B1 In Search of the Unknown - A Hyperborean Campaign Alternative Using the Astounding Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea setting.
Years ago Zelligar the Uncaring, a Necromancer/Alchemist of great renown, and his loyal henchman Rogahn the Bald, constructed a vast underground dwelling, laboratory and fortification they called Quasqueton. This labyrinth of rooms and passages was built far from any towns or settlements, deep within a forested land and dug into a crested hill that commanded an excellent view of the surrounding area. Zelligar valued his solitude since his experiments were dark and dangerous and while the life or death of any other than himself mattered not to him, he did not like interference in his affairs.
It is said that the construction of Quasqueton took decades and cost the lives of hundreds of laborers. Zelligar found that animating the corpses of the slain greatly added to the efficiency of his workforce; his surviving workers began to slip away only to be hunted down by Rogahn and added to Zelligar's unliving crew. What other enchantments Zelligar used to construct his fortification no one can tell, but as they neared completion powerful beasts, demons and daemons and monsters of all sorts were seen aiding in the building of the seemingly numberless halls and chambers carved from bedrock deep within the forested hill.
For years both Zelligar and Rogahn disappeared from the knowledge of men. The few workers who survived told tales of the labyrinthine passages, the deep chambers, the finding of passages old and abandoned that joined with the fresh work of Zelligar's fortress-laboratory. They spoke of things best not seen by man, and some, those who had worked on the deepest levels of the complex, refused to speak at all, only hinting at terrible and unnatural things that sang in the darkness and stripped the souls from men.
And then one day a band of bloodied mercenaries appeared in the nearest towns, with a husk of a man as their leader. Drained and withered, Rogahn stayed among the townsfolk, who were filled with questions, only long enough to buy supplies and any fresh mounts he could find before riding away, putting as much distance as he could between himself and his former home, Quasqueton.
In terse words and sepulcher tones Rogahn warned the townsfolk that they were far enough away, that beasts and monsters now stalked the upper halls, but something woken by Zelligar from beyond the void between the worlds ruled the deep chambers, something older and far more evil than man. Beware the singers in the darkness he warned and rode away.
That was years ago and both Zelligar and Rogahn are folktales now among the people of the surrounding land. The very name Quasqueton is forgotten by the people, but not by those who have studied ancient texts, who search for power no matter how dangerous, evil or unnatural it may be. It is known by few that Zelligar built upon that hill not by chance but by design. Power drew him there to a place where power once had dwelled and been swallowed by the earth in ages before man had even come down from the trees.
Those seeking such power and lived have learned caution, and it is not they who will breach the doors of lost Quasqueton and walk its long forgotten halls. No, they have hired mercenaries and sought adventurers to be their stalking goats. With old maps and minor enchantments they have equipped the brave and foolish. Now Quasqueton awaits and what rewards or terrors may be found cannot be said for the adventurers are in search of the unknown. With luck the unknown may not find them first.
This is an introductory adventure for a party of 6-8 1st level characters. If retainers or hirelings are used it is recommended that they be unskilled 0-level torch holder types. As the party delves deeper into the halls of Quasqueton the dangers will increase as should the experience level of the party, their wealth and the quality of any followers or hirelings.
Quasqueton is both a modern dungeon built by Zelligar and a series of ancient tunnels and chambers built by mages and monsters of old and deeper down, because Quasqueton is a very deep dungeon, are places where man did not dwell, passages carved or shaped by things; horrors that should not be and are best not encountered, and rewards, well, the reward of survival, perhaps mere earthly rewards of gold and gems and items of great power, but the cost even for the survivors may be more than they ever receive in return.
End Part 1