The Falling Castle
It was said that the King fell from grace so abruptly that the earth opened up beneath his citadel so he could fall for eternity. This is exactly what happened...
Down it falls, a great concentric castle of dark stone. Cracked and broken, though upright, pieces large and small fall together in concert, frequently dashing against each other, or drawing apart to create wide gulfs to expose the hungry blackness below.
And in this tumbling castle, there sits a king, his head heavy with his crown, his hands clutching his throne in unending terror.
The castle is a place of punishment for the King, and indeed his castle, along with himself and most of his retinue, were brought along. They have been here centuries, and save for the king, have all died and become demonic in this black realm.
The castle is mostly in the shape it arrived, though it is broken up into countless shards, large and small. These shards remain upright, and roughly in the correct locations, but the gaps between the shards varied significantly, forming yawning crevesses, cliffs and whatnot.
Non-residents experience a strong feeling of freefall here, even though gravity still works normally for them - objects let go will drop at normal speed as if the castle were not falling at all.
The castle is a concentric castle, with two outer walls, a mostly intact main gatehouse, and a massive inner keep which has been sundered into dozens of fragments. The walls are broken into many sections of widely varied sized. Towers are generally split into two or three pieces, with a couple falling as complete units.
There is no water here, and no food save for demonflesh and whatever tidbits other travellers may have brought to this fell place.
The tower is falling in a shaft that curves unto itself, a full Â‘orbit' of a falling object apart from the castle taking a day. The Castle makes an orbit in two days as it falls slower than other objects in the shaft. The walls of the shaft are around 400' away from the castle at any given point. They are riddled with tunnels that eventually open again at some point on the shaft walls. Demons of all types inhabit these tunnels with a strong tendency towards avian themes.
Escaping the Tower
Regardless of how and why the PCs end up at the tower, they will need to leave sometime. Unless they already have the ability to travel between realms, they will need to seek other means of escape.
The Castle is held in the Abyss through the terror and madness of the fallen king. If the PCs are able to break his madness, even for a brief time, the Castle will return to where it came. The Demonic courtiers will likely remain in the Abyss, and depending on the GM's taste, the Castle could return some distance up in the sky, or simply on the ground where it left. The latter of course will result in the castle plummeting to the ground, killing any who remain within for the trip. As a final gift, the king may provide a means of escape should the PCs not have one themselves. The other scenario, where the castle returns in good order and the king alive, may cause more interesting campaign impacts, especially at the political level. Those who prefer a more fairy-tale ending could also bring the fallen courtiers back to life as they were, and those preferring a darker end could have them ride back as demons, scattering to the four winds to bring havoc to the mortal world.
Should the PCs be capable of flight, the castle loses some of its terror, though the presence of many flying demons may make up for that. Leaving the castle is possible simply by flying up or out a window. The shaft that the castle is falling in has no unique features of note, the sides riddled with tunnels into the stone that all eventually come back to the tunnel. Light is present in both the shaft and tunnels, shed by many thousands of little flames that emerge from fissures and cracks in the stone.
These are inhabited by no end of demonic creatures and tortured souls. Perhaps some stones of the underworld could be mined here, or some powerful being in exile could found here, but the center of this realm is the Castle.
Hazards of The Castle
In addition to the demons who lair in the Falling Citadel - the corrupted courtiers, the unstable structure has its own hazards:
Occasionally the shards run into each other, and all aboard get thrown about. In addition, the points closest to the impact point stand to be showered by stone fragments.
The shards come together more often at lower speed, but may cause intruders to be crushed between the parts. This can happen especially when someone attempts to cross shards that are moving parallel with each other
Even though the castle appears to be constantly falling, it is at its terminal velocity. If a being leaves the surface of the castle, they will fall still faster than the citadel. After about 1 day of falling, they will strike the top of the citadel, as they fall much faster than the citadel itself. Of course, this fall does damage equal to a 200' fall.
It is possible for those falling to direct themselves into the sides of the tube, and this can be done fairly quickly. However, the tube is not smooth and the faller would need some means to safely slow down to avoid being smashed to pieces on impact.
When they are not in the throneroom tormenting and mocking their king, the Courtiers may be found all through the castle and would take great glee in tormenting and devouring intruders. They take a wide variety of forms, though none unique to the Castle.
The Great Gate
The largest shard, it is also the most likely location for any teleports or planar travel. Here can be found various demonic beings, tormentors of the King and his retinue, tired of dodging the other rolling shards. They of course will fall ravenously upon newcomers unless otherwise sated.
Once a holy place, this location has been claimed by evil and has been befouled by the demons. That said, it is the only location where there exists some link to non-infernal realms. This speck of goodness could potentially be fanned into something greater by one with spectacular faith. Here also can be found Sir Hindril. The Shrine is rent by one major crevasse.
The rooms floor is broken up into a mass of floor stones, some rolling, some steady, and some missing. Everything orbits about the throne, which sits as steady as a rock - in fact the throne is the center of gravity of the entire castle.
The king is a quite powerful individual, but is rooted to the throne by sheer terror. Demonic incarnations of his court fly and flit about the chamber, alternately mocking him, and screaming in terror with him. Occasionally some of the non-winged demons will fall through a gap in the floor and disappear, while at other times, human forms will drop from above and be dashed into vittles striking the floor.
A network of cells and chambers underneath the other fortifications, these tunnels are very unstable and here is the greatest chance of falling out of the castle, for there are entire sections open underneath where the floor was left behind. There are a few souls chained within cells here, whose terrible fate was magnified by the fall of the castle.
A generic figure, the focus here is on the location as opposed to who this fallen King is. A tale could be told of the Kings fall from grace - how he reached too far in his hubris, attempted too much, demanded too much from his god, but that is for another submission.
Once the King's champion and a strongly Pious knight, he has fallen to despair for his king and has become a revenant, the only actual undead in the entire castle. He fights any demon that dares enter the shrine, and will see the PCs as demons as well. He fights with honor and does not resort to magic or any active supernatural power, though he will use environmental hazards, such as crevasses, to his advantage. It is possible to get through to him, and potentially gain him as an ally. However, it is likely that divine magics of a caliber to convince him would also draw hordes of demons intent to extinguish such light.
This location is certainly a high-magic, high level location. There are demons aplenty, formidable physical hazards , little aid and few avenues of escape.
Someone important was sent here by this item. The PCs may need to follow, either also through the sack, or from their own resources.
The Kings Library
Some critical magical formula or map can be found in the Kings library. The means to enter the castle could be an adventure in itself.
After finding materials discussing the long-gone castle, the PCs seek out further details of the lost castle. Perhaps the downfall of the old king was engineered by others, from whom the current ruling family has descended. Should the old king be returned, this could have major impacts on the kingdom.
Home, Sweet Home
A demon the PC's are dealing with in some manner resides in the Castle when not on some errand on the material world. Perhaps he mentions interesting details of his home and the PC's seek out the falling castle, or perhaps he drags them there.
cult of done. Begone.
Will fix the ? in the title tonight. Why did it do that?
There might not be many people that enjoy playing an evil character, but say the party is evil. There's plenty of fun for them here. Especially with Sir Hindril.
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? Responses (3)
What I would like to know is in what way will the deep madness and evil of the place affect the PC's?
A good sub with lots of dark potential. Well done val. I'll wait patiently for an audience with the King.
Maybe the king is a recent one rather then one long past?
It is simple and to the point. The information is given sparsely to tune it to ones own group or campaign with ease. I rather like it. I found myself thinking of Hellgate and how this is almost a like minded prison/ forgotten realm of similar torture. I wished for more information but realized it was very bare bones and didn't really need much more regarding information I couldn't fill out myself.
I like it val.