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Flying Fortresses - Steal This Hook

When one looks into the sky, one doesn't expect to see a building flying overhead. But this month, that is exactly what you will see. Take a look at these adventure hooks that involve flying buildings (or buildings that could fly) and add a reason for the PCs to look up from time to time to your game.

A Blustery Day

Forgotten Realms

"The storm came without warning, and yet with plenty of warning. I know that sounds contradictory, but it's true," says the lithe elven woman over drinks in the backroom of a dingy tavern. "Harper diviners never foresaw a storm of such strength and destruction, but once they did see it, it moved slowly enough that people in its path could evacuate. Mostly.

"We know it's not a natural storm. The storm covers an area about ten miles across, but the main winds and rain are concentrated in its center and cover an area about a mile in diameter. Within that area it is too windy for flight, and too turbulent with debris to see anything. Since it is carving a path of destruction across the Dalelands, we need to find out more. Harpers have moved in advance of its path to hasten the evacuations while others seek out the source of this storm, but all who have gone into the central vortex have not returned. Perhaps they have found the source and are busy combating it, or perhaps they are trapped or dead. We don't know.

"So, we turn to you. We have heard of your expertise and skill, and hope that you can at least get us word on what is happening there. We need you to penetrate the central storm area and determine what is there, and, if possible, find those who have gone before you into the mouth of destruction."

d100 Story Elements

Select or generate story elements from this table.

00-35: At the center of the storm floats a large castle. Its owner, a wizard, accidentally opened a gate to the Elemental Plane of Air, which is now allowing material from the Plane of Air to enter Faerûn. The force of the air lifted the fortress from the ground and is carrying it aloft as the disturbance crosses the Realms.

36-70: A castle at the center of the storm is being carried aloft by enslaved djinni and air elementals. The wizard owner of the tower carved out an empire on the Plane of Air and is using elementals and djinni to create and magnify the storm to carry the castle.

71-75: The forces lifting the castle are out of control, and the storm is expanding at a rate of several square miles of area per day. If not stopped, it will engulf the whole world.

76-85: The castle owner has an artifact that allows mental domination of creatures, and she is adding creatures to the storm, including green dragons. She wants to use the creatures as an army to attack devastated areas of land.

86-00: A number of people have been sucked up into the storm's eye and are in pitched battles with different creatures (especially elementals) when the PCs penetrate to the center of the storm.

Campaign Adaptation

This adventure may not fit every campaign world. If you do use it, then you might find Complete Mage, Complete Arcane, and Spell Compendium useful for arcane development. Depending on what terrain is beneath the storm, you may find Sandstorm, Frostburn, or Stormwrack useful as well. Stronghold Builder's Guidebook might help with the castle itself.

Eberron: This one is difficult for Eberron because there isn't an Elemental Plane of Air. You could have the gate connect somehow to a part of Kythri.

Greyhawk: Make the castle owner a Suel or Baklunish wizard using ancient magic, and run the storm across the PCs' home country or region to make it more personal.

More Than Meets the Eye

Forgotten Realms

The journey across the Akanamere had been without incident. The PCs were hired to track a group of smugglers, and they did track them to a lizardfolk community on the other side of the vast lake. Taking a small ship, they planned to cross the lake, defeat the smugglers, and recover the goods. Then the pirates attacked. Their ship was larger than the PCs, and they were better armed, and though the PCs accounted for a number of them, their ship did not fare so well. They were left adrift in the Akanamere.

They made their way to a large island that they could see in the distance, then prepared to either be rescued (due to a magical sending they made) or recover magic to teleport to safety. In the meantime, they started to explore this island, which they found to be uninhabited. Then they found a shaft leading downward.


This adventure is set up to be PC-motivated, meaning that they explore if they want to. If you want to give them a nudge, then you can have their patron hire them to explore the shaft after they are rescued, or explore the island looking for buried pirate treasure (based on a map, which may be real or fake).

Once the PCs reveal the existence of the fortress, a great many people will be interested in it, especially if they can get it flying again.

d100 Story Elements

Choose or randomly generate story elements from this table.

00-50: The shaft leads to an ancient flying fortress, from the time of Tchazzar's wars with Unther. The Untherites had found a flying fortress from the time of Netheril and were using it as a flying battle platform. Tchazzar arranged for it to crash, and it landed in the Akanamere. It was never recovered -- and soon forgotten -- and the island formed on top of it.

51-80: Sea creatures from below inhabit the fortress, and the PCs will find them difficult to dislodge. Possibilities include lizardfolk, sahuagin variants, aquatic umber hulks, and even large sea monsters such as aboleths or dragon turtles.

81-85: The fortress is actually a sentient magic item in a sleeping state (like when dragons sleep), and if the PCs awaken it they could be in for trouble. It has been down here a long time and is anxious to fly again to fulfill its purpose of destruction.

86-00: The fortress came to rest on a rise in the sea floor, and beneath it is a cave complex that leads eventually to the Underdark (in a remote location). What once served as a doorway in the bottom of the fortress to release flying creatures now leads into one of the upper caves. Creatures from the Underdark have penetrated into the cave complex, but they have not found the way into the fortress yet.

Campaign Adaptation

Flying fortresses may not fit every campaign, but you can always have the fortress grounded and centuries of rain and floods fill in a lake around it. Stormwrack may help with the aquatic elements, and Stronghold Builder's Guidebook might help with the fortress itself. Dungeonscape might too, since it's a dungeon now as well as a fortress.

Eberron: The large floating fortresses were from the Last War, and many crashed around Khorvaire. This adventure goes well in Lake Cyre, but could go in Lake Brey too.

Greyhawk: Flying fortresses are rarely even heard of in the Flanaess, but there could be one left from the Suel Imperium that was crashed in the Nyr Dyv, or perhaps Iuz had one centuries ago that was grounded in Whyestil Lake.

Monastery of Evil


"Please help us," the man says to the PCs. He sits across from the PCs in a tavern in Fairhaven, capitol of Aundair. "You are the only ones who have expressed any interest in our plight."

And the PCs had, somewhat. The man and his sister told them that their younger brother had gone to study at the Monastery of the Wild Coast, which is situated overlooking the Eldeen Bay near the Whisper Woods. He had been there for nine years, and had written that he was leaving and coming home. Apparently he had some conflict with the head monks and had renounced his vows. But he never arrived. When the man went to the monastery, they were told by the monks that the brother had left years ago, and they had no knowledge of him. But the sister did not feel they were telling the truth.

Further, the man and his sister noticed that the monastery was crumbling into ruin around the monks, who seemed oblivious. The monks were uncharacteristically unfriendly, and even rude. The man and his sister don't feel competent to challenge the monks, and so they sought adventurers. The PCs answered the call. However, the promise of treasure seems remote at an occupied monastery.

To keep with the flying fortress theme, you can have the monastery lifted off the ground by the evil magic of the statue, something that happened after the man and his sister visited the place.

d100 Motivations

00-30: The man and his sister are sincere in what they tell the PCs. They are willing to offer rare magic or 500 gp to find out what happened to their brother. Where they'd get the rare magic is anyone's guess.

31-50: The statue (see below) wants sacrifices, so two monks are posing as the man and the sister to lure the unwary to be killed at the monastery.

51-00: Instead of the missing monk, the PCs hear stories of a strange monastic ruins that rise above the Whisper Wood. A strange glow fills the ruins at night, driving off all natural creatures.

d100 Story Elements

00-30: The monastery acquired a statue of a demon with a huge gem in its forehead. The monks pledged to keep it safe from the world, but were corrupted by the evil power of the statue. Those that resisted the corruption fled and/or were killed.

31-50: A small number of uncorrupted monks escaped and took refuge in the wilderness to purify themselves. If found, they could provide a lot of information.

51-75: The gem enhances magic, but destroys matter around it, so the monastery is now a crumbling ruin (it is falling into ruin much faster than normally possible). Monks still occupy it, who welcome the progress of ruin of their monastery (in direct contradiction to their previous care of the site).

76-00: The statue is drawing Shavarath closer, causing it to become coterminus with Eberron sooner than it should be. Soon, Aundair will become a wreck of demonic battlefields. Only the destruction of the statue in the pits of Khyber can stop this terrible fate.

Campaign Adaptation

Complete Warrior and Complete Adventurer could help with the monks, and Stronghold Builder's Guidebook could help with the monastery. Since 4th Edition is coming out soon, pull out all the stops and use any book you have that you haven't used yet. Mind flayer monks might make this different, for example.

Forgotten Realms: There are a lot of places to hide a monastery in the Realms. Pick your favorite place, or wherever the PCs are now. You could even have it in Waterdeep with a lot of work. I suggest Amn or Calimshan.

Greyhawk: Choosing a site in Zeif or Ekbir would add an interesting eastern flavor, and it would put the monastery close to the ancient Baklunish empire that once occupied the lands now called the Plains of the Paynims. Perhaps the demon statue is a remnant of the old Baklunish magics, or a Suel item created to destroy the Baklunish.

About the Author

Robert Wiese has been playing D&D since 1978 after he watched a game played in the car on the way home from a Boy Scouts meeting. He was fascinated, and delved into this strange world of dragons and magic and sourcebooks. Years later, he was hired to edit tournaments for the RPGA Network, and from there progressed to running the network after his boss was assassinated in the great Christmas purge of 1996. Times were tough, but he persevered and brought the RPGA into a shining new era. Eventually he met a girl who liked to play D&D too, and he left Renton for the warmth and casinos of Reno, Nevada. Now, he works in the Pharmacology department of UNR studying mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda, son Owen, and newborn daughter Rebecca.


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