This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Add on-Shakun - Cornelius' Tower

Going back about 30 years ago now, the first official town I had ever laid out was Shakun. It was crude, simplistic, and missing most of the actual buildings that people lived in - a layout of the major streets and the shops there. The people were either lifted wholesale from other places I had read about or my first awkward attempts at populating a town.

As time went on I grew more refined and was able to further flesh out the broad strokes of Shakun. This place holds a special place to me as I have had countless adventuring groups either "start" from here or make it their home after the fact.

However with my current group I have not been describing the city as well as I should have, playing it in my mind and glossing it over to the people around the table (plus it is VERY hard to town adventure properly with 7 players!). In an effort to rectify this, I have been penning a few short essays about prominent places in Shakun and forwarding it to the group.

Here is the 3rd one:

Cornelius’ Tower

This tower was originally called The Tower of the Secret Flame and then years later Redbrick Tower. Nowadays it is called Cornelius’ Tower in honor of the last wizard who lived there.

Located on the northern end of town, just to the west of Town Square, the Tower stands roughly 75’ tall with a 30’ base. Town records show that the tower was the 2nd structure ever built in Shakun; right after the Shakun Keep was constructed (nowadays called Castle Canastal). A wizard conclave called the “Brotherhood of the Secret Flame” had banded together and with a variety of magical as well as mundane means had the red brick tower completed in roughly 2 seasons close to 150 years ago.

In those days every lord had a guild wizard at his disposal, and every high wizard had a conclave of his own. Many conclaves numbered at least 10 members, but some could have as many as 20 or more. The Brotherhood of the Secret Flame numbered 12 and they did not have any names that were ever spoken outside of their own group.

The tower is different in many respects than others in the area. First, it has no windows of any kind anywhere on its face. Second, the top of the tower has what appears to be a mass of metallic branches that even after all these years only show a small amount of rust marring their surface. And even though the original red bricks have faded over time, it still has that sanguine coloring to it that makes most people uneasy being near it.

A thin smattering of ivy does grow around its base but at no point does the plant reach higher than 3’ from the ground. A single door would provide entrance to the tower, should anyone be able to open it. The heavy wooden portal is marked with over 50 deep carvings of strange sigils and glyphs. No door knob is visible and no one is even sure which side the inner hinges are on. Also, even though the doorway appears to be wood, cursory touching and testing leads most people who dare it to believe it is something much denser.

And that is the problem, when one gets to even within a foot or so of touching the doorway, they are filled with an unnatural illness and sense of loathing; only the most stalwart of brave souls can stomach their way forward to completely touch the surface. Even wearing gloves or attempting to touch the door with a stick produces the same sensation and difficulty. Many of the younger members of Shakun will engage in dares to see who is bravest or toughest by approaching, touching, and maintaining contact the longest. One young man in recent past did actually get a nasty rash and raised blisters on his back from standing too long near the tower’s doorway, somewhere on the order of 1-2 minutes.

During the goblin occupation, the tower’s occupant was a mage of some renown known as Cornelius Firebrand. Whether he was a member of the long defunct Brotherhood is unknown, but Cornelius was not a trifling mage. He and his three apprentices did help in the defense of Shakun and performed admirably in keeping the goblins from breeching the walls for some time, but it eventually was for naught and one by one, his apprentices were wounded and slain.

Cornelius was able to bar the door closed, keeping the goblins out and saving for a short respite some 60 citizens that he had retreat into the tower with him. However the Leech was able to force his way into the structure through demonic means and the Abyssal Goblinoid and the mage did battle within, with Cornelius being beaten. The Leech then had Cornelius flayed alive and wore his skin as a cloak, the mage’s spirit trapped within and screaming constantly until the spells binding him to his removed skin eventually faded some weeks later.

What was noted was that even though the Leech was able to gain access to the Tower that one time, he was unable to do so any time after that. No spell, tool, or force of arm was able to open the doors again. He had his goblin minions attempt to sap the tower to topple it but they were unable to tunnel under the tower’s stone for some reason. The tower would not be marred, broken, scratched, or opened no matter what. Eventually the Leech stopped wasting his time on it, had the last of the town’s mage’s put to death, and visibly ignored the Tower from that day forward.

Now that the occupation is over almost 2 years, there has been some renewed interest in Cornelius’ Tower, but no one has been able to gain entrance and even the few mages that had been commissioned to come out here from Agros, Gul, and Titestory are baffled as to the sealing of the Tower and their inability to effect and entrance.

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