

Retreat and Report: The party must fight their way out of the chamber, narrowly escaping the undead horde. They make their way back to the stronghold, eager to report their findings and warn King Thrain of the new threat.

Suspicion and Uncertainty: The discovery of the artefact and the undead raises questions and suspicions. Who placed the artifact there? Was it part of the original defenses, or has it been tampered with by the Underdark forces? The party is left with more questions than answers, setting the stage for further exploration and intrigue.


BTW - for more ideas on how to have a party meet up moment that isn't in a tavern and is down to a 'summons from a lord' then watch the video below where I set out the moves:




Adventure Outline: Shadows in the Outer Halls


Objective:

The party explores the outer halls, facing initial threats such as Underdark creatures and remnants of the evil forces.


Key Events:


1. Debriefing with King Thrain:

Setting the Scene: After their narrow escape, the party returns to the grand hall to report their findings. The atmosphere is tense, and the council is eager to hear their report.

King’s Concern: King Thrain Ironfist, visibly troubled by the news of the undead Dwarven warriors and the mysterious artefact, asks the party for detailed accounts. The council discusses the implications, emphasizing the need to secure the outer halls and understand the source of the dark magic.


2. Preparing for Further Exploration:

Provisioning: The party is provided with additional supplies and equipment. Thrain Goldforge, the master blacksmith, offers to enhance their weapons and armour with ancient Dwarven craftsmanship. This interaction solidifies the connection with Thrain from the first adventure.

Strategic Briefing: The council outlines the next mission: to thoroughly explore the outer halls, eliminate any remaining threats, and investigate any signs of sabotage. Lady Helga Stonehelm, using her strategic acumen, provides a detailed map and advice on navigating the area.


3. Venturing into the Outer Halls:

Journey Begins: The party sets out once more, delving deeper into the outer halls. The air grows colder, and the light dims as they move away from the inhabited parts of the stronghold.

Environmental Details: The outer halls are filled with remnants of past battles – broken weapons, scorched walls, and collapsed passages. The sound of dripping water and distant echoes add to the eerie atmosphere.


4. Encounters with Underdark Creatures:

Ambush: The party is ambushed by a group of Underdark creatures – goblins and giant spiders. The battle tests their combat skills and teamwork. These are creatures that have inhabited the stronghold for centuries and have only recently become aware of intruders.

Surprise Attack: During the fight, the party hears guttural sounds indicating the presence of more powerful foes nearby. A brief, intense skirmish ensues, ending with the party victorious but wary of more threats.


5. Discovery of Ancient Dwarven Artifacts:

Hidden Chamber: The party stumbles upon a hidden chamber, sealed for centuries. Inside, they find ancient Dwarven artefacts, including weapons, armour, and relics of cultural significance.

Artefact Analysis: Borin Silvervein, the scribe and historian, is called upon to examine the artefacts. His deep knowledge of Dwarven history provides valuable insights, revealing that some artefacts have been tampered with, hinting at sabotage.


6. First Hints of Sabotage:

Sabotaged Mechanisms: As they explore further, the party discovers evidence of deliberate sabotage – broken mechanisms, tampered traps, and disrupted defences. These findings suggest an inside job, raising suspicions among the Dwarven council.

Suspicious Activity: The party encounters a group of Dwarven workers who appear to be acting suspiciously. Upon questioning, these workers seem nervous and evasive, further fuelling the party’s suspicions of internal betrayal.


7. Initial Plot Twist:

Saboteur’s Mark: In one of the sabotage sites, the party finds a hidden symbol – an ancient mark associated with a rival Dwarven clan thought to be extinct. This discovery hints at deeper conspiracies and suggests that the traitor within the high council might be linked to this clan.

Dramatic Escape: As the party uncovers this clue, they are attacked by a more formidable Underdark force, including dark elves and mind-controlled beasts. The battle is fierce, and the party must retreat strategically to avoid being overwhelmed.


8. Returning to the Stronghold:

Reporting Back: The party returns to the stronghold, bringing the ancient artifacts and their findings of sabotage. King Thrain and the council are alarmed by the evidence of internal betrayal and the presence of the rival clan’s mark.

Increased Tension: The stronghold is now on high alert. Trust within the council is shaken, and the Dwarven leaders must grapple with the possibility of a traitor in their midst. The party’s success in uncovering these threats earns them greater respect and trust, but also places them at the center of a growing political storm.


Key NPC Interactions:

- King Thrain Ironfist: Deepens his trust in the party, relying on their skills and judgment.

- Thrain Goldforge: Strengthens their equipment and shares knowledge of ancient Dwarven craftsmanship.

- Lady Helga Stonehelm: Provides strategic advice and support, becoming a key ally in navigating the political intrigue.

- Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge helps decode the significance of the artifacts and sabotage.



Adventure Outline: The Forgotten Forge


Objective:

Investigate the old forge district to determine its operational status and clear it of any threats.


Key Events:


1. Briefing and Preparations:

Setting the Scene: After returning from the outer halls, the party meets with King Thrain Ironfist and the Dwarven council. The atmosphere is tense, with the recent discoveries of sabotage still fresh.

King’s Directive: King Thrain, with Lady Helga Stonehelm and Thrain Goldforge at his side, tasks the party with investigating the old forge district. The forge is critical to the stronghold’s defense and economy, and its operational status must be determined.

Preparations: Thrain Goldforge provides the party with enhanced weapons and armor, tailored for combat in the potentially hazardous forge environment. Borin Silvervein supplies historical insights and maps of the forge district.


2. Journey to the Forge District:

Setting Off: The party sets out through the ancient tunnels leading to the forge district. The air grows warmer and the walls bear soot marks, remnants of the once bustling industrial heart of the stronghold.

Environmental Details: The path is strewn with debris and signs of past battles. The sound of distant clanking and the faint glow of embers suggest lingering dangers.


3. Encounter with Fire Elementals:

Initial Battle: As the party approaches the main forge chamber, they are ambushed by fire elementals. The elementals, drawn to the residual heat and magical energies of the forge, are hostile and aggressive.

Combat Challenge: The battle tests the party’s combat abilities and coordination. The intense heat and fiery attacks of the elementals add an extra layer of difficulty.


4. Rogue Golems:

Unexpected Foe: Deeper within the forge, the party encounters rogue golems. These constructs, originally designed to assist in the forge’s operations, have been corrupted and now attack intruders indiscriminately.

Strategic Combat: The golems are powerful and resilient, requiring the party to use both brute force and tactical manoeuvres to defeat them. Thrain Goldforge’s knowledge proves invaluable in identifying and exploiting their weaknesses.


5. Securing the Forge:

Clearing Threats: After defeating the fire elementals and rogue golems, the party secures the forge district. They restore the main forge and activate its defenses, ensuring it is safe from future attacks.

Reactivating the Forge: The party, with the help of Thrain Goldforge, manages to reignite the ancient forge. The air fills with the familiar sounds of hammers on anvils and the glow of molten metal, signifying the forge’s return to operational status. Thrain is killed by a hidden foe as he tries to revive the forge


6. Discovery of the Ancient Weapon:

Hidden Chamber: While exploring the deeper parts of the forge, the party discovers a hidden chamber containing an ancient weapon – a legendary warhammer known as “Iron Fury.” This weapon, forged by the ancestors of King Thrain, is imbued with powerful magic.

Historical Significance: Borin Silvervein’s historical knowledge reveals the weapon’s significance. It was crafted to protect the stronghold during times of great peril and is said to possess the power to turn the tide of battle.


7. First Plot Twist:

Ancient Inscription: The weapon bears an ancient inscription hinting at a hidden vault within the stronghold, containing other powerful relics and secrets. The inscription also suggests that the traitor who sabotaged the stronghold might be seeking these relics.

Raising the Stakes: The party realizes that securing the forge is only the beginning. They must now uncover the location of the hidden vault and protect its contents from the traitor and any other threats.


8. Returning to the Stronghold:

The Return: The party returns to the stronghold, bringing news of the forge’s reactivation and the discovery of Iron Fury, but also that sad loss of Thrain Goldforge. Their success boosts the morale of the Dwarves and strengthens their position within the council, but the loss and the question of who the assassin was casts a long shadow.

Strategic Discussions: King Thrain, Lady Helga, and the council discuss the implications of the ancient inscription and the next steps. The party is tasked with continuing their investigations to uncover the hidden vault and thwart the traitor’s plans.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: Expresses deep gratitude for the party’s success and shares the significance of Thrain’s Fury.

Thrain Goldforge: Works closely with the party to reactivate the forge and provides insights into the ancient weapon’s craftsmanship.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: Helps plan the next phase of the investigation, using her strategic mind to guide the party.

Borin Silvervein: Deciphers the ancient inscription and provides historical context, deepening the party’s understanding of their mission.



Adventure Outline: The Deep Mines


Objective:

Venture into the deep mines to map the area and assess the viability of restarting mining operations.


Key Events:


1. Aftermath of Thrain Goldforge’s Assassination:

Setting the Scene: The stronghold is in mourning after the shocking assassination of Thrain Goldforge. The once-busy forge is now a place of solemn silence, and suspicion runs high within the Dwarven council.

Council Meeting: King Thrain Ironfist calls the party and the council members for an emergency meeting. Lady Helga Stonehelm and Borin Silvervein are visibly shaken by the loss. The need to secure the deep mines becomes even more urgent as the stronghold seeks to regain stability and honor Thrain Goldforge’s legacy.


2. Mission Briefing:

Objective Clarification: King Thrain outlines the mission: the party must venture into the deep mines to map the area, assess the potential for restarting mining operations, and uncover any threats that may lie within.

New Allies: In the absence of Thrain Goldforge, a new blacksmith, Bruni Ironshield, steps forward to provide the party with enhanced equipment. She is determined to carry on Thrain’s work and offers to join the party to ensure their success.


3. Entering the Deep Mines:

Descent into Darkness: The party begins their descent into the deep mines, a network of ancient tunnels and caverns that stretch far beneath the stronghold. The air grows colder, and the darkness becomes more oppressive as they go deeper.

Environmental Details: The deep mines are filled with echoes of past mining operations – rusted tools, abandoned carts, and veins of precious metals glinting in the dim light. The atmosphere is tense, with the weight of history and the unknown pressing down on the party.


4. Encounters with Underdark Creatures:

Initial Skirmishes: The party encounters small groups of Underdark creatures, such as cave trolls and darkmantles. These skirmishes test their combat skills and resourcefulness.

Strategic Combat: The creatures are more organized than expected, suggesting a lingering influence from the Underdark forces. The party must use their wits and Bruni Ironshield’s expertise in combat to overcome these threats.


5. Discovering Rich Veins of Precious Metals:

Mapping the Area: As they map the deep mines, the party discovers rich veins of precious metals, including gold, mithral, and adamantine. These resources could greatly benefit the stronghold’s rebuilding efforts.

Ancient Relics: Alongside the precious metals, they find ancient Dwarven mining tools and relics, providing a glimpse into the prosperous past of the stronghold.


6. Finding Evidence of Sabotage:

Old Mining Disaster: Deeper in the mines, the party stumbles upon the site of an old mining disaster. Collapsed tunnels and the skeletal remains of miners tell a tragic tale. Closer inspection reveals evidence of deliberate sabotage – cut supports and signs of explosive use.

Historical Records: Borin Silvervein’s expertise helps piece together the story. The sabotage appears linked to the same rival clan responsible for previous treachery, suggesting a long-standing vendetta against the stronghold.


7. Plot Twist:

Assassin’s Clue: Among the remains, the party finds a clue linked to Thrain Goldforge’s assassin – a distinctive dagger bearing the mark of the rival clan. This discovery ties the recent murder to the ancient sabotage, indicating a deeply rooted conspiracy.

Undead Ambush: As they uncover the clue, the party is ambushed by a group of undead miners, animated by dark magic. The battle is fierce, and the party must use all their skills to survive and escape the collapsing mine.


8. Returning to the Stronghold:

Reporting Back: The party returns to the stronghold with their findings – maps of the deep mines, samples of precious metals, and evidence of sabotage and conspiracy. King Thrain and the council are deeply concerned by the implications.

Increased Vigilance: Security is tightened, and an investigation into the rival clan’s activities is launched. The stronghold is now on high alert, with a renewed focus on rooting out the traitors within.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: She becomes more involved in strategic planning, using the maps and information provided by the party to fortify the stronghold’s defenses.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.




Adventure Outline: The Lost Library


Objective:

Recover lost knowledge from the ancient library, rumored to contain powerful spells and forgotten histories.


Key Events:


1. Briefing by the Council:

Setting the Scene: The party is summoned once more to the grand hall where King Thrain Ironfist and the council discuss the dire need for ancient knowledge contained within the long-forgotten library.

Council’s Plea: Borin Silvervein, the scribe, passionately explains the importance of the library’s contents, which could hold the key to understanding the fortress’s fall and revealing the full extent of the traitor’s plans.

Preparations: Thrain Goldforge provides the party with enhanced equipment suited for magical defenses, and Lady Helga Stonehelm offers strategic advice on navigating the dangers of the ancient library.


2. Journey to the Library:

Setting Out: The party makes their way through the deeper, less explored parts of the stronghold, moving cautiously as the environment becomes more foreboding.

Environmental Challenges: The path to the library is fraught with natural hazards, such as collapsing tunnels and underground rivers. The party must use their skills to overcome these obstacles, showcasing their teamwork and adaptability.


3. Facing Guardian Constructs:

Guardian Encounter: Upon reaching the entrance to the library, the party is confronted by ancient guardian constructs designed to protect the knowledge within. These constructs are formidable, requiring both brute force and clever tactics to defeat.

Combat Details: The guardians have powerful defences and can use spells, making the fight challenging. The party’s combat prowess, bolstered by their new equipment, is put to the test.


4. Entering the Library:

Library Interior: The library is an awe-inspiring sight, with towering bookshelves, ancient scrolls, and magical artefacts scattered about. The air is thick with dust and the faint glow of magical wards.

Exploration: The party must navigate the vast library, dealing with magical traps and deciphering the layout to find the most valuable texts.


5. Deciphering Ancient Texts:

Text Analysis: Borin Silvervein takes the lead in examining the texts, with the party assisting in finding and organizing the materials. They uncover powerful spells, historical accounts, and records of Dwarven lore.

Important Discoveries: Among the texts, they find crucial information about the fortress’s fall, detailing how the traitorous Dwarven clan, known as the Stone Hammer Clan, colluded with Underdark forces to open the gates to Orogos, the realm of dark creatures.


6. Uncovering the Records:

Historical Records: Detailed records reveal the names of the Stone Hammer Clan members involved in the betrayal and their descendants. This information points partially (though inconclusively) to the current traitor within the council Helga Stonehelm.

Suspenseful Revelation: The party learns that one of the high council members, who has been working against them subtly, is a direct descendant of the Stone Hammer Clan, aiming to complete their ancestors' dark mission.


7. Plot Twist:

Sudden Attack: As they piece together the final clues, the party is ambushed by a force of Underdark creatures led by a mind-controlled Dwarf, clearly manipulated by the traitor. This attack within the library adds urgency and danger to their mission.

Desperate Defense: The party must defend themselves and protect the invaluable texts from being destroyed or stolen. This intense battle pushes them to their limits, showcasing their resilience and determination.


8. Returning to the Stronghold:

Triumphant Return: With the ancient knowledge secured and new insights into the traitor’s identity, the party returns to the stronghold. The council is initially relieved but quickly turns somber as the implications of their discoveries set in.

Confrontation: King Thrain calls a secret meeting with trusted council members and the party to plan the next steps. They decide to discreetly gather more evidence against the traitor while fortifying the stronghold’s defenses.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: She becomes more involved in strategic planning, using the maps and information provided by the party to fortify the stronghold’s defences.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.




Adventure Outline: Hall of the Ancestors


Objective:

Reach the Hall of the Ancestors to perform a ritual that will strengthen the Dwarves' resolve and uncover hidden truths.


Key Events:


1. Preparation and Departure:

Council Meeting: The party is summoned to a meeting with King Thrain Ironfist and the Dwarven council. The tension in the room is palpable, as the council discusses the need to perform an ancient ritual in the Hall of the Ancestors to bolster the Dwarves' morale and gain insight into the recent betrayals.

Lady Helga's Strategy: Lady Helga Stonehelm outlines the plan to reach the Hall of the Ancestors, a sacred place deep within the stronghold. She emphasizes the importance of this mission and provides the party with a detailed map and guidance on what to expect. She is of course sending the PCs there to die.

Lore and Knowledge. Borin Silvervein gives a brief history of the Hall and its significance, preparing the party for the spectral guardians they might face.


2. Journey to the Hall:

Navigating the Depths: The party travels through the deeper parts of the stronghold, encountering remnants of Underdark forces. These skirmishes are intense but manageable, serving as a prelude to the greater challenges ahead.

Environmental Hazards: The path to the Hall is fraught with dangers – unstable tunnels, hidden traps, and areas of complete darkness. The party must rely on their skills and the guidance provided by the council to navigate safely.


3. Confronting Spectral Guardians:

Arrival at the Hall: The Hall of the Ancestors is a grand, cavernous chamber filled with ancient statues and inscriptions. The atmosphere is heavy with the presence of Dwarven spirits, guardians of their heritage.

Guardian Encounter: As the party enters the Hall, spectral guardians rise from the shadows to test their worthiness. These spirits are formidable opponents, requiring the party to use all their combat skills and wits to overcome them.

Test of Character: The spectral guardians are not just physical threats; they also pose moral and ethical challenges, questioning the party’s intentions and worthiness. Each party member must confront their inner demons and prove their dedication to the Dwarven cause.


4. Completing the Ritual:

Setting Up: After defeating the spectral guardians, the party prepares to perform the ritual. Borin Silvervein’s knowledge is crucial here, as he guides the party in setting up the ritual components correctly.

Ritual Performance: The ritual is complex, requiring precise actions and chants. The room fills with a powerful, ancient energy as the ritual progresses, culminating in a blinding light and a deep resonant hum.


5. Visions and Revelations:

Receiving Visions: As the ritual concludes, each party member experiences powerful visions. They see glimpses of the past, present, and future, revealing hidden truths about the stronghold, the betrayal, and the traitor within the high council.

The Traitor's Identity: The visions provide clear indications that the traitor is a high-ranking member of the council, linked to the rival clan symbol they discovered earlier. The party sees images of secret meetings, sabotage plans, and the traitor’s ultimate goal to bring the stronghold to ruin.


6. Return and Report:

Journey Back: The return journey is fraught with urgency and determination. The party must evade or confront any remaining Underdark forces while protecting the knowledge they’ve gained.

Council Confrontation: Back in the stronghold, the party urgently requests a private audience with King Thrain and his most trusted advisors. They share their visions and the identity of the traitor, presenting evidence and urging immediate action.


7. Increased Tension and Preparation for Confrontation:

King Thrain's Reaction: King Thrain is both shocked and resolute. He orders an immediate investigation and preparation for confronting the traitor. The party is tasked with gathering additional proof and planning the next steps.

Building Trust: The party’s success in performing the ritual and uncovering the traitor solidifies their trust and respect among the Dwarves. However, the revelations also bring heightened tension and suspicion within the council and the stronghold.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: She becomes more involved in strategic planning, using the maps and information provided by the party to fortify the stronghold’s defenses.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.



Adventure Outline: The Dark Abyss


Objective: Explore the Dark Abyss, a deep chasm within the fortress rumoured to connect to Orogos, the realm of demons.


Key Events:


1. Preparation for the Descent:

Setting the Scene: The party is summoned to the grand hall by King Thrain Ironfist. The council has received disturbing reports of demonic activity in the Dark Abyss, a deep chasm within the fortress. The party's mission is to explore the abyss, battle any demons, and seal any portals to Orogos.

Provisioning: Bruni Ironshield provides the party with specially crafted weapons and armour imbued with ancient Dwarven magic to combat demons. Lady Helga Stonehelm's son Douri, horrified by his mother's betrayal offers strategic advice and a detailed map of the abyss, while Borin Silvervein shares historical lore about Orogos and its connections to the Dwarven stronghold.


2. Descent into the Dark Abyss:

Journey Begins: The party descends into the Dark Abyss, their way lit by enchanted lanterns provided by the Dwarves. The air grows colder and the darkness thicker as they venture deeper into the chasm.

Atmospheric Details: The abyss is filled with eerie sounds, the distant echoes of demonic growls, and the faint smell of sulphur. The walls are lined with ancient Dwarven carvings, many of which depict battles against demonic forces.


3. Initial Encounters:

Demonic Spawn: The party is ambushed by minor demons and their spawn. These battles test their combat skills and the effectiveness of their new weapons.

Environmental Hazards: The chasm is fraught with hazards such as unstable ledges, hidden pits, and poisonous gases. The party must use their skills and ingenuity to navigate these dangers.


4. The Demonic Portal:

Discovery: Deep within the abyss, the party discovers a glowing portal surrounded by demonic runes. The air around the portal is charged with dark energy, and demonic creatures are seen emerging from it.

Combat: A fierce battle ensues as the party fights to hold off the demons while trying to understand how to seal the portal. The intensity of the fight pushes their abilities to the limit.


5. Sealing the Portal:

Ancient Ritual: Borin Silvervein recalls an ancient ritual described in the Dwarven texts that can seal the portal. The party must gather specific components found in the abyss and perform the ritual while fending off waves of demons.

Successful Seal: The party manages to complete the ritual, sealing the portal and cutting off the demonic incursion. The abyss falls silent, but the air remains heavy with a sense of foreboding.


6. Clues to the Traitor:

Mysterious Artifact: Near the sealed portal, the party finds another mysterious artefact similar to the one found in the first scouting mission. This artefact bears the same strange markings and suggests a connection to the rival Dwarven clan.

Suspicious Activity: The party discovers signs that someone has been tampering with the ancient defences and leaving clues deliberately. These clues point towards someone with intimate knowledge of both Dwarven lore and demonic rituals. There must be other traitors.


7. Return to the Stronghold:

Reporting Back: The party returns to the stronghold with the artefact and their findings. King Thrain and the council are deeply troubled by the continued evidence of sabotage and the potential connection to the rival clan.

Increased Tension: The discovery of the artefact and the demonic portal heightens the sense of urgency. The council begins to suspect that the traitor is someone within their ranks who has been orchestrating these events to weaken the stronghold.


8. Revelation and Suspicion:

Interrogation: The party and the council interrogate the suspicious Dwarven workers and compare the clues. They uncover inconsistencies in the workers’ stories and find more evidence linking them to the rival clan.

Plot Thickens: As the party delves deeper into the investigation, they uncover a conspiracy that goes back generations. The traitor's identity remains hidden, but the evidence points towards a high-ranking member of the council.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: Helga has now been revealed as a traitor and the leader of a secret faction within the clan who are planning to stab their comrades in the back at the crucial moment.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.



Adventure Outline: Council of Betrayal


Objective:

Present evidence to the high council and unmask the traitor among them.


Key Events:


1. Gathering Evidence:

Setting the Scene: The party, after their narrow escape and subsequent discoveries, is back in the stronghold’s grand hall. Tensions are high as the council convenes to discuss the recent findings.

Reviewing Clues: The party reviews all evidence gathered from previous adventures, including the mysterious artifact, sabotage marks, and information on the rival Dwarven clan.


2. Summoning the Council:

Council Meeting: King Thrain Ironfist calls for an emergency council meeting. The grand hall is filled with the highest-ranking Dwarven leaders, including Lady Helga Stonehelm, dragged from her prison cell, Thrain Goldforge, Borin Silvervein, and other key figures.

High Stakes: The atmosphere is charged with anticipation and suspicion as everyone waits for the party to present their case.


3. Presenting the Evidence:

Detailed Presentation: The party methodically presents the evidence of sabotage and betrayal, connecting the dots to the ancient rival clan. They highlight the findings of the tampered artifacts, sabotaged mechanisms, and the mark of the rival clan.

Borin Silvervein’s Insights: Borin provides historical context, explaining the significance of the rival clan and its history of animosity towards the current Dwarven leadership.


4. Political Intrigue:

Hidden Agendas: As the evidence is presented, it becomes clear that some council members have hidden agendas. There are whispers and murmurs among the council as old grudges and alliances come to light.

Lady Helga’s Strategy: Lady Helga Stonehelm uses her strategic prowess to guide the discussion, emphasizing the need for unity and swift action and to plead innocence. She subtly supports the party’s findings. At the crucial moment she orders her men to attack.


5. Unmasking the Traitor:

Dramatic Reveal: The party’s investigation shows that Lady Helga was not only a secret Stone Hammer, but has an alliance with Zor, the demon prince of Orogos who desires the mithril of the Iron Fists.

Confrontation: The party confronts the Helga, presenting undeniable evidence of their lineage and involvement in the sabotage. The traitor, cornered, tries to deflect and sow further discord but eventually reveals their true allegiance under pressure.


6. Revealing the Lineage:

Ancestral Ties: The traitor’s lineage is traced back to the ancient rival clan, explaining their deep-seated hatred and motive for betrayal. This revelation shocks the council, shaking the foundation of trust within the Dwarven leadership.

Borin’s Revelation: Borin Silvervein confirms the lineage through ancient records, further solidifying the party’s case. His role as the historian becomes crucial in verifying the traitor’s background.


7. Dramatic Unveiling:

Final Evidence: The party presents the final piece of evidence – a hidden journal or correspondence that outlines the traitor’s plans and communications with the Underdark forces. This leaves no room for doubt about their guilt.

King Thrain’s Judgment: King Thrain Ironfist, deeply troubled by the betrayal, makes a decisive judgment. He cannot bring himself to execute Helga and so exiles her forever, playing directly into Zor's hands.


8. Aftermath:

Restoring Trust: The stronghold begins the process of healing and restoring trust within its leadership. The party’s successful unmasking of the traitor earns them great respect and gratitude from King Thrain and the council.

Preparation for Future Threats: With the traitor unmasked, the stronghold can better prepare for future threats. The party is tasked with continuing their exploration and securing the stronghold, knowing that the enemy may still have agents within their ranks.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: The traitor whose wider schemes are revealed.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.



Adventure Outline: Siege of Shadows


Objective:

Defend the stronghold from a coordinated assault by Underdark forces led by the traitor.


Key Events:


1. Prelude to the Siege:

Setting the Scene: Following the unmasking of the traitor, the stronghold is on high alert. Scouts report increased Underdark activity, signaling an impending assault.

Council Meeting: King Thrain Ironfist calls an emergency meeting. Lady Helga Stonehelm, Thrain Goldforge, and Borin Silvervein are present, along with other key figures. The party is briefed on the defense plans and assigned critical roles.


2. Preparing the Defences:

Strategic Planning: Lady Helga attacks the defenses, leveraging her knowledge and the party’s experience. The party helps organize the Dwarven forces, fortify weak points, and set up traps using the late Thrain Goldforge’s expertise.

Rallying the Troops: The party inspires the Dwarven warriors, emphasizing the importance of unity and resilience. They deliver rousing speeches, boosting morale and preparing everyone for the upcoming battle.


3. The Initial Assault:

Battle Commences: The Underdark forces, led by Helga, who has been promised the throne of the Iron Fists, and her dark allies, launch a fierce attack on the stronghold. The initial wave includes goblins, giant spiders, and dark elves.

Holding the Line: The party leads the defense, using their combat skills and tactical acumen to repel the attackers. They fight alongside familiar NPCs like Gorim Thunderfoot, the captain of the guard.


4. Tactical Maneuvers:

Dynamic Defense: The battle shifts to different parts of the stronghold, requiring quick thinking and adaptability. The party and Dwarven defenders employ strategic retreats, counterattacks, and flanking maneuvers.

Environmental Hazards: The Underdark forces use the stronghold’s layout against the defenders, causing cave-ins and utilizing poison. The party must navigate these hazards while maintaining their defense.


5. The Traitor’s Appearance:

Dramatic Confrontation: Mid-battle, Helga appears, leading a powerful contingent of Underdark creatures. They taunt the party and King Thrain, revealing their plan to reclaim the stronghold for their ancient clan.

Personal Vendetta: Helga’s personal vendetta against the Dwarven leadership and their manipulation of the Underdark forces adds emotional weight to the confrontation.


6. Showdown with the Traitor:

Epic Battle: The party engages in a climactic battle with the traitor and their elite guard. The fight is intense, with the traitor using both martial prowess and dark magic.

Allies’ Support: Key NPCs like Thrain Goldforge and Borin Silvervein provide support during the fight, offering magical enhancements and tactical advice.


7. Turning the Tide:

Decisive Action: The party executes a critical maneuver, using their knowledge of the stronghold’s layout and the traps they set earlier to gain an advantage. They trap and isolate the traitor’s forces, weakening their resolve.

Final Blow: In a dramatic showdown, the party manages to defeat the traitor, either by lethal force or capturing them for trial. This victory demoralizes the remaining Underdark forces.


8. Aftermath and Reflection:

Celebration and Mourning: The stronghold celebrates its victory, but also mourns the losses. King Thrain honors the fallen and rewards the party for their bravery and leadership.

Rebuilding Trust: The unmasking of the traitor and the successful defence of the stronghold help rebuild trust within the council and among the Dwarves. The party’s actions solidify their status as heroes of the stronghold.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Lady Helga Stonehelm: The traitor revealed.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.



Adventure Outline: Final Descent


Objective:

Lead a final expedition into the deepest parts of the fortress to eradicate the remaining evil and secure the stronghold once and for all.


Key Events:


1. Preparing for the Final Descent:

Gathering the Team: King Thrain Ironfist assembles the party along with key allies from previous adventures, including Bruni Ironshield, and Borin Silvervein. Each NPC provides critical support for the final mission.

Equipping for Battle: Thrain Goldforge equips the party with powerful new weapons and armor, forged specifically for this final battle. The equipment is imbued with ancient Dwarven magic, enhancing their abilities.

Strategic Briefing: Lady Helga outlines the plan for the descent into the deepest parts of the fortress. Borin Silvervein provides maps and historical insights, revealing ancient passages and traps to avoid.


2. Descent into Darkness:

The Journey Begins: The party, along with their allies, begins their descent into the depths. The atmosphere grows darker and more oppressive, with dim light casting eerie shadows on the ancient stone walls.

Environmental Hazards: The path is fraught with deadly traps and natural hazards, including collapsing tunnels, hidden pits, and poisonous gas pockets. The party must use their skills and wits to navigate these dangers.


3. Epic Battles:

Initial Skirmishes: The party encounters waves of Underdark creatures, including goblins, giant spiders, and dark elves. These initial battles are fierce but serve as a prelude to the greater threats ahead.

Guardians of the Depths: As they delve deeper, the party faces powerful guardians – ancient stone golems and elemental spirits bound to protect the deepest parts of the fortress. These battles test their strength and resolve.


4. Navigating Deadly Traps:

Ancient Mechanisms: The deepest parts of the fortress are filled with ancient Dwarven traps, designed to protect against invaders. The party must disarm these traps, relying on their tool proficiency and quick thinking.

Strategic Use of NPCs: Lady Helga’s strategic mind helps identify safe paths, while Borin’s historical knowledge reveals hidden mechanisms and secret passages.


5. Confronting the Ultimate Evil:

Reaching the Core: The party finally reaches the heart of the fortress, a vast chamber where the ultimate evil resides. This is the source of the fortress’s original fall – a powerful demon lord who has been manipulating events from the shadows.

The Final Battle: The demon lord, surrounded by a horde of demonic minions, confronts the party. This battle is the climax of the entire campaign, requiring all of their skills, strategies, and newly acquired equipment to prevail.


6. The Epic Showdown:

Unleashing Power: The demon lord Zor reveals its full power, summoning dark magic and unleashing devastating attacks. The party must use their abilities and work together to withstand these assaults and counterattack.

Critical Moments: Key NPCs play crucial roles – Thrain Goldforge’s enchanted weapons deal significant damage, Lady Helga provides tactical support, and Borin’s knowledge of ancient magic offers critical advantages.


7. Securing the Stronghold:

Defeating the Demon: After a gruelling and epic battle, the party finally defeats the demon lord, banishing its evil presence from the fortress. The chamber, once filled with darkness, begins to lighten as the demon’s influence fades.

Restoring the Fortress: The party and their allies work together to cleanse the remaining evil from the depths. Ancient wards are reactivated, and the fortress begins to regain its former glory.


8. The Aftermath:

Celebrating Victory: The party returns to the grand hall, greeted by the cheers of the Dwarves. King Thrain Ironfist honors them with a grand celebration, recognizing their bravery and contributions to securing the stronghold.

Building a Future: With the stronghold secured, the Dwarves can now focus on rebuilding and expanding their kingdom. The party’s actions have ensured the safety and prosperity of the Dwarven people.


9. Reflection and Farewell:

Final Words: King Thrain and the council express their deepest gratitude. The bonds formed during the adventure are solidified, and the party is forever remembered as heroes of the Dwarven stronghold.

Future Adventures: The stronghold, now a beacon of hope and resilience, becomes a starting point for future adventures. The party is free to explore new quests and challenges, with the stronghold as their trusted base.


Key NPC Interactions:

King Thrain Ironfist: His resolve is strengthened by the party’s findings, and he pledges to protect the stronghold at all costs.

Borin Silvervein: His historical knowledge continues to be invaluable, uncovering connections between past and present threats.

Bruni Ironshield: Her dedication to Thrain Goldforge’s legacy and her prowess in battle make her a crucial ally for the party.




Campaign Setting: Key Locations


1. Thrain’s Hold

Description: The central hub of the fortress, serving as the seat of King Thrain Ironfist. It's a bustling area where the Dwarves have started rebuilding their society. The hold includes the council chamber, residential areas, and a central marketplace.

Key Features: Thrain's throne room, the council hall, market stalls, and residential quarters.


2. The Great Forge

Description: An ancient forge district filled with forges, anvils, and workshops. It once produced legendary weapons and armor.

Key Features: The Grand Anvil, master blacksmith workshops, and a mysterious forge with ancient Dwarven runes.


3. The Deep Mines

Description: The extensive mining network beneath the fortress, rich with precious metals and gems. It is also the site of many dangers lurking in the dark.

Key Features: Abandoned mining equipment, rich ore veins, and the site of an ancient mining disaster.


4. The Lost Library

Description: A vast library containing ancient texts, scrolls, and books detailing Dwarven history, magic, and engineering.

Key Features: Endless rows of bookshelves, hidden compartments, and ancient tomes of powerful spells.


5. The Dark Abyss

Description: A terrifying chasm within the fortress that is rumored to be a gateway to Orogos, the demon realm. It is a place of dark power and unspeakable horrors.

Key Features: A deep, dark chasm, demonic altars, and remnants of dark rituals.



Clan Leaders and Nobles

1. King Thrain Ironfist

   - Race: Mountain Dwarf

   - Role: Ruling Hylar (Iron Fist) Clan Leader

   - Description: The mighty leader of the Dwarven stronghold, Thrain is known for his unwavering sense of justice and resilience. His gray beard and heavy armor mark his distinguished position.


2. Lady Helga Stonehelm

   - Race: Hill Dwarf

   - Role: Clan Leader

   - Description: A noble of the Stone Hammer hill dwarves, long thought dead, Helga’s deep intuition and superior vision make her an excellent strategist. She is known for her red hair and keen senses. She is also a traitor who has hidden her origins and presented herself as a Hylar.


3. Lord Durin Stormhammer

   - Race: Mountain Dwarf

   - Role: Noble of the Mighty Southern Kingdom

   - Description: Durin, with his heavy load of responsibility, oversees the trade and relations between Dwarven kingdoms and other races. His gray dwarf ancestry gives him a unique perspective.


Warriors and Defenders

4. Gorim Thunderfoot

   - Race: Mountain Dwarf

   - Role: Captain of the Guard

   - Description: A male dwarf with a strong sense of fair play, Gorim excels in dwarven combat training. His guttural commands echo in the halls, inspiring his troops.


5. Bruni Ironshield

   - Race: Hill Dwarf

   - Role: Elite Warrior

   - Description: Bruni’s dwarven resilience and proficiency in medium armor make her a formidable defender of the stronghold. Her stout frame and piercing eyes are unforgettable.


Craftsmen and Artisans

6. Thrain Goldforge

   - Race: Mountain Dwarf

   - Role: Master Blacksmith

   - Description: Known for his artistry of precious metals and fine jewelry, Thrain’s deep mines produce some of the finest dwarven goods. His tall, muscular build aids in his craftsmanship.


7. Borin Silvervein

   - Race: Hill Dwarf

   - Role: Scribe and Historian

   - Description: Borin, with his vast knowledge of the origins of stonework and history skill, records the events of the stronghold. His paler hue reflects his life spent in dim conditions.


Common Folk

8. Dagna Brewmaster

   - Race: Hill Dwarf

   - Role: Brewer and Cook

   - Description: Dagna’s skills in brewing and cooking are legendary among the dwarves. Her short stature and hearty laugh make her a beloved figure.


9. Eldrin Ironfoot

   - Race: Mountain Dwarf

   - Role: Miner

   - Description: Eldrin’s life underground has given him superior vision and a rugged demeanor. He tirelessly works the deep mines, finding valuable resources for the clan.


Traders and Merchants

10. Hilda Stonefist

    - Race: Hill Dwarf

    - Role: Merchant

    - Description: Hilda deals in dwarven goods, known for her strong sense of justice and fair dealings. Her medium build and sharp eyes are her trademarks.


11. Gimli Gemstone

    - Race: Mountain Dwarf

    - Role: Gem Trader

    - Description: Gimli’s keen senses and deep intuition help him find the best gems. His love for precious stones is reflected in his intricate beard decorations.


Healers and Mystics

12. Thrain Runeweaver

    - Race: Hill Dwarf

    - Role: Healer

    - Description: Thrain’s deep connection to the gods of the dwarves grants him powerful healing abilities. His gray hair and calm demeanor provide comfort to the sick and injured.


13. Hilda Flamekeeper

    - Race: Mountain Dwarf

    - Role: Priestess

    - Description: Hilda, inspired by a deity, maintains the spiritual health of the stronghold. Her wisdom score is unparalleled, and she is a trusted advisor to the king.


Scouts and Explorers

14. Gorin Deepwalker

    - Race: Mountain Dwarf

    - Role: Scout

    - Description: Gorin’s ability to navigate the deep mines and dim conditions make him an excellent scout. His lean build and sharp senses are crucial for his role.


15. Kara Stonefoot

    - Race: Hill Dwarf

    - Role: Explorer

    - Description: Kara’s adventurous spirit and dwarven toughness enable her to explore the rugged terrain surrounding the stronghold. Her enthusiasm is infectious.


Craftsmen and Artisans

16. Thrain Emberforge

    - Race: Mountain Dwarf

    - Role: Weapon Smith

    - Description: Thrain specializes in crafting magic items and weapons. His sturdy frame and deep knowledge of ancient runes make his creations highly sought after.


17. Borin Hammerfall

    - Race: Hill Dwarf

    - Role: Armor Smith

    - Description: Borin’s proficiency in heavy armor crafting is renowned. His tall, muscular build helps him in forging the sturdiest armors.


Guardians and Protectors

18. Eldrin Shieldbearer

    - Race: Mountain Dwarf

    - Role: Guardian

    - Description: Eldrin’s unwavering loyalty and dwarven resilience make him a perfect guardian of the stronghold. His presence is both reassuring and intimidating.


19. Dagna Ironclad

    - Race: Hill Dwarf

    - Role: Defender

    - Description: Dagna’s ability to withstand poison damage and her medium armor proficiency make her a reliable defender. Her stern face and strong build command respect.


Laborers and Commoners

20. Gimli Stonemason

    - Race: Mountain Dwarf

    - Role: Mason

    - Description: Gimli’s deep understanding of stonework and strong sense of industrious labor make him essential for rebuilding the stronghold. His hands are calloused, and his spirit is unyielding.


These NPCs, ranging from noble leaders to hardworking commoners, will add depth and variety to your Dwarven stronghold adventure.



Adventure Hooks for Post-Campaign Adventures


1. The Forgotten Ancestor's Legacy

   - Hook: The party discovers ancient texts hinting at a lost heirloom of a mighty ancestor, buried deep within the roots of the mountains. This heirloom is said to bestow a significant ability score increase to the bearer.

   - Objective: Retrieve the heirloom from an ancient, untouched section of the stronghold.

   - Complications: The path is fraught with traps designed to test one's tool proficiency and base walking speed, and guarded by the spirits of the oldest dwarves.


2. The Gray Dwarves' Redemption

   - Hook: A group of gray dwarves, outcasts living on the fringes of Dwarven society, seeks to redeem their social standing by reclaiming a lost shrine of their gods.

   - Objective: Escort and aid the gray dwarves in their perilous journey to the shrine.

   - Complications: The shrine lies in an area dominated by dim light, infested with creatures that thrive in the dark. The party must navigate these dangers while dealing with the gray dwarves' guttural sounds and mistrust of outsiders.


3. The Clan Feud Ignites

   - Hook: Tensions between two prominent clans, the Stonehelms and the Ironfists, escalate into a full-blown feud threatening the stability of the entire stronghold.

   - Objective: Mediate the conflict and uncover the real instigator behind the feud.

   - Complications: The party must perform ability checks to navigate the political landscape and prove their trustworthiness to both clans, each with their own traditions and values.


4. The Mark of Warding

   - Hook: The stronghold's defenses are failing, and the ancient mark of warding needs to be restored. The mark is believed to be hidden in a nearby abandoned citadel.

   - Objective: Locate and restore the mark of warding to protect the stronghold.

   - Complications: The citadel is a dangerous labyrinth, home to powerful undead and ancient constructs. The party must rely on their constitution scores and dwarven combat training to survive.


5. The Mercenary’s Path

   - Hook: Love festers and old wounds are reopened when a charismatic leader from the human standing, seeking to exploit the stronghold's resources, hires mercenaries to stir unrest.

   - Objective: Uncover the plot, prevent the mercenaries from causing chaos, and restore peace.

   - Complications: The mercenaries are skilled fighters, and the party must outmaneuver them while also handling delicate negotiations with trustworthy members of other races who might help resolve the conflict peacefully.









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