Brechtur » Wierech » Adlersburg
The ruined city of Adlersburg is a lesson in the raw power of the Gorgon: in 1489 HC the Duke of Wierech built a mighty fortress in his westernmost province, overlooking the Gorgon's Crown. For a time, his knights were able to repel the Gorgon's raiders and the land prospered. However, in 1504, the Gorgon descended upon Wierech with all of his might, shattering the fortress and the realm of Wierech itself. Today, Adlersburg is both a lesson in humility and a haunted ruin. While Danigau and Müden managed to drive the Gorgon out, they were never able to completely cleanse the ruin of the evils of that day.
See Also: The Ruin of Adlersburg - the original adventure published in the Dragon magazine

[top]An Overview

The land around the Ruins is deserted (except for bandits) and blasted by the tromp of armies and the Gorgon's horrific magics for several miles in any direction. The Waste around the Ruin is littered with the bones of the armies that struggled here, goblin and Brecht mingling in a way they never would in life. Most of the valuables were looted from these bodies in the days after the battle and there is little to be found here except the rare spirit of the unquiet dead. Certainly the Shadow World presses close here.
The Ruin itself is a sprawling mass of walls, tower stubs and husks of buildings that spills down either side of Adlersburg Bluff, a rocky hill. From this position, the Duke of Wierech was able to monitor the only pass into the Gorgon's Crown that one could march an army through.

[top]The Bandits of Adlersburg

While the forces of both Wierech and the Gorgon avoid the ruins, that does not mean that they are uninhabited. To the contrary, they tend to collect the worst elements of both human and humanoid society. These desperate individuals collect around the walls of the fortress (though many will not enter and only a few will go underground), banding together into small gangs. These bandit groups, which usually number no more than 30, raid each other and the surrounding territory. If they were to be collected into a single force-something that would only happen under the greatest duress-they might form a single mercenary infantry unit. The bandits tend to inhabit the ruins of small outlying-structures, not the Ruins themselves.
The most powerful of the many bandit chieftains of Adlersburg is a gnoll named Gorag Muleskinner (MGnoll; Ftr5; Unblooded; CE) who leads a group of 20-40 bandits with surprising efficiency. Gorag would probably be the leader of any large-scale defense of Adlersburg.
Gorag's lair is in the remnants of an underground shrine to Sera that was once located next to a barracks before the stronghold's fall. Luckily for Gorag, unlike the surrounding areas, this room did not completely collapse and the primary opening, probably created by the Gorgon's troops in search of treasure, does not open into the stronghold, but instead on a hillside on the south side of the ruins. This allowed Gorag to convince his men (who would never enter, much less inhabit the chambers under Adlersburg) to move in.
The main entrance is relatively well disguised, though a skilled tracker could find it easily (DC 15) -- Gorag relies upon the strength of his group to keep away enemies. About fifteen feet into the winding entry path, the bandits have dug a shallow (2 ft deep) pit filled with wooden spikes and covered with a woven mat and dirt. The room just beyond the trap (which is easy to step over if you know where it is) is a watch chamber which typically has two bandit guards playing dice or cards. The doors to the main chamber, the former shrine, are massive stone affairs, covered in bas relief carvings depicting Sera's symbols. The carvings were defaced long ago. These doors can be easily barred from within if the group encounters stiff resistance.
The main room is about 85 x 40 ft in size. It was once quite grand, remnants of which can still be seen in the cracked marble floors and beautifully carved bas reliefs on the walls and pillars. To the left, Gorag's men have constructed a raised platform (6 ft high) on which the gnoll and his lieutenants meet to plan raids outside of the sight and hearing of their underlings. Another nearby similar scaffold is Gorag's personal quarters. Ragged curtains screen both scaffolds from the rest of the room. These scaffolds, which are constructed of stout wood, also double as prisons for captured prisoners and slaves. Under the main scaffold one can find 1d6 inmates -- a mix of slaves captured from caravans and settlements, bandits from other groups waiting to be traded away or 'criminals' from within the group who have fallen out of favor. Under Gorag's platform are 1d4 females of various species (mostly human and goblin, but he isn't too picky) who are his personal slaves. The main portion of the room is filled with bedrolls spread out around cooking fires and crates filled with loot and supplies. The group's armory, which is mostly filled with broken or rusted weapons as the bandits maintain their own arms, is on a raised dais near where the altar once stood. The group has carved out an escape tunnel to the surface, which is cunningly disguised (DC 25 to find). Though they don't know it, in the southeast corner, under a small pile of rubble is a trap door to a small crypt and though what lies within is a mystery, there are probably undead involved.

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[top]The Undead

As befitting the site of such horrific slaughter, the Ruins of Adlersburg are greatly troubled by the dead. The Gorgon's troops, eager to plunder the ruin, were driven out by the spirits of those who they had just defeated. Even today, the bandits refuse to enter the ruins, especially after nightfall. On the surface one typically sees minor undead, zombies and skeletons by the dozens in decaying armor, especially on the anniversary of the fall of the fortress. As one moves further into the lower levels, it is possible to encounter more powerful creatures: haunts, phantoms and possibly worse. Individuals possessed by haunts typically head out towards the Gorgon's Crown seeking revenge. Some say that the Gorgon himself sent wights to patrol the lowest levels in order to prevent others from looting Adlersburg first.

[top]The Ghost of Adlersburg

According to the bards, every year on the anniversary of the Fall of Adlersburg, the Duke's Ghost arises and the armies of the dead re-enact the struggle. A spectral tower falls into the swirling storms of memory every year, just as it did in 1504. Legend says that the True Defender of Wierech is able to pass by these beings and enter the Duke's Tower. If they are true of heart and passes various tests and temptations, the warrior may confront the Duke's Ghost. He or she may then attempt to persuade the Ghost to allow him or her to lift the Cuse of Adlersburg, plunder the treasuries and free the land from the blight that accurses it. The Ghost may, of course, reject the applicant.
Raising the curse is itself rumoured to be a mighty challenge. No-one knows exactly what the Duke's task is, only that none have fulfilled it yet. Some say that it may involve recovering lost magical items, vanquishing the evil undead or reburying the Duke's family.

[top]The Treasures of the Fortress

The Treasury of Adlersburg is legendary throughout Brechtur. All do agree that it lies deep below the citadel and is probably protected by powerful undead, spells and traps. It is said to contain gold bars, the armory of the Royal Guard, a library of esoteric knowledge and even magical treasures like the Eye of Adlersburg or the magical sword Giantslayer. Every bard has his or her pet theory.

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