View Full Version : What goes in an active god-sorcerer-king's lair?

2013-03-02, 05:00 PM
I'm constructing the ziggurat of Kalak (of Tyr, Athas, Dark Sun) as a dungeon, and trying to figure out what all to put in it. (AD&D 2E, as if that really matters.)

For background, Kalak is an immortal sorcerer-king who may or may not be partly a dragon, and who may or may not be working up to becoming a dragon (or more of a dragon) - but he sure is planning some kind of evil sorcery (involving using special orbs fashioned from obsidian that may drain and store life energy), and the ziggurat plays a key part. It's occupied the majority of his attention and consumed the majority of Tyr's resources for years and years. Also, forget all canon pre-history about the Blue and Green Ages (and the genocidal wars of Rajaat were fought with psionic powers, sorcery, ray guns and hydrogen bombs).

It's a bit of a weird special case. There's really no room for typical wandering monsters - it's in use by Kalak himself (although infrequently - it's mostly waiting for the right time), so it's pretty much traps, extraplanar servants, constructed servants, and undead. There's also no human or demihuman presence - Kalak's own high templars are basically allowed in a few outer rooms, and that's it.

Mostly, I'm trying to come up with purposes for rooms and sets of rooms, and would love some ideas.

So far I've got:
- Libraries (history, philosophy, natural history; sections of magica tomes)
- Summoning chambers, gate chambers, teleportation chambers, rooms for binding fiends and elementals
- Cells for keeping fiends and monsters
- Lots and lots of obsidian orbs, in weird life-draining experiments; I really need to come up with something specific and interesting here
- Elemental plane nodes (Kalak's templar-priests gain power for him because he has made himself a conduit for power from the Inner Planes)
- Laboratories (alchemical, magical, necromantic, magibotanical)
- Magical forges (for weapons, armor, golems, items, etc.)
- Magical greenhouse gardens (potion fruit) powered by continual light
- Storerooms and repositories for magical supplies (everything from corpses to seeds, rare ingredients and metals)
- Magical pools or fountains (of the good ol' "roll d20 to see what happens when you drink" variety, and possibly of the "a nymph shows up and steals your grey dragon scale mail" variety...)
- Scrying chambers ("living" painted murals of specific locations, mirrors, reflecting pools, fonts)
- Murals, engravings, and tapestries depicting Kalak's history from his point of view; probably even more untruthful than the current official versions, pure propaganda depicting him as a Gilgamesh-type character

- Shafts and pits forming one-way connections between levels
- Sub-levels within levels (a section of a level connected to one other level, but not to the level it is on)
- Secret passages from the lower levels to various places (Kalak's Golden Tower, the arena floor, Under-Tyr, etc.)

I need ideas to fill 7 levels (the 8th is a relatively small shrine on the top), so I've definitely got a ways to go. The lower levels are huge (the bottom level's inside dimensions are more than 700' by 500').

2013-03-02, 09:32 PM
First of all, I clicked on this thinking it said "what goes in an active god-sorcerer-king's hair?" Which would be an awesome question.

Thinking about what I would want if I were a god-sorcerer-king building a ziggurat, that you haven't listed:

-Astronomy room
-Some place for him to actually live? I'm not sure how often "rarely there" is
-Libraries (as you mentioned) with really nice enchantments for finding and cross-referencing books
-Freezer rooms of some sort for preserving delicate spell components
-Observation chambers split with a partial/glass/magical wall of some sort so that monsters can be observed/cast spells on/etc. from a safe distance

Can you tell I'm in the sciences? :smalltongue:

2013-03-02, 10:39 PM
-Along with the shafts and pits between levels, automated elevators (powered by ropes and gears like dumbwaiters, or just levitation magic)

-A menagerie (zoo) of magical or just bizarre creatures, with an aquarium wing

-The obsidian orbs in a classic mad-wizard laboratory (alembics, weird bubbling colored liquids in twisty pipes, stuffed alligators and... less recognizable creatures hanging from the ceiling), but on a much larger scale than usual, and many, many torturous experiments are conducted to drain the life force of living subjects to feed energy into a device to fuel his evil plot (it'll probably be used to turn Kalak into a full dragon)

2013-03-02, 11:42 PM
How close to Dark Sun canon do you want? As I understand it, the entire thing is just an arena and is meant to gather the population of Tyr into one place.

2013-03-03, 01:46 AM
Moriwen & Frathe: Thank you, definitely adding that stuff to the list! I especially like the menagerie and the freezing storerooms... those will be interesting to explore.

How close to Dark Sun canon do you want? As I understand it, the entire thing is just an arena and is meant to gather the population of Tyr into one place.

Even in canon, the ziggurat is built in front of the Arena. Kalak's Golden Tower and the High Bureaus are at one end of the arena, the ziggurat is at the other (looking at some of the old art, the stairs on the arena side come down to the arena floor). The only real canon facts about the ziggurat is the secret passage from the arena into the ziggurat that Rikus etc. followed, and that's easy enough to integrate.

Like so. (http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/24986/zig.jpg) (I'm totally including the murals in front - obviously they depict a Gilgamesh-like epic story about Kalak, with the four big panels depicting his mastery over the elements. The interior will have a lot more of those)

But ultimately, canon is nothing to me - I can change anything. My Dark Sun is an unholy gonzo mix of Barsoom, Algol (http://planetalgol.blogspot.fi/), Carcosa, Caves of Qud (http://forums.freeholdentertainment.com/showthread.php?10-Welcome-to-the-Caves-of-Qud-beta), Conan's Hyborian Age, and Athas. Mutants, ray guns, sorcery, ancient computers and robots, dinosaurs, psionics, degenerate ape-men, slumbering Great Old Ones...

Funnily enough, the art of Brom still fits perfectly. Half-giant (http://www.pawmarkgraphics.com/chameleon/art1b.gif), some adventurers (http://www.artemisblacks.com/darkage/images/bromart/Brom%20-%20Father.jpg), defiler/kaisharga/t'liz with computer (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JEnuzogBFIs/UQbRMUUcMBI/AAAAAAAAIjk/R2Q_Sau8K_E/s1600/Gerald+Brom+-+Arte+G%C3%B3tica+%2822%29.jpg)...

Oh, that reminds me, must include ancient salvaged computers in some rooms. Also, radium-based lighting (straight from R. E. Howard's Xuthal of the Dusk).