Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Premise for the Jennerak Campaign Idea

I have written elsewhere that I became intrigued by a reference to the vanished civilization of the Jenerak in the eighties movie "Mazes and Monsters" .

The movies showed a D&D session where the DM had a map of the Forbidden Mazes of the Jenerak and he told the players about "a mutated people...once human, now unspeakably vicious."

The idea turned into an idea for a campaign that I modeled after the movie's fictional game of M&M. I have not developed it all yet but the gist of it is here noted for use by anyone who wishes to help with it or make it your own.

In M&M, ninth level is considered a breakthrough level, so I based the campaign on this idea--the campaign lasts until the party all reach 10th level. When they reach the tenth level, that particular campaign is over and a new one must be devised.

I would construct roughly 9 or 10 complete dungeon maps and keys to challenge the party at each progressive level they attained.

These dungeons would be usable as stand alone adventures and each would be, for the most part, self contained. I decided to make the campaign center around dungeon adventures with a little wilderness and town fun thrown in. However, I would loosely connect all of the dungeons with a unifying plot thread that gave a back story to the campaign.

This is a spoiler alert if any of my players should stumble upon this blog post--keep out!

For my fellow DM's, here is the theme of the campaign:

A dungeon adventure reveals a plot by a cult to revive their ways by summoning an evil deity named Gamosh. gamosh can only be summoned if a special temple is built and the right rituals performed. A wizard named Nuromen who was devoted to Gamosh was in the process of beginning the rituals and the temple when he and his followers were destroyed (See my dungeon "The Maze of Nuromen"). The Players must rescue a number of relics from various dungeons and/or find clues to how to stop Gamosh's entrnace into the prime material plane.

Gamosh was banished by a band of titans sent by the gods to kill him--he killed all but one of them in the battle. The titan Agamemnus cut off the evil demi-god's hand and cut out his eye--Gamosh fled to another dimension to escape death but became trapped. The eye and hand of Gamosh were kept by his followers to use to summon him back. When Agamemnus was asked by the gods what he desired in return for his feat, in his grief he only desired to sleep forever and dream of his lost brothers. A goddess took pity and granted his wish, setting him in a deep underground hall.

The PC's will learn that they must visit Agamemnus to obtain relics to help them defeat Gamosh. They will vsisit other locales to hunt down maps, relics, or clues to where the final temple of Gamosh is being built. During the course of the campaign, they will discover that the race of the Jenerak perished because they turned to the worship of Gamosh form their former benevolent religion. This should be crafted so as to be somewhat of a startling revelation since in the campaign setting the Jenerak are somewhat like the people of fabled Atlantis in the minds of the people now living in their former environs.

In fact, the actual dungeon designed for the movie "Mazes and Monsters" is, just like in the film, the 9th level dungeon and the next to the last adventure in the campaign. I have the actual maps and will be uploading them. The final and 10th level adventure is a visit to the arctic regions where the true Temple is being built. The players will learn that the Jenerak come from a homeland now simply known as the Lonely Coast--the hills and cliffs of the Lonely hills are actually the buried ruins of the ancient and original city of the Jenerak people.

I have fully developed maps and keys for some of the dungeons of the Jenerak campaign. Others I have only maps for. Still others I have only ideas for. I will post what I do have in order that anyone who wishes to use the Jenerak campaign may do so.

Some of the the dungeons of the campaign are, in rough order by level, as follows:

The Maze of Nuromen

The Bandit Lair

The Under City of Kravekos

The Halls of the Sleeping Titan

The Pits of Tarthoom

The Forbidden Mazes of the Jenerak

The Temple of Gamosh

Others are yet to be developed.

As for the general backdrop to be read or given to the players before the actual campaign, it is as follows:

Your adventures begin on a stretch of the coast of the Northern Sea, in the Kingdom of Avamere, more specifically in those environs known as the Barony of Kor. 

These lands were once the dwelling place of the Jennarak, an ancient and mysterious people whose culture and civilization are considered the highest yet attained by man. Some unknown calamity befell the Jennarak, and their cities fell, eventually buried by the winds of time, but the ruins of their habitations, monuments, and tombs can still be found in the wilderness areas of Avamere. Legends say wondrous relics and fantastic treasures are to be found in such places, but also many monsters and the undead. Thus all but the most foolhardy or adventurous shun the Old Places

After the Age of the Jennerak, great empires of lesser races arose, and mighty roads, great buildings and other fabulous arts were advanced, inspired by the light of the past. Yet incessant warfare between the Empires led to their downfall as well, and they collapsed some two centuries ago, leaving their former protectorates to fall into feudalism. These protectorates became kingdoms and baronies held by armed might alone, though the Church and the Rulers base all of their pretensions to rule on claims of fidelity with the ancient principals of the old Empires.

You are a band of intrepid adventurers who have gathered in the small but thriving village of Camlann.

By various devices of Fate you have met and joined together in the village of Camlann to seek adventure and treasure. And it is here, in the boisterous tavern called the Boar's Head, that you heard of the Maze of Nuromen which lies in the foothills some fifty miles form the village. The ruin is long shunned by the townsfolk, the tower is mostly tumbled to ruins, but rumors abound of vaults and catacombs excavated during the Age of the Empires. Ghostly lights and strange noises can be seen and heard on the hills by night travelers--some claim these are guardians of great treasures. 

Will you brave the haunted Maze to find out?

Note: An alternate beginning place for the party can be a sea port called White Whelm which you may read about here:

White Whlem

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