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CASTLE ON THE THORN
The Castle on the Thorn has always fascinated adventurers. Built on a jagged rock that rises from the waters, the castle has become overgrown with plants and vines over the years. It holds an air of mystery that draws in treasure and adventure seekers from far and wide, like a fragrant flower that attracts insects.
EVERY ROSE HAS ITS...
Years ago there was a village obsessed with blue roses. They incorporated these roses into their customs, embroidering them on clothing and showering newlyweds with rose petals. When they discovered a magical rose in a nearby seaside cave they saw this as a blessing and the villagers quickly started construction on a castle to keep the rose safe. The rose had powerful properties which infused nearby fauna with illusory powers and caused explosive growth in all manner of plants. The villagers studied the rose and were able to extract some of its magic and turn it into an elixir. With this elixir the villagers were able to turn their native blue roses into humanoids with plant-like traits who lived in harmony with the villagers. Sadly, the elixir also created giant flesh eating plants which spread vines all over the village and castle. These vines carried an infection in them that afflicted the plant-like humanoids, turning them hostile and making them bloom with crimson roses.
1. Ville De Fleurian - 2. Gatehouse - 3. Castle Grounds - 4. Throne Room - 5. Dining Hall - 6. Kitchen - 7. The Flowery - 8. Stairwells
9. Gallery of Stone - 10. Holding Cells - 11. Royal Bedroom - 12. Botanical Study
LAY ME DOWN ON A BED OF ROSES
Adventurers are attracted to the castle by tales of a princess that lays there trapped in a magical slumber. Approaching the castle through the village already presents some danger, since the village is overgrown with vines. These vines create illusions around themselves, making them appear as harmless vegetation, while in reality they are a part of the giant flesh eating plants. Any humanoid that comes near the vines is overwhelmed by pleasant smells and calming visual illusions, which prompts them to sit or lie down, at which point the vines wrap around them and drain away their life force.
If you make it through the village, the castle itself can be accessed via the damaged drawbridge or by braving the waters and swimming to the caves under the castle. Those crossing the drawbridge will have an easy time until they enter the gatehouse. Here they will find the way forward blocked by a barricaded door and arrows will rain down through a hole in the ceiling that connects to the 2nd story floor.
By breaking through the barricade or by climbing the guard towers connected to the gatehouse,eventually the courtyard can be reached and from there, the throne room. Here adventurers can catch a glimpse of the splendor the castle must have had before it became overgrown. Heavy resistance will be encountered in the castle interior in the form of the plant-like humanoids that have taken up arms, becoming knights that defend the castle and the magical rose. These knights are overgrown with crimson roses, but perhaps their affliction might be undone if they can be freed from the vines that infect them. Adventurers that are able to make their way to the second story of the castle interior will find the slumbering princess in the upper right room on this floor. Alas, upon entering the room it is revealed that the image of the princess was just an illusion created by a trio of giant flesh eating plants! If the adventurers are able to defeat these plants they can break the infection that has so long infected the surrounding area, making the roses bloom blue once more. With the infection broken, the plant-like humanoids are free of its influence and will no longer be hostile. The Castle on the Thorn will also be free to be used once more, by either the villagers or as a home base for the adventurers.
Yet the mysterious magical rose that started it all still rests in the caves below the castle, ready to stir life and magic in the surrounding fauna once more.
1. Ville De Fleurian
“As you walk through the deserted streets of the village, you detect a pleasing smell flowing through the air. A moment ago you could swear that the houses here were overgrown by creeping vines, but now all you can see are beautiful flowers. They beckon you with their sweet scent, demanding to be smelled.” After the infection started spreading, the village quickly became overgrown with vines and flesh-eating plants. The plant-like humanoids that had once helped and supported the villagers turned on them and attacked. This forced the remaining villagers to flee, leaving the village to slowly fall to ruin. Now, plant monstrosities of varying kinds stalk the streets, and vines wrapped in illusions lure unsuspecting victims to a grizzly fate.
The kitchen has remained mostly untouched, seeming to indicate that the plant creatures don’t have an appetite for bread or cheeses. Quite a lot of edible food is still here, safely stored in sealed barrels. Strangely, there is a fire blazing under a pot with an unknown liquid bubbling in it.
7. The Flowery
In the back of the castle grounds is a sitting area with bushes filled with large blooming roses all around it. Once this must have been a well kept place for quiet contemplation but now the bushes are unkempt and growing wildly. Some of the roses here are still blue, but with a red hue overtaking them.
These stairs connect to the different floors of the castle. The way down leads to the underground caves and the cellar that functions as the botanical study. Taking the stairs up leads to the second floor of the castle interior and the gallery of stone.
9. Gallery of Stone
“Rounding the corner, you come upon a display of stone statues overlooking the throne room below. The statues are very well made and almost lifelike in appearance. They must depict ancient heroes, great warriors who had their images captured in stone as a commemoration of some great deed.” These statues were commissioned in honor of five heroes that saved Ville De Fleurian from a terrible monster attack. Sadly, it wasn’t even a year later that the experiments with the magical elixir would go devastatingly wrong, creating the many plant monsters that have now overtaken the village and castle. The stone hammer that one of the statues is holding is slightly cracked, revealing something gleaming inside it.
10. Holding Cells
Whenever the plants lure in more victims than they can eat at the time, the remainder is taken to this room and placed in cells made from wooden bars. It is unclear if these cells were here before the plant creatures took over or if they created them. There are still some remains in the cells of the unfortunate souls that were brought here.
11. Royal Bedroom
“You’ve finally reached the bedroom where the slumbering princess must be! As you enter the room you see a young woman laying on a bed in seemingly peaceful sleep. But as you take a few steps forward the image of the woman starts to shift and become hazy. As the image fades away you see three large plants with oversized mouths filled with razor sharp teeth. They whip vines towards, trying to grab you!” The story of the princess trapped in a magical sleep seems to have been a ruse! The illusory magic inherent in the plants around the castle created the image of the sleeping princess, hoping to attract new victims for the plants to feast upon. The three flesh eating plants here are the most powerful in the castle and they are the origin of the infection that has corrupted the plant-like humanoids. If these three plant monsters can be defeated, any remaining plant-like humanoids will be freed from the corruption turning them hostile.
12. Botanical Study
“Descending the stairs brings you to a chamber filled with books, vials and strange instruments. The sweet scent of the flowers further in the chamber mixes with a biting scent that clings to the back of your throat. Clearly many alchemical components are present here, presenting a danger to careless hands.” This is where the magical rose was first found and subsequently where the experiments were done that resulted in the elixir. Samples of the various experiments that were conducted here are still present, as well as many alchemical components, books on both botany and alchemy, instruments of all sorts and scrolls filled with strange arcane symbols. One versed in both matters of the arcane and the study of nature could work many wonders here or create more terrible magical concoctions.