View Full Version : Idea Mill: The Ring Forge

2007-01-04, 05:34 PM
Here's my shameless plug to seek ideas from you guys about how I should design a feature of my game world. The PCs are going to visit this place next game and I need a decent description of it.

On my map of the game kingdom is a mountain about 30 miles across at the base. It's a single peak and it is called the Ring Forge. It is entirely created, built about 2000 years ago by agents of an empire that had a lot of epic spell casters working for it. The original goal of the place was to build a factory that could easily and quickly churn out ... something. Magic weapons, valuable ore, golems, elementals... something like that.

I've told the PCs it's something like Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings. It's more-or-less a massive volcano, though more to the point it probably contains a lot of permanent portals to the various elemental planes. I have visions of white-hot iron golems wading through lava, doing whatever it is they're doing.

I've also told the PCs it is the only place in the kingdom where they can forge items made of mithril or adamantine, because no other forge is hot enough to manage the exotic metals. This is why the PCs are going there. One of them wants to make some mithril armor. The others want to sight-see. So of course I need some sights.

Your ideas?

Fax Celestis
2007-01-04, 05:49 PM
Lava mephit messengers ferrying notes between fire elementals, salamanders, and efreeti. A massive stockpile of created items with defects. Golems of gigantic size creating and/or repairing other golems. Clockwork/steampowered mechanizations, with accompanying clockwork repair bees. Ahihele. (http://www.corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Ahihele) Copperwrought Mezzastromii (http://www.corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Copperwrought_Mezzastromix). A patch of Survaria flowers (http://www.corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Survaria_Flower) in a cooler spot. Pyrrhic Raptors (http://www.corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Pyrrhic_Raptor) circling over the crater of the volcano.

If you feel like being funny, Alocathi Refreshment Simulacri (http://www.corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Alocathi_Refreshment_Simulacrum) scattered throughout.

2007-01-04, 05:56 PM
Is anyone currently using it to create mithril/adamantine equipment? If so, would they let the PCs in or would they jealously guard their monopoly on mithril/adamantine? If it's not in use, why not? (Whatever the reason is, the players are going to encounter it.)

If the place contains lots of portals to different elemental planes, perhaps the denizens of those planes are at war with each other and the volcano is a kind of inter-planar no-man's-land.

2007-01-04, 06:10 PM
I am totally loveing the idea of walking into a massive cavern, illuminated by lava below, to see far in the distance of the cavern a collossal golem going about his labor ponderously.

Fire Elementals trying to ward off some Rust Monsters or Xorns. Players could help... or not.

Rickety (Seeming, but not dangerous unless in combat) gratings high above massive pools of lava. Crazy Golem related forging activity hundreds of feat below.

Rooms filled with steam. The reason: The room is cylindrical shaped, at the top of the room is a portal to the plane of water, and on the bottom as well, essentially just creating a constant waterfall. All around the edge of the room, next to the water is a spiral staircase. All along the staircase and ground floor smith's or whatever are cooling their creations in the constant cool deluge.

2007-01-04, 06:19 PM
Magmins would probably be the ones making any mithril/adamantine items. A hard journey to get there or gather the metals would be a nice way to introduce it. I imagine it having a large ring of ash floating around its peak to explain its name.

There could be potentially many entrances into the places where Magmins live; the challenge is finding ones that aren't filled, or soon to be filled, with lava.

I think the other people covered the ecology of such a place pretty well.

2007-01-04, 08:08 PM
A Red Dragon is chained, Massive Adamantine Shackles keep him in line and his wings are scarred and chained. He's the workhorse of the factory...

A Fiendish Rust Monster is used to clean up defective objects it's resistance to heat allows it to move around freely in this environment...

Lots of obsidian platforms float along the lava, Magmins and Azers work as ferrymen bringing parts and garbage where they need to be.

2007-01-05, 01:05 AM
Supervisors' areas are protected by fields of intense cold which are wavering from the continuous assault of the inferno. Some are to the point of sudden frost on objects which enter them; others have failed.

2007-01-05, 01:10 AM
Golems working giant bellows as though to increase the heat of the volcano. Perhaps they are.

2007-01-05, 01:35 AM
Fire elementals doing what they do best. The occasional safety net below some platforms that have been repaired. Some dwarves, because where there are forges and metals there are often dwarven smiths. Perhaps some construction going on for flavor and or a work accident tha tthe PCs can help/interfere in with varying results and reactions.

2007-01-05, 01:46 AM
An evil being of immense power in the midst of crafting a ring.

2007-01-05, 04:18 AM
A row of hammers lined up along a dark hallway. They start out three feet long, and by the time the PC's turn out of the hallway, they are over forty feet tall, and the hallway continues out of sight, vast battered forge hammers marching out of sight, waiting for their next task.

Rows upon rows of vast mithril golems stand quietly, waiting for something. They are uniformly battered and half-melted from years of brutal labors.

A Stone Collosus, hundreds of feet tall, glowing red in the cracks on its stoney bulk, stands waist deep in a lake of lava yellow-white from the heat. It's vast hands slowly but steadily scoop up vast ponds of the lava and pour them, one after another, into a myriad of tunnel mouths in some long, inscrutable pattern.

Hatchling Red Dragons frolic and play by the HUNDREDS. They seem to be as common as rats!

A vast mechanical thing roars past at incredible speed, spinning blades holding it aloft, glowing with heat and showering sparks, so loud the PC's have to cover their ears. It pauses briefly nearby, huge glowing eyes peering from a wasteland of scrap metal shards, looking at a vacant forge. With a hideous screech of metal, it extrudes an iron golem straight out of its vast bulk and sets the new-formed construct to working the bellows. The forge, long cold, is soon glowing cherry red and getting hotter. The vast metal thing, a colossal Anaxim, flies away in a howling roar of wind and cinders.

A vast pool of lava lies quietly until the PC's are walking past, then suddenly opens eyes full of cruel, crazy evil. Without warning, it hurls its vast bulk at the PC's, only at the last instant smashing against the Wall of Force that holds it away from the path. As the PC's leave, they hear the vast laughter of the insane Phaeton rattling the stone under their feet.

Whee! This is fun! :D

Jack Mann
2007-01-05, 04:37 AM
I just have to say that most of these ideas contain some manner of awesome. There will be much theft.

2007-01-05, 08:16 AM
Maybe you could make the volcano somewhat like the inside of Blackrock Spire from World of Warcraft. If you don't know, it's a mountain which contains a gigantic city of evil dwarves. You enter it, there's lava at the bottom of a pit, houses sourrounding the way round the inside and a dragon. Make a giant forge where the sound of working never ceases, which is run by dwarves, elementals and even weirder things, giant hammers, melting pots, lava streams, factorys where golems work day and night. You could make it one giant stronghold (maybe for an army preparing for war) filled with said hammering, the sound of barked orders, the clanging of armoured feet, occasional golems, fire elementals and the like.

2007-01-05, 10:26 AM
Oh yeah, these are cool ideas!

Or hot, as the case may be.

2007-01-05, 10:42 AM
A pair of NPCs with Brilliant Energy longswords in some kind of dramatic final confrontation...

2007-01-05, 10:44 AM
Hahah. Yeah, I was going to have the PCs see that planet (sans brilliant energy-wielding NPCs) through a portal. Maybe with some of those big flea-things carting some stuff into "our" world.

2007-01-05, 10:48 AM
How about a complicated system of pipes, made from magically re´nforced glass. They transport lava from room to room, and at apparantly random time intervals some valves open and release a lava shower on the PC's.

A set of enormous pistons that move up and down, powered by steam, that threathen to crush the PC's?

2007-01-05, 01:54 PM

C'mon now...



2007-01-05, 01:59 PM
An evil being of immense power in the midst of crafting a ring.

Just one? Not 20?

Three for elven kings under the sky?
Seven for dwarf lords in their halls of stone?
Nine for mortal men, doomed to die?
One for the dark lord, on his dark throne?


2007-01-05, 02:18 PM
The Tourguide, I'm thinking somebody like Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder's) who sings and is slightly insane. (Seriously, who puts a nightmare tunnel in a candy factory?)

Elemental Demi-Gods. They're here for sight seeing as well.

The Sword of Flame: a sword forged of pure arcane power and tempered with the element of fire. It is guarded by a Colossis or somethin', and the legends say that if the sword is removed, whoever wields it could control fire magic in the world.

2007-01-05, 02:43 PM
Mr. Nexx, you receive 1-20 Nerdmarks...depending on how many haven't been stolen by a dark lord or eaten by dragons...:smallbiggrin:

2007-01-05, 02:57 PM
Just one? Not 20?

Three for elven kings under the sky?
Seven for dwarf lords in their halls of stone?
Nine for mortal men, doomed to die?
One for the dark lord, on his dark throne?


Well, it's the One that's most important. That ring has to throw Mind-Link and Domination effects over EVERYONE who wore the others. I have no idea if it was meant to increase his power level in ADDITION to this, or if it was a side effect of how much he put into it just to get the initial effect done.

The Elves escaped because he couldn't keep his mouth shut.
Tolkien Dwarves are nigh-immune, if not just simply 'immune' to Mind-Effecting-it's part of their racial traits.(Both LOTR and Silmarillion mention this.) As it is, 3 of these got back into his hands-the others are destroyed.
Only the Men got completely side-swiped and dominated. Not that they didn't give a sizable power boost to the wielders...

I can see him working, working as you approach....and then going 'ARGH! Still not STRONG enough!' Possibly with him tossing the failure aside.(Possible dangerous 'loot'?)

A pair of NPCs with Brilliant Energy longswords in some kind of dramatic final confrontation...

And them basically barreling into you as you come in?

"Oh, bloody hell...Look, where are you trying to get to?"

"Uh...we're trying to get some armour forged?"

"Third on the right, then left, then straight to the end."

And they charge off again.

2007-01-05, 03:08 PM
A pair of NPCs with Brilliant Energy longswords in some kind of dramatic final confrontation...

Wrong trilogy.

2007-01-06, 07:30 AM
Hmmn. Sauron didn't make all of the Rings of Power (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Power) and the only Ring he forged alone was the One Ring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Ring). What's all this about Tolkien's Dwarves being immune to mind effects? Whereabouts exactly is this stated?

Bouldering Jove
2007-01-06, 08:04 AM
A single cylindrical stonewalled chamber at the mountain's core, some 600 feet in diameter and as tall as the entire mountain, constantly lit with the glow from the center. A 30 foot wide spiral staircase is carved into the wall, slowly climbing its way up the full height of the chamber. It is periodically guarded by iron golems. The general atmosphere is swelteringly hot, there's a constant fiery hiss, and the echoes from the sounds of metal being worked are so constant that they blend into a single percussive rhythm.

At the center is where the work is done: three structures (arranged in a triangle formation) stretching from the chamber's top to bottom, supported and kept in place by periodic cable tethers across to the chamber walls and to each other. Each is shaped like a corkscrew and made of some arcane metal. They are gargantuan lava channels, transporting a constant stream of liquid lava downwards with minimal cooling. At each loop of each corkscrew a work platform, equipped with an inset hollow for an exposed pool of lava and all the necessities of metalworking, juts out towards the chamber wall, and on each platform a pair of specialized iron golems, with a dozen limbs ending in different tools, perform their endless work in harmony using the lava as their heat source. The vertical space between platforms is up to you, depending on what kind of scale you're talking about - there could be merely hundreds of work platforms, or there could be tens of thousands. The lava starts incredibly hot and has cooled significantly by the time it has reached the bottom of the channels, and so different types of work are done at different height ranges where the temperature is ideal for a given alloy. There is a system of steampowered "elevators" adjacent to the channels within the triangle they form (and thus unreachable from the stairs): thick pillars with platforms that wrap around them. There's an elevator for each channel that only has rising platforms and supplies them with their metals, and one in the center between all the channels only falls and ferries the finished work. There are no bridges connecting the stairway to the platforms, but an adventurer could climb to one of the tether lines. The overseers are a small team of efreeti with huge swathes of channel divided between them, which they primarily monitor for signs of mechanical trouble.

Only at the very, very top can it be seen that the channels actually merge into one funnel which separates the lava into the three streams. Above it is suspended a massive vortex portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire, the furnace of the entire facility from which magma continually spills and feeds the funnels. It is heavily warded with magical barriers against denizens from the plane coming through, but it is also watched over by a gigantic perch set in the rock, not connected to the staircase. A red dragon lives here as guardian (and in his or her mind, overlord), though his or her true living space and treasure hoard is elsewhere in the mountain. Three golems, with their legs literally built into the channel structure below the upper funnel that separates the lava, perform the monotonous task of maintaining the elevators by detaching the rising platforms from the caps of their pillars and placing them on the "down" elevator pillar. The air at the top, with the rising heat of everything below it, is so hot that for a human to breathe it feels like taking burning coals into one's lungs. There is an open exit at the mountain's peak, but it's not much larger than the dragon's wingspan, and the air at its lip is hot enough to spontaneously ignite clothing. On the mountain's surface, the rim is guarded by several iron golems, who have maintained their vigil against climbers for a very long time indeed.

At the very bottom, where it's cool enough to be merely stifling, the structure turns into a circle of slightly angled pylons that sink miles deep into the rock for stability. The atmosphere is considerably more lively: a team of creatures, probably led by fire giants, organizes the finished metalwork, checks for quality to see if adjustments need to be made to any golems, readies it to be transported, and feeds raw metal to the rising elevators. The lava is shunted to the side, where it spills into a vortex portal to the Elemental Plane of Water (as well-warded as the Fire vortex on top). Most of the unending torrent of steam that results is collected by a system of pipes that feeds into the elevators and powers them; the elevator platforms are managed by a three-golem team similar to the ones at top.

Many large tunnels go down and up from the base; some connect to the surface, but most lead to the massive warren of mining tunnels, hundreds of miles worth throughout the mountain and beneath it, where the ore is gathered for the operation. Some of these tunnels directly follow veins, others may plunge in any direction towards a new one; mining teams probably combine the everpresent iron golems with some subterranean race acting as overseer and magically enslaved earth elementals being used to probe out new veins. The tunnel warren (and one tunnel from the base of the metalworking chamber) feeds into the cavernous mineral processing chamber where the ore is refined... but man, I've been typing all this up, cut me some slack and think that part up yourself. :smallwink: Thar be iron golems. Faulty goods and the broken golems that made them will be fed back into the processing chamber.

Advantages: Low-maintenance, mostly automated, impressive through daunting scale.
Disadvantages: Long way to the mountain's core to get goods in and out, requires someone to make all those freaking iron golems! Talk about your lucrative government contracts.
Errata: Fire giant smiths probably ride the elevators and take a given platform from the golems when unique or highly specialized items need to be made. If it's being made in bulk, though, new golems are crafted. There is probably a big supporting staff of spellcasters, knowledgable metalworkers and metallurgists etc., but their work goes on behind the scenes, not on the factory floor. There will probably be living space, but major enchanting work might be done at a secondary site; powerful spellcasters don't really need to tolerate living in enormous factories if they don't want to.

2007-01-06, 10:38 PM
Kind dwarves that love to see a good suit of armor made, and will lease out their forge for free and give a huge discount on their mithril to whoever happens to show up wanting to make some.

Mattarias, King.
2007-01-07, 01:25 AM
XD i love all the fire going on about here. -here's a question, though- why hasn't anyone mentioned fire elves and half-elves here?

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/elementalRacialVariants.htm#fireHalfElves sorry for the messy link. anyways, i love those variants, and they seem like they'd work in this situation. maybe one of those would be the head honcho behind it all?

-on a sidenote, does anyone know where those phyrric raptors are from? i love them and will get that book. XD

Fax Celestis
2007-01-07, 04:47 AM
Those Pyrrhic Raptors you speak of happen to be a creation of mine. But glad to see you like them. They'll be appearing at some date in the future when I finally get all my stuff together and publish a compliation on Lulu.com or something.

Mattarias, King.
2007-01-07, 01:26 PM
Those Pyrrhic Raptors you speak of happen to be a creation of mine. But glad to see you like them. They'll be appearing at some date in the future when I finally get all my stuff together and publish a compliation on Lulu.com or something.

ooh, i see. cool. :smallsmile: i'll be sure to check everything out, then.

2007-01-07, 05:57 PM

C'mon now...



Seconded. Fire elementals and iron golems for manual labor, Azers as master craftsmen, maybe Efreet as overseers... PCs will need some fire protective gear.

2007-01-07, 06:04 PM
How about as anyone enters the forges they are handed some fire protective gear by a golem?
They can wear it, but are forced to return it as they leave.

2007-01-07, 09:39 PM
Portals to the depths of space or the Astral Plane, which double as waste disposal and metal gathering: a single good-sized iron asteroid could supply enough metal for millions of years, and you couldn't find a higher quality on any terrestrial planet.

I'm sure if dead gods turned into metal, they'd mine those too.