Finishing out the 13 Adventure Seeds for Houska Castle!
10. Game of Death – In the mid-13th century Ottokar II sent his knights into the mountains to deal with a satanic threat. A necromancer of frightful power had built a fortress using animated skeletons as slaves and warriors. From there he terrorized the surrounding lands, his forces slaughtering the people and dragging their corpses back to join his undead ranks.
The knights fought a brutal battle, eventually laying siege to the fortress. High in the tower of the necromancer they confronted the villain and cast him down, the Earth opening beneath them and swallowing the tower whole. The knights were victorious, but they knew the necromancer was not dead. They built Houska Castle over top of the chasm to seal him forever beneath the mountain.
Many years have passed and Europe is destroying itself in the horrors of the 30 Years War. In the midst of this chaos the great leaders have each received a strange messenger. Undead ravens have come bearing a challenge from the necromancer. He has transformed the hell pit beneath the castle into a series of levels filled with traps and unholy monsters. The necromancer will provide all the power of his dark arts to the side whose adventurers reach the bottom of the cavern first.
It is a truly Faustian bargain, but the war has already transformed central Europe into a landscape from Hell. Besides, can anyone risk such power falling into the hands of their enemies?
11. Souls of Vengeance – When Houska Castle was built the old timber fortress before it was demolished as well as the homes of the peasants who were then forced to construct the new castle. Conditions for the workers were brutal and scores died in accidents or from the harsh treatment of their overseers.
When the castle was completed the king brought a great treasure of gold and jewels taken from the pagans during the Northern Crusades. He hid the wealth in the caverns beneath the castle, then ordered the remaining workers slaughtered to keep the secret.
The castle now lies empty and no priest has said prayers in its chapel for many years. The new king has granted the castle and its lands to a group of adventures in thanks for their service, but the return of residents to the castle has caused the unquiet dead to stir in their forgotten vaults.
12. The Forgotten King – King Arthur, Emperor Barbarossa, Prince Vlad Dracula; occasionally a hero will rise up to embody the dreams of an entire people. A warrior who achieves such power can transcend mortal life and when they are cut down they are taken into the Earth. There they sleep until the day comes when they will once more take up their swords and lead their people in battle. These are the Kings in the Mountains.
In the 6th century such a king arose, a Celtic warlord who lead his people against the advancing Slavs. He was a just lord, fierce in battle, and ultimately fell while holding a mountain pass single handed. So great was his heroism that as death came for him the Morrigan herself turned the final blow aside, swept him up, and secreted him away in a hidden cavern. There he would sleep as a King in the Mountain, waiting for the day he would once more lead his people. But something went wrong.
His people did not stand against the invaders. Instead they fled and the tales of the king and his deeds were lost. Now his tomb lies forgotten beneath the mountain and Houska Castle rises overhead, it’s chapel covering its hidden entrance. Christian prayers drift down to where the old king sleeps and have disturbed his dreams, telling him of the fall of his people and the loss of his legacy.
In the heart of the mountain the old king’s anger grows.
13. Vault of Chrome and Silicone – Ziny Flatline is the best hacker ever to dance through Cyberspace. At 13 she’d run two megacorp mainframes. By 16 she’d made her first smash-and-grab on the international bank-net, melting their black I.C.E. with software she’d written herself. She dodged her first assassin less than 48 hours later. For her 17th birthday an unknown corporate player sent her a gift courtesy of an attack drone. She had just enough warning to escape before a missile turned her apartment building into a crater. The rest of the residents were not so lucky.
It was all fun and games when it was only Ziny’s neck on the line, but seeing the collateral damage changed her outlook on life. She used the funds she’d stolen to buy an abandoned pile of stone called Houska Castle and in the caves below it she set up a data vault of her own design. Then she assembled a team of like-minded hackers and they set out on a mission to fill the vault with a most unusual collection.
They collected malware of every kind. Viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, spyware, every piece of malicious code they could get their digital hands on. They created the largest library of computer viruses ever assembled. Now they take the viruses apart, examine their code, and compile new and more dangerous programs. Their latest acquisition is a rogue A.I.
Ziny Flatline hasn’t said what her endgame is but you can bet it will be spectacular.