Barrows of The First Men
The First Men buried their Kings and 'Big People' (Nobles and other Important people) in underhills - tombs made under hills of earth called Barrows. While this custom seems quite common, the First Men were not. The First Men were closer to The Mythics - The Shidhe (Elves) and Dwarves - and The True Dreaming Magics than Modern Men. Thus entering their barrows means you are entering a different world and time.
The tombs of a First Man was a small affair, physically. The tomb was dug out, the stones were alligned, and the body and the dreaming good (tomb goods) were inserted. The entire affair was covered over with a good sized hill of Earth and Stone. These hills range from 20 to 50 imperial feet in diameter and are always hemispheres (or start that way)
The greatest number of these Barrows is find on Barrow Island, however they can be found all across the known range of the First Men. Many have been looted, but there are those still holding their secrets.
Each of these tombs resonated with some true earth flow power, that power drawn to it by the alligning of the stones. (Earth flows can be known as dragon lines, chi lines, leylines, or manna flows.) This can make them excellent places to harvest manna, either directly or by extracting it from items from the tomb.
Truly important people were entombed at nodal points of the earth flows. In these tombs would be the greatest wealth, but also the greatest danger. The allignment of stones moved the tomb into The Mythic, the Dreaming by name.
Now if you normally dig in an empowered barrow, you will find little to nothing. However, if you dig from just the right direction and/ or at just the right allignment of planets and stars, one can reach the barrow place... one can reach The Mythics and the Dreaming.
There is always a tunnel encountered. Walking down the tunnel will bring one into the Dreaming Tomb. Here the small tomb that was originally created has been replaced with a 'world' of its own. This fey 'world' is shaped by the echo of the human buried in it.
This Dreaming world can vary. Some known barrow worlds are:
King Balderth the Brave
This tomb can only be opened on the aniversary of his death... a date practically lost to history.
Upon exiting this tomb, the characters find themselves on the eve of one of Balderth's great battles - seemingly transported back in time. The raiders will soon discover that they are unable to return, and will be unable to do so until after the battle.
Knowledge of the battle based on an ancient lore check or warcraft might improve ones chances of survival.
If they avoid the battle, they will be punished for their cowardess by the violent natives of that time. If they serve adequitely (either as a warrior or suppor person), they might find the doorway that returns to the homebound tunnel. If they serve well or with distinction, they will recieve a 'token' of the King's esteem. These tokens are the only other worldly/ First Man goods that will remain with the raider. Of course once you have a token, you will be able to find the doorway home (and can sometimes bring others with you).
Aldrath the Strong
This tomb can only be opened and traveled when there is a storm.
The Raiders find their way to the beach of a small island. The sky is grey and stormy, the seas are rough, and there is a barrow somewhere on the island. If the raiders can find the barrow, any First Man goods they bring back come with them. However, the more 'power' and 'wealth' taken from the tomb, the more powerful forces will rise up to stop them from reaching the door at the beach.
The most notable will be the Wavehorses, Horses made up water and magic, their herds rumbling out of the waves. Sometimes they will merely stampede. Other times they will grow hungry and chase a raider in an attempt to bit their heads off.
Other creatures noted: A giant of the Ocean, tident and all. Landsharks. Giant sea crabs.
Duwalin the Builder
No one knows when the 'perfect time' is to enter this tomb.
Duwalin was a great builder of the First Men, the builder behind a series of their great mixed earth and stone step pyramids.
Entering his barrow leads one to a large underground complex that reminicently seems like the inside of a Step pyramid. As they raiders look for Duwalin's sarcophigous and the scrolls buried with him, various murals on the walls will become challanges. Each mural shows some myth or great moment in their semi-magical history. The warriors and monster and events will peel ouf of the wall, and begin to attack the raiders. If the raiders know the story behind the mural (ancient lore check possibly), they can sometimes trick or manipulate the warrior or monster to act in the raider's best interest.
Lady Shalamar's tomb can only be breached when Venus is in the morning sky.
The Lady Shalamar must of been part Shidhe or of Shidhe blood. She is the possessor of the Ortan eye, a mystic artifact of great power for the viewing of the truth and locations far away. Her tomb has been breached time and time again (according to rumor) but none have ever come back (or come back with any prize).
The raiders will exit the tomb to a summer sylvan glade, filled with wonderous delights. Nymphs and Satyrs frolic, brownies make delights of the tongue, and the pavilion of The Lady is sumptous. The adventurers will be met with joy and love. Anyone attempting to be violent or even nasty will immediately be turned to stone... their statuesk remains taken to a nearby glade called The Museam of the Mean.
A party is going on. The Lady will hold 'formal court' at its end, to decide if they are worthy. The Raiders will be tempted by love/ lust, food, wealth, by any number of temptations. Each one will be a challange for even the most chaste of men. (In fact, a glamour will nudge people further into debauchery.) The party will turn a bit dark, as the tempations will lead to pain, if not eventual death (death by exhaustion if dancing or 'frolicing', death by food, death by drink, death by loss of breath (from singing), bleeding to death after being forced to play a lute for days.. cutting of the fingers).
Now just in case the players are reading this, the GM needs to select two options.
1) The raiders must resist these ongoing temptations. If someone manages to do so, they might be able to rescue their friends and get the heck out of there. Only the survivors of the three days will be able to get the Eye.
2) The raiders must endulge their tempations. Only by surviving this challange of 'a joy gone dark' will they be allowed to win the Eye. You might be able to rescue a friend from the worst of it, but that excludes the rescuer and the rescuee from winning the prize.
Reneth the Flametouched
Contrary to the proverb about fighting in burning buildings, Reneth the brave (but stupid) fought a pitched battle during a raging forest fire against dark Giants. He succeeding in holding up their advance long enough for the firestorm to catch up with him and his opponents, allowing the flames to claim the giants. He of course fell with the giants and although his body was scorched beyond recognition, his armor and sword survived and these are the prize of this tomb.
This tomb may only be entered when a natural forest fire rages either on it or reasonable close to it. Druidic magic may be considered natural, but the likelihood of one agreeing to do this is rather remote.
Once inside, the raiders will find themselves also in the middle of a raging forest fire. They will also find themselves in pitched battle with massive deformed giants who are also being damaged by the smoke and fire.
Should the PC's survive the battle, the firestorm will clear revealing the armor and weapons in a charred clearing.
The difficulty of the battle - how many giants, fierceness of the forest fire, etc, should be based on how powerful the retrieved armor and weapons are, as well as how hard it was for them to have the forest fire that opened the tomb.
Old King Cole
This barrow can only be entered during one of the great festival days of the world. Inside the PCs will find a huge hall with a feast in process. Large dogs are begging for scraps. Should a PC draw a weapon, it will corrode away. King Cole and his nobles will be very friendly and invite the PCs to feast. Unknown to them, each hour that they spend equals twenty years outside the barrow. After several hours or days of feasting and frolics, the King will give the PCs horses and a small dog, and a warning not to dismount until the dog jumps down. When they leave the barrow, should an PC dismount he/she will either age greatly or turn to bone and dust.
The Blue Lightning Lord
This ancient tomb shows many images of The Blue Lightning. He must of been a chieftan or war leader or some kind hero of some kind to warrent a barrow of this detail. His image is everywhere here. He has a blue lightning bolt (often painted blue in the murals or on the statues) from his forehead, across his eye, and down his cheek.
The Barrow is basically one large round chamber. In the center is a simple stone sarcophogous, with The Blue Lightning Lord carved as a laying figure there. There are 24 bas reliefs murals in the walls of the great central chamber. Each mural shows The Blue Lightning Lord dealing with some implacable foe, either by might of arms or wisdom.
The Barrow seems pretty sparse, like it has already been looted again and again. Yet.
If you are there, at twilight, and looking at one of the murals... they are quite captivating. You will be drawn into the scene.
If you survive the danger teamed up with the Blue Lightning Lord, you get what loot you can carry, when you return to the real world, at the next twilight.
This borrow is on the smaller side, with a smallish central chamber. The sarcophagus, is slightly tiled up, so the lone (dead) occupent can look through a "window" (a hole cut in the tomb side and dug out to the hill mound). Out this window one can see the crashing surf.
Many have tried to rob this tomb, as he was a rich merchant captain. They enter in on nights when the moon is full and can be seen over the water through the window.
They have all been found drowned in the morning.
If you survive being on the ocean bottom, you then have to deal with the kraken, angry mer people, and find The Bottle where the Deamon of the Sea keeps all the souls that hve been lost to the ocean. Then you can return to the barrow.
All you will gain for your trouble is a Sea Affinity trait, granting you bonuses when you do anything with the sea.
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? Responses (14)-14
I want to add a few tombs of my own later. 5/5 We should try and make 100 of these tombs within a year.
I would settle for a dozen or so.
It has been a year, does anyone want to add one?
Well written, detailed, and a veritable wealth of quests- if not original, than simply mind-boggling with potential. I agree with Cheka wholehartedly.
I like, especially the idea of only being able to get into the barrows at certain astrologically significant points. Might make an interesting campaign, having to recover shiny bits from each of the Great Barrows of the First Men, especially since each one seems to have it's own distinct challange. Might have to add a barrow or two of my own in...
We never did add any barrows. :(
Yes, well... don't lament... do it now then.
Everyone promises and declares that they will add, but few follow through. Just follow through.
This one has a lot of potential!
Yes, Dungeons of a different sort. These semi-magical places can lead the PCs places they never would of gone. It is a neat idea that can be adapted to many places.
And the entries already there are pretty good too :)
Did two today. Just so you don't miss them if you just read the last one.
Planned-30 of these.