New OOTS products from CafePress
New OOTS t-shirts, ornaments, mugs, bags, and more
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: The Steel City

  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default The Steel City

    The PCs discover a rusting steel city as they explore a region. Individual houses are mostly decayed, with thinner partition walls visible only as the remnants of rib beams dividing the heavier exterior walls. Formerly sliding doors have rusted into place, and the roofs have caved in, becoming brown and black detritus beneath the plants which grow lush and green within the rusted shells.

    The city is laid out on an exacting grid which forced terracing where the land slopes. The terrace walls were of steel, of course, and have collapsed, leaving very few visible remnants. Closer to the core of the city the remains of two or three story buildings stand. If one had courage or desperation to bolster his fortitude, he could camp within the lowest floor of these structures and gain some degree of respite from inclement weather. Otherwise, the structural integrity of these buildings would discourage any attempt to use, or even explore, them.

    At the city center is a square, rusted castle about 300 feet on a side. A 20' high curtain wall is pierced in the center of each side by a gate into which the rusted gatehouses have collapsed. At each corner stand the stubs of towers which were 30' square at the base, but of indeterminate height since their collapsed remains lie scattered around their bases. The center of the castle was a 90' square tower which occupied the center square of the tic-tac-toe grid which divides the castle yard. The lowest three floors of this structure are more or less intact, but the upper floors have collapsed.

    Throughout the city 90 Rust Golems lie, immobile unless something enters their perception range. One third of them are within the castle. Formerly Steel Golems, like the city they have degraded almost to the point of uselessness. However, they can still animate, with difficulty. Because they are rusted, they squeak and squeal as they move, (+10 listen checks.). Going from motionless to fully animated requires 2d3-1 rounds. During this period they may move 1/3, 1/2, then 2/3 of a movement, but may not attack.

    They are, by 3.5 ed standards, 10th level constructs with two punch attacks, (+15, +10) for 2d4+5 damage, or a Slam for 2d8+5 + Stun (Fort: 20) for 1d3 rounds. Rust golems may also, 1/day, breathe rusty grit in a 15' long x 5' wide cone causing Blindness (Ref:20) for 1d3 rounds. Rust golems do not help each other, or in any way communicate. Each attacks without regard for tactics or cooperation.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Back home
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Steel City

    Cool idea! I really like the aesthetic. Why the rust golems would be hostile confuses me though.
    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    See, I remember the days of roleplaying before organisms could even see, let alone use see as a metaphor for comprehension. We could barely comprehend that we could comprehend things. Imagining we were something else was a huge leap forward and really passed the time in between absorbing nutrients.

    Biggest play I ever made: "I want to eat something over there." Anticipated the trope of "being able to move" that you see in all stories these days.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Millstone85's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Paris, France
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Steel City

    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Cool idea! I really like the aesthetic. Why the rust golems would be hostile confuses me though.
    Perhaps they have gone berserk as a result of deterioration.
    Homebrew planar maps for D&D 5e:
    Standard planes: English / French / Medal
    Additional planes: English / French / Thread (eventually)
    For spelljamming: English / French / Thread (eventually)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: The Steel City

    My head canon was that they were the cause of the city's destruction. I didn't really have a good story for how or why. Slave revolt? Soldiers with conflicting orders? Evil wizard with a failed scheme?

    I had also had an idea that a steel dragon was the ruler of the city but that went nowhere fast.

    So, I had a scene and a monster, and nothing to use them for. Maybe some reader will. I'd love to hear their story!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Millstone85's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Paris, France
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Steel City

    It could be that the steel dragon was challenged by a rust dragon. A huge winged shape can be found lying under a collapsed building, but local legends disagree on its significance:
    • The steel dragon was victorious and carried the few survivors of the city to some distant land, leaving behind the corpse of the rust dragon.
    • The rust dragon won and turned the corpse of the steel dragon into a nest of rust monsters. It will one day return to see the nest's progress.
    • The rust dragon fell into a deep slumber after eating the steel dragon. Fear it waking up to defend the vast corroded hoard it sees the city as.
    Homebrew planar maps for D&D 5e:
    Standard planes: English / French / Medal
    Additional planes: English / French / Thread (eventually)
    For spelljamming: English / French / Thread (eventually)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: The Steel City

    The City Of Steel, in its prime, was a place of culture, innovation, and prosperity. But in its foundation were planted the seeds of its ruin.

    The red clay soil in the plains around the city are fertile and seasonally watered, with standing ponds and streams which retain water in the dry summer and fall. It also reveals the presence of abundant iron ore in the ground beneath it. Low, rounded, and weather-worn hills poke up between very flat plains. These are the remnant stumps of what was once a massive mountain chain.

    Because the ancient valleys were filled with lakes, which in turn were filled with peat bogs, vast seams of very fine coal lie beneath the soil, trapped between the mountain roots. Within the mountain roots are rich iron ore veins. Long ago these were mined from the surface, and miners became increasingly proficient in mining ever deeper into the ground.

    With mining and manufacturing came an increase in organizational sciences. The society became more regulated and divided into nine factions, originally based on nine barons who each regulated a part of the local industry. The feuds of this period became fuel for later romances, but it was both a brutal and a magnificent time.

    Legends say that the Harthran Family, whose principle industry was the massive steel foundries, became the target of a group of less wealthy, and thus jealous, cabal of lesser barons. The region was torn apart by war.

    Garal Harthran was the heir of his clan, and was sent away in his childhood for his safety. While he was gone, rivalry became war. The city became a war zone. A generation of misery followed the assassination of Baron Harthran as rival houses gained and lost power.

    Meanwhile, his son, under the tuteledge of the most trusted advisors of House Harthran, grew to become a soldier and leader of soldiers. Trained in history, science, engineering, and politics as well, and taught to revere the gods of his people, he became a paragon of his culture.

    At fifteen, under an assumed name, he esquired to a lord called to war in foreign lands. Romances abound about this era, but what is known is that he met Kaltranna, a knight in the campaign, whose skill at arms was second only to her beauty. Some say that at the conclusion of the war they were married in the hall of the defeated king.

    Thereafter Garal came back to his homeland at the head of an army of veteran soldiers who followed their commanders out of love and loyalty. Within a year they had destroyed all military opposition, and within five they had the economic foundation of the city restarted. The Golden Age of the City Of Steel had begun.

    Wealth and prosperity came with wise, benevolent rule. This attracted trade and the transfer of ideas, which attracted artists and scholars. Garal ruled for forty years, and on his death a Steel Dragon came to carry his body away.

    Queen Kaltranna remained to guide her eight daughters as they intermarried into the other families, and from behind her throne to teach her oldest to be a wise ruler and capable politician. This lead to the Silver Age of the city, which lasted for nine dynasties.

    But the slow decline of the city accelerated when the last Harthran monarch died and left a minor heir. The era of The Regencies began. Warring factions fought over possession of the heir. When it became clear that one of the 'regents' would kill her before allowing another to have her, a stalemate began.

    The Steel Golems that some of the lords fancied were produced in numbers and used by the new barons to carve out territories as they schemed to take the heir, or use her murder to seize power. As they became more numerous and more deadly, the citizens abandoned the city, leaving the barons orchestrating wars over worthless territory.

    Then the Steel Dragon returned. She laid waste to the strongholds of the Barons and left the empty city a ruined shell. The survivors tell conflicting tales about the fate of the last princess of the Harthran line, with some saying she rode the dragon to lands far away, others claiming the dragon carried her body away as she had the first king, and others claiming that she had been slain during the wars of the Regents, her body hidden years before the end.

    And some say that The Steel Dragon, the First Queen Kaltranna, remains as guide and guardian of her grandchildren. But the day of her return never came, and the city wasted away, forgotten in time.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2024-05-11 at 12:29 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Millstone85's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Paris, France
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Steel City

    Alright, I am glad inspiration found you.
    Homebrew planar maps for D&D 5e:
    Standard planes: English / French / Medal
    Additional planes: English / French / Thread (eventually)
    For spelljamming: English / French / Thread (eventually)

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: The Steel City

    Alternately:

    As the Golden Age faded into history, the era of the Steel Queens began. Over time they became less capable of maintaining the balance between authority and liberty, and the old rival houses began to accumulate power.

    As the central political authority weakened, the nobles did everything they could to amass wealth. This lead to an era of predatory economic activity which created a fragile shell of prosperity at the expense of long-term economic health. All of the local markets were glutted with steel, iron ore, and coal, and those who had traditionally farmed had been lured into these industries by inflated pay. The city was being fed by expensive imports that the average citizen could no longer afford.

    Then the Rust Monster Plague began. While the barons fought the plague, the local economy collapsed. Desperate for cheap labor, the lords turned to golems. Steel miners and soldiers replaced living ones, but the only ones profiting were the rust monsters, and the noble houses collapsed, leaving the city leaderless and under the military rule of those wizards who could command the golems.

    Squeekarank arrived, or revealed itself from hiding, and slew or drove off the wizards. It was a rust dragon of enormous power, and it lusted for the steel and iron that had been dug from the earth and used to build the city. It took command of the golem armies and used them to destroy the last of the population before dining upon them. It laid its eggs in piles of steel, ripped from the greatest buildings of the city and the larval dragons, (rust monsters,) devoured what steel could be found.

    For a generation, Acheron was invaded by hundreds of wyrmling rust dragons as the satiated rust monster grubs estivated and metamorphosed into their adult form.

    But in the ruined city the steel eventually rusted beyond usefulness for the rust monsters. Some still linger, half-starved and filled with hunger, gleaning splinters of steel from piles of rust. As for Squeekarank, none know her fate. Is she still there mining iron ore in the depths? Or has she left this world for the cube-worlds of Acheron?

    Who can ever know? And who really cares?

    (Seems to me to be a good place for a Steel Dragon Desciple to begin, and rust monsters would have no interest in the hoards of gold the nobles might have left behind.)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •