I could very easily have titled this post “How to Use a Published Adventure to Establish an Adventure Site“. I didn’t because that title would be ridiculously long and foolishly boring. People already click past my posts at near the speed of light. So, instead, I used the name of the dwarven castle in the above published Dungeons and Dragons supplement from 1995. The name means “griffon nest” in the Kundarak dwarven language.
The supplement provides the interior floor plans of the castle embedded in the mountainside. It saves a lot of work. Making castle floor plans takes time.
Once you have the place established, then you have to populate it with non-player characters. This dwarf castle has a mining operation. You only reach the castle site by air, so there is an exterior tower that contains a griffon aerie. You have to ride a griffon to enter the castle.
If you don’t have a crazy griffon rider like Madryk Featherstone to give you a ride through the air to the castle in the side of the Graywall Mountains, then you have to come through the mines which are so deep they connect to the underworld.
Solfaera Dezzav, the drow dark elf, was exiled by the drow people in the underdark of the Khyber realm. She came to Kaurak Kholzil as a refugee and helped to set up the protective network that shields the castle from the terrible things that lurk under the mountain.
The rulers of Kaurak Kholzil are Daggan Mastersmith, the King Dwarf, his wife, Rorrina Gembright Mastersmith, and his father-in-law, Dennin Gembright. They mine the precious and martial metals of Kaurak Kholzil. Daggan is a particularly severe and demanding ruler, rather joyless and humorless. His wife is much younger than he and is a bright soul who often suffers in the darkness her husband rules. She often seeks solace and entertainment from visiting adventurers. Dennin, the old dwarf, once ruled here. but now is a bit of a doddering buffoon, no longer capable of thinking in straight lines.
Of course, there are a lot of other colorful characters that live in Kaurak Kholzil. They all have their personality quirks and know things that could lead to future adventures.
Some of them, like the Mastersmith Twins who raise and cook giant spiders to feed the castle on spider steaks, are potential comedy relief. But they can also serve as noble castle defenders, using meat cleavers and enraged spiders to take on any invaders.
So there is a little insight into the mind of a dungeon master who steals good adventure ideas from published sources and embellishes them at will to continue to make the game interesting. If you are a dungeon master too, feel free to steal all these ideas for your own D & D game.