“We must cross the mountain!” cried the fighter. “We must go through the dwarven stronghold in the belly of the mountain,” stated firmly the old wizard “we have no choice.”
The dwarven stronghold is a multi-level fortified dungeon. It was undoubtedly built to defend one side of the mountain; the other side faces friendly people and has no need of strong defenses. The dwarven engineers built the stronghold near a subterranean river in order to exploit the power of water to build a dwarven wonder: a raising underwater bridge. The bridge is the major defense of the west side of the stronghold. The entire bridge, due to a gigantic device working like a dam, can disappear under the waves of a mountain lake, thus preventing the access to the main portal of the stronghold. Should the enemies manage to go through the portal, they would find a formidable line of defense made of ballistas, murder holes, arrowslits and stone guardians. The stronghold consists of five levels intertwined with a number of staircases heavily guarded. Each level has its own purpose. The level 0 houses soldiers and jails, as well as forges and shrines. Level 1 houses more soldiers (these two levels are self-sufficient, being provided of kitchens and larders) Level 2 is dedicated to the nobles, with great halls of statues, an arena and nobles’ quarters. Level 3, the topmost one, is the main temple area complete with the crypts for the dwarven heroes. The last level (-1) is the dam level. Here the dwarven engineers work and keep maintenance of their device, also there is the bridge control room. Some hints to use the stronghold follow:
The adventurers must cross the mountain. The sole way is through the friendly stronghold of the dwarves. Unluckily the stronghold has fallen in the hand of orcs and the PCs will have to run through the fortress avoiding warbands of bloodthirsty orcs.
The PCs are crossing the stronghold, they must exit from the west side, but something terrible has happened. An unnamed evil has risen from the depth of the underground river killing everything at the dam level. The dwarves are scared and will not dare to descend below. The PCs must descend and find out what has happened, trying to operate the device in order to exit from the stronghold.
The PCs are guests of the dwarven commander in the stronghold, they are treated like honor guests and the dwarves set up a feast for them. Actually, a vampire lord took residence in the stronghold more than a year ago and he is now lacking food, having infected the entire dwarven garrison. Therefore, the PCs are for dinner…