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Help me fill this Iron Tower with Fun!

Pentius

First Post
Alright, as it happens, my players have come to a tower made entirely of Iron. Last session ended with them opening a service hatch/secret entrance that will lead to the basement levels of said tower.

Here's the rub: I haven't fleshed out what's inside.

Here's what the players know:

-This tower is made of a solid pillar of iron. Probably magic, though they aren't convinced talented artisans couldn't have made it.

-The only entrances are a huge front door, that they don't know how to open, and an entryway in the woods behind the tower.

-The previous inhabitant of the tower was a powerful dragon mage, specifically a golem crafter. He died 43 years ago.


What I want:

-Some combat ideas. I don't need stats so much as concepts. What enemies are, why they'd fight and what they are doing there are more important than stats. However, I don't want too many combats. I would like for the players to finish the tower in one game day, so they shouldn't have to do more than 4-5 battles.

-Puzzles could work. I don't want overly simple traps, like the poison darts shooting out when you step on a floor tile, but whole-room or whole-floor trap/puzzle ideas could conceivably be here, and be a blast.

-Lore. What kind of crazy things might a dragon golem master have in his secret lab? He was a little bit crazy, not overly concerned about the value of mortal life, and in the business of creating weapons for a war. A little bit of Island of Dr. Moreau? My players can handle mature content at least up to rated R.
 

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OnlineDM

Adventurer
If it helps, I wrote a tower adventure called Tallinn's Tower, which you can get for free on my blog. It wasn't made of iron, but there might be ideas you could use.

The first floor had a "see through the illusion" encounter to get inside, and then a "find the sequence of runes" puzzle while fighting magically summoned creatures (more and more of them as time went by).

The second floor had a lightning bolt trap and animated suits of armor.

The third floor was a fairly straightforward fight with a medusa and snakes.

The fourth floor had the wizardess who is in charge of the tower.
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
Hmmm... writing this more or less at random as ideas come to me. Obviously, if he's a golem creator, he'd be using golems to guard his tower.

In the basement, he might have waste disposal units (ochre jelly and gelatinous cubes come to mind) and a trash heap/midden area. Maybe if the place has been abandoned for a while some smaller less dangerous creatures that could be bargained with might dwell here. Midges, gremlins, or other fey who could be unable to enter the tower due to hatred of/inability to tolerate cold iron.

First level could be all about proving that you're brave/clever enough to deserve to get the wizard's attention. Some sort of trap or puzzle with an obvious but false method to disarm it, and another hidden disarm that is obvious to anyone who can think like a machinist/golem builder. For example, the off switch for the attacking golems is not across the room on the big pillar behind the sealed grating; it's in the hidden hatch right beside the entry door. Of course, since the PCs didn't come IN the entry door, that switch may not be immediately and easily accessible to them!

The second level might be living quarters and study areas, but not working labs. Neat little magics that make life easier, programmed entertainment illusions, magical maid service, etc...

The third level could be his working labs. Half-finished creations, dangerous lab equipment, heavy machinery that is not properly shut down (drill presses and metal foundry, steam riveters and mechanical hammers could all be found there, depending on the size of his assembly line). Perhaps he has a whole series of small automatons that are only partly functional but are programmed to defend the place.

Hope a few ideas here work for you...
 

Squire James

First Post
I suppose if you want to give the wizard a (bad) sense of humor there may be a pun or two in there... such as a combat, cooking contest (or both) with Iron Chefs or a skirmish against an Iron Gollum. Designate a decent magic item the party possesses as its "precious" and its entire goal is grab/steal it and run off with it.
 

Stormonu

Legend
An iron golem definitely seems like it would fit this tower, especially one with unique abilities - perhaps the ability to use the iron of the tower to repair itself or an iron glide ability similar to an earth elemental (except through iron).

An interesting twist might be a basement area under the tower where some rust monsters have been imprisoned (in an area surrounded by stone or dirt so they can't hurt the tower). If the party is too low-level to face an iron golem, these little suckers could be part of a "puzzle" on how to put the final kabob on the iron golem - though the party would have to keep them from running rampant elsewhere.

If you haven't fleshed out how the dragon mage died, it might be possible that his remains are in a phylactery somewhere in the tower - perhaps currently being toted about by or controlling some sort of golem in the tower (perhaps the iron golem?).

There might also be a simulacrum (doubles of living things made of snow...) or even clones (the mage or other he "sampled" in the past) in the tower too. A mirror of opposition (which creates "evil" duplicates of the PCs) could be set up in one of the mage's workroom as a sort of unexpected trap - normally kept covered by a curtain or cloth and inadvertently revealed by the PCs.
 


Iron, hey...?

I would make the entire thing a high powered electromagnet! All metal items are taken and glued to the floor, armoured PC's are pinned (unless they remove the armour if they can) until the damn thing is turned off.

Have the magnet on the same circuit as the doors so that to open any door the magnet must be on.

Have the way of disarming the magnet be pouring water on the power source which doesn’t break it completely, but has it work intermittently and unpredictably. Imagine the fun of swords etc being pulled out of PCs and their enemy’s hands mid fight, then the tussle to get them back once the power goes back out.

Imagine a room with metal boots that mean the players can walk on magnetized ceilings and walls…

Magnets… how do they work?
 

Tymophil

Explorer
Magnetism was already mentionned...

But what about rust ? There could be rust golems. Rust could eat up the stairs. The PCs could, unwillingly or not, unleash rust on the tower while they are still on the top floor and have to survive the copllapse of the tower. Rust powder could blind, daze and even stun.

Electricity could run through the whole keep. Heat and cold can spread real quick through such a metal...

Rooms could move in an seemingly erratic motion because of wheels and cogs that the PCs can get to command if they each a certain room. The whole adventure could be played with horrible sounds (you can find such sound effects on the web).

The whole tower could be the barrel of a gigantic gun, aimed at a far away planet...
 


Argyle King

Legend
You say the former owner was a golem crafter? I have a few creatures I wrote up back when I was new to 4E. The stats might need updated to the new monster math, but here they are:

Before you stands...well, more or less stands...what appears to be a thick metallic wagon wheel which is jagged with teeth similar to a saw blade; protruding from each side of the wheel in a manner similar to an axle is a spinning metal rod to which you notice are affixed several sword-like blades. From time to time you also notice the sound of a small crackle similar to that of static.

BLADEWHEEL CHARGER LEVEL 10 SOLDIER
Medium Natural Animate (construct) XP 500
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Initiative +11 Senses Perception +4; Blindsight 12
HP 106; Bloodied 53
AC 24; Fortitude 22; Reflex 22; Will 18
Immune disease, poison, sleep, gaze; also see Electrical Surge
Speed 8
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Charge (minor; at-will)
Chargers are powered by some sort of storm magic that seems to harness the power of lightning which is not yet fully understood by contemporary sages. A Charger's attacks rely on built up Charges of the energies which power it. As a minor action a Bladewheel Charger can generate and store a Charge; a Bladewheel Charger can hold a maximum of three charges. When a Charger uses such a power the power description also states the amount of charges expended.

Electrical Surge
A Bladewheel Charger is neither immune nor resistant to powers or attacks with the Lightning Keyword; however, when struck by a power or an attack which has the Lightning Keyword and/or includes Lightning as a type of damage the Bladewheel Charger gains a Charge as a free action.

Blade Strike (standard; at-will)
The Bladewheel Charger makes a blade attack against a target. +15 vs AC; 1d8+4 damage

Surge (minor; expends 1 charge)
The Bladewheel Charger starts to buzz and crackle with the sounds of electrical energies. The Bladewheel Charger must expend 1 Charge to use this power. The next attack that a Bladewheel Charger uses after using this power also deals ongoing 5 Lightning damage on a hit (save ends)

Overdrive (move; expends 1 charge)
The metal menace before you begins to move toward you with an uncanny quickness; you barely have time to try to move out of the way before it is upon you. The Bladewheel Charger must expend 1 Charge to use this power. The Bladewheel Charger can move up to its speed and enter enemies' spaces. This movement provokes opportunity attacks, and the Bladewheel Charger must end its move in an unoccupied space. When it enters an enemy's space the Bladewheel Charger makes trample attack: +15 vs Reflex; 1d8+4 damage and the target is knocked prone.

Whirling Blades (standard; encounter; expends 2 Charges)
The blades mounted on the sides of this mayhem machine start to spin rapidly with a sinister whistle. The Bladewheel Charger must expend 2 Charges to use this Encounter power. The Bladewheel Charger makes 4 Blade Strike attacks. Special: If this power is used after using Surge, all 4 of the Blade Strike attacks made with the Whirling Blades power gain the extra damage effect granted by Surge; however, if multiple attacks hit the same target the ongoing damage is not cumulative. (i.e. If all 4 attacks hit the same target the target would not then be taking ongoing 20 Lightning.)

STR 16 (+8) DEX 18 (+9) WIS 8 (+4)
CON 18 (+9) INT 6 (+3) CHA 9 (+4)

Knowledges
DC 15 Nature or Arcana - You know that this is some sort of construct; you seem to recall reading somewhere or hearing somewhere some information which leads you to remember that this particular type of construct is called a Bladewheel Charger. You know that it is an Animate type of Natural origin.

DC 20 Nature or Arcana - You know that this particular construct uses its blades to attack its targets; it also has the ability to channel Lightning damage into its attacks.

DC 25 Nature or Arcana - You know the immunities of the creature. Only a character who has skill training in the appropriate knowledge skill (Nature or Arcana) knows the details of the Electrical Surge property.

(optional; added for flavor) DC 25 History or Dungeoneering (trained only) - Many years ago a long forgotten tomb of an ancient sage of legend was rediscovered; much like other such discoveries adventurers flocked to the site in hopes of discovering forgotten treasures and ancient knowledges. Inside the tomb a type of construct which was unfamiliar to the current sages and mages of your world was discovered. This construct was given the name of "Charger" because of the ability they have to charge themselves with energy and fuel special attacks. The most commonly encountered one was the Bladewheel Charger. Other types exist, but knowledge of the other types is scarce at this point in time; the workings of the Bladewheel Charger is not fully understood yet, but a few people have managed to "reprogram them for other tasks." They can be given simple instructions such as "guard this area," "defend this person," and etc, but they don't possess the full reasoning and thinking capabilities of an actual living creature.
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Meatboy

First Post
You say the wizard was a powerful golem crafter? Why not combine golemancy with lichedom and say that instead of dying the wizard "uploaded" himself into a series of mystic crystal relays at the top of the tower which are connected to every golem/device in the tower. In essence the mage is now the tower and he is playing a game with the heroes. Doors open and close randomly, traps reset themselves etc.
 

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