The Crumbling Tower at a Glance
by Creighton Broadhurst
October 10, 2019
Hidden deep in the forest stands the Crumbled Tower. Pressed close by hoary, gnarled trees and wreathed in moss and lichens the tower is a forlorn remnant of an earlier time. Once a wizard lived here, but now the tower is nothing more than a brooding ruin standing amid the forest’s gloom. Sometimes bandits lair within or adventurers wandering the surrounds use the ruin as a base. However, unknown to all, a hidden crypt yet lurks under the tower undisturbed these long ages past.
The Crumbled Tower comprises the following locations:
- Vestibule: Wind-blown detritus covers the vestibule’s floor.
- Guardroom & Barracks: Travellers sometimes camp here.
- Kitchen & Store: Although the tower’s twin chimneys have long since collapsed travellers sometimes light fires in this chamber’s twin fireplaces.
- Great Hall: A large table and benches yet stand here—they are too big to fit down the stairs.
- The Solar: This chamber was Aleksandra’s private domain.
- Study & Roof: Seeking peace from even her own henchmen, Aleksandra worked in her lofty study.
The Old Tunnels have lain undisturbed for centuries.
- U1 The Capstone: This old, weathered capstone wards the Old Tunnels running below the Crumbled Tower.
- U2 Trapped Door: The old ones constructed this door as a deadly lure for tomb robbers searching for hidden treasure.
- U3 The Catacombs: Here lie the ancient heroes’ warrior bodyguard, ready to protect and serve them in the afterlife.
- U4 Ceremonial Pool of the Old Ones: The old ones cast offerings into this pool in hopes the local nature spirit would watch over and protect the tomb.
- U5 Tome of the Fallen: Herein rests a hero of old.
- U6 Hero’s Rest: Herein rests a hero of old.
A thousand years ago, a race of primitive humans dwelt amid the hills and woods of what would become Ashlar. They fought against the orcs infesting the hills and lived a simple existence in harmony with their surrounds. Their heroes, chieftains and shaman were much venerated and their burial rites were far more elaborate than those of the common folk. Worthies were interred in hidden, sealed underground tombs wherein their enemies could not disturb their eternal slumber. The old tunnels below the Crumbling Tower are one such tomb. Sealed for centuries, the tomb has remained undiscovered.
As fate would have it, the wizard Aleksandra Ihalempi chose to build her home above the tomb. Deep in the forests, the location was peaceful and provided her with the solitude and peace she craved to conduct her mystical researches without interruption. Dwelling in the tower for two decades with a few choice henchfolk Aleksandra never discovered the tomb cut into the rock below her home.
Eventually, 50 years ago, Aleksandra’s adventurous past caught up with her. One night, cultists assailed her tower, slew her servants and spirited Aleksandra away for ritual sacrifice to their dark god’s glory. Damaged in the battle, her tower slowly crumbled into decay and decrepitude.
Since Aleksandra’s death, the tower has been sporadically fought over by disparate groups; sometimes bandits camp in the tower while other times adventurers come to poke around the ruin in hopes of finding overlooked treasures.
About Dungeon Backdrops
You are a GM, but you are busy. You want to write your own modules, but you just don’t have the time. And you don’t want to use commercial modules. You want to make your campaign your own. That’s where the Dungeon Backdrop line comes in! Each Dungeon Backdrop presents a fully fleshed out and lovingly detailed self-contained dungeon ready for you to use as you see fit. Stock the dungeon with your own monsters (and—perhaps—their treasure), decide their back story and you are good to go.
This Dungeon Backdrop is designed to work with the Duchy of Ashlar and Gloamhold campaign setting but can be easily inserted into almost any fantasy campaign. Dungeon Backdrops: we describe the dungeon, you add the monsters (and the treasure).
Dungeon Backdrop: The Crumbled Tower is available in Pathfinder 1, 5e and System Neutral editions. The Crumbled Tower also appears in GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Backdrop (also available in Pathfinder 1, 5e and System Neutral editions).