Friday, February 28, 2014

A Player's Guide to Gorgoroth

Tonight, I kick off my B/X mini-mega-dungeon campaign at a local game shop, so nearly every spare minute the past few weeks has been dedicated to preparing for it (the problem with creating a dungeon with multiple connections between different levels is that you never know where the players might end up, even in the first session, so there's a LOT of prep to do up front. Basically it's a small-scale sandbox.)

Below is the contents of a document I prepared for the players, to introduce them to the base town, located a stone's throw from the dungeon. I thought a travel guide style would be fun to attempt - I didn't want to eliminate the need for some exploration of the town/village but at the same time, i thought there were some basics the characters would have already become familiar with.

Population: 500ish
Government Officials: Sheriff Arnax and Deputy Gygenson,  by appointment of the town council


Located just south of the foothills of the Towering Mountains of the Thunder Wrestler, and east of the Tanaelva River, is the quiet town of Gorgoroth. Despite being the northernmost settlement in the region, Gorgoroth regularly welcomes outsiders, who come to purchase or barter for its quality wood, sustainably harvested from the surrounding forests, and for casks of the finely crafted beers of the Haunted Keep Brewery.

Surrounded by a wooden palisade, Gorgoroth’s wattle and daub construction is supplemented by exquisite stone buildings, like Draka’s tower, the Shrine of the Punishing Ox, and the renowned Haunted Keep Brewery.

Visitors used to a certain level of sophisticated quality will find their needs best met at the Shining Sparrow bed & breakfast, in Upper Gorgoroth, while for the more budget conscious traveler, The Mournful Phoenix in lower Gorgoroth is the place to go. Your host, Burzum, and his wife Gertrude will make your stay a delight as they serve you some of the most amazing meals for little coin.

Sights to see:

Gar Draka’s tower - The beautiful stone work alone is worth the visit, but it is also home to a sage of some renown, Gar Draka. Known for his work in botanical studies, his time is quite valuable, so appointments are required and should be made with his assistants.

Shrine of the Punishing Ox - Sanctioned by the Bishop of the Cathedral of the Iron Tiger in Hedeby, the shrine is maintained by Sister Ingrid, by permanent appointment. The massive white granite statue of Lord Ox is said to grant blessings to all who pray at it.

The Ruins of Trelleborg  - Located on a rocky crag in the foothills about half-a-day away, we advise all visitors to Gorgoroth to avoid the ruins of this borderland fort at all cost, given its history of evil and the tragedy of The Last Garrison. The ruins are best viewed from a distance in bright daylight.

The Haunted Keep Brewery -Open for business year round, visitors can sample Black Dougal Stout, Gary Sent Us Pale Ale, and Silverleaf Pilsner. Nestled in a woods on Morgan’s Creek, the brewery is one of the oldest buildings in Gorgoroth.


  1. *grin* . . . I like the "brochure" approach . . . and I think that I'd believe it with more than a drop of doubt. The town sounds like a real backwater slum.

    Nevertheless I wish you were going to be running it here instead of thousands of miles from me. I'd like to play.

    -- Jeff

  2. I agree with Jeff. Sounds like the local Chamber of Torture (I mean, Commerce) had a hand in that brochure. ha ha

  3. Hilarious. I especially like the names of the Sheriff and his deputy.

  4. That's a good way to dump a lot of background information on your players in a way that they'll remember it.

  5. Thanks, all! I'm not sure how much, if anything, the player's got from it. Because it's "open table", I hope it serves as an introduction for any new players, and a reminder to existing ones. The first session saw little attempt at utilizing the base town's resources, other than low balling street urchins to risk their life in a place believed to be haunted and evil.