Fantasy Map Extravaganza

Maraduk’s Folly

Maraduk's Folly - An underground cave complex
Maraduk’s Folly – An underground cave complex

The caves are the result of the ambition and madness of the dwarf king Maraduk. He was searching neither gold nor jewels but rather divinity itself. In his madness, Maraduk believed that the mountain hid within its depths the corpse of the dwarven god Bulmur. He thought – based on ancient books and forbidden rituals – that if he ate the god he would then be able to take on his powers. This secret desire of his was unbeknownst to his people, who believed him to be simply obsessed with precious metals.

Maraduk himself guided his miners’ efforts. Through his visions and dreams he believed he was able to sense the direction of Bulmur’s corpse. When his visions told him to go a different way, he blamed it on misdirection from evil spirits or Bulmur’s enemies.

So did king Maraduk find the divinity he was looking for? That is hard to say, for the dwarves all disappeared one night and have not been seen since. Could they still be alive, deep within the caves, cursed to dig for eternity? Or maybe there was some truth in Maraduk’s madness… only one way to find out.

The caves themselves are made of part natural, part dug tunnels and caves. There is no wind to carry smells and no light, not even holders for torchs. Ancient stalactites hang from the ceiling alongside blind bats. Sound carries extremely far within the complex and all sorts of sounds and noises from hidden creatures can be heard from time to time. Of course, not all the beings in the caves make noise.

The first few rooms in the complex, which are located in the west, contain furniture such as beds, chests, chairs, tables and desks. It’s possible that some of the dwarves kept journals or logs of their days deep in the caves, perhaps even some unsent letters.

To the northwest lies the den of an ancient and strong creature. It has been feeding itself on all sorts of cave dwelling creatures for hundred of years, but it might just catch a sniff of some new and better tasting blood…

Some of the natural cave openings contain walls within them. These could be used by a smart adventuring party in order to gain strategic advantage over whichever horrors lie in the depths. On the other hand, the creatures that inhabit the caves are probably experts at using them to surround and capture their prey.

Rremains of the dwarves’ passage – mining tools, ropes and other equipment – can be found strewn around the place.

If adventurers were to head really deep into the caves, far to the east, they might start hearing a loud reverberating sound – like a beating heart – and they would start feeling as if someone was observing them. Whether it’s a cave dweller or something.. bigger, they will have to find out.