Instruments: Full Set RPG Dice
The Buried Tower is a map-making exploration game where you start in a cavern deep below the ground and journey up through the tower to the surface, discovering how it got there in the first place
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Word Count: 2,125 Played: Nov 26, 2021
Roll: 5 Fire Breathing
Name: Dikarya she/they
Why are you here?
Roll: 3; To learn powerful secrets
Tunnels and pathways allowing quick travel
The first thing Dikarya discovered on their journey into the Buried Tower was the set of intricate tunnels and stairwells. They lead into the upper, darker parts of the tower and allowed for quick access to all parts. They took a note of it on their map in case they needed a quick escape later.
Dikarya found several large windows made of a clear hard substance. They knew what glass was, but this wasn’t it, or at least wasn’t made of the same material. She couldn’t see very far out into the cavern since they were only on the first floor, but they could make out the black trees from the forest nearby.
She decided to take the winding stairs up to the next level, but heard a tinkling laugh calling down the hallway. They froze in place as the laughter got closer and closer until she could see tiny little creatures which stood no higher than her knee.
They had long gangly limbs, pointed ears and pitch black eyes. They carried a small dead wolf-like creature tied to a pole.
Dikarya had only heard stories of the fae elves and knew not to approach such dangerous creatures. It was rare that fairy connected down in the caverns, but not unheard of. They remained hidden in the shadows, watching as they laughed and carried their prey down the twisted corridors and out of sight.
They would have to take a different route to the next level.
Roll: 20 Identifiable skeletons - who were they?
Dikarya entered into a long, wide room with large pillars wider than six people stretching out in all directions. They stepped lightly on the broken, tiled floor and wandered out into the open.
She only paused when she spotted the remains of a long dead mage. The skeleton was picked clean but still had it’s robes and bag with it. They knelt down and rummaged through their belongings. Anything of value, money, provisions, weapons, had already been looted from the corpse. The only thing she could find was a small diary detailing their adventure in the tower.
It listed names and cities and places she had never heard of and quickly came to the conclusion that they must have been to the surface. They kept the journal in case it had anything useful for them in the future and took a few of the smaller bones from the body. Mage bones could be quite valuable.
Roll: 2, a warped and mutated giant beast
Far in the distance she heard it. The click-clack of claws on the tile floor echoed throughout the empty chamber.
Dikarya looked all around before they spotted it: a large beast, longer than it was wide, with protruding spine bones and too many limbs. It spotted her at the same time and howeld a high pitched whine before charging straight at her.
They ran as fast as they could, weaving in and out of the columns, looking for a stairwell up. She ran back the way she had come but the room seemed endless and the beast was on their heels.
The room shifted and warped around her and she couldn’t tell how far she was from any wall, or any door and could feel the hot breath of the monster on her neck.
She gave up trying to find an exit and instead lept on the nearest column that had vines clinging to it. It was strong enough to hold her weight and she climbed and climbed until the beast was below her.
It circled round and round the column, unable to reach her. She was up there for an hour before the beast finally left to pursue other prey.
Roll: 18: An Item of importance, what?
When Dikarya returned to the floor she noticed a small carpet leading towards the center of the room. It led up to a round table nearly 50 feet long, made of thick and broken stone. Everything had been stripped clean by previous looters except the table itself.
The surface was bare, but around the edges was carved, in elegant script, a message written in a language Dikarya didn’t know. They imagined the great feasts and discussions that once took place at this table and wrote down a piece of the script that seemed to repeat around the edges.
Roll: 14 A broken Shrine
The third floor was littered in broken altars and icons. Some of which Dikarya recognized, some of which they didn’t. They were for old gods, new gods, dead gods, and forgotten gods.
They walked around the area passing by temples and broken archways, peeking in doors and finding nothing but rubble before they came across one that glittered in the light.
The tower was lit by an unknown source, as if daylight were pouring through the windows, even though it was buried deep underground. A beam of light shone down upon an altar made of gold.
It was an intricately made table, plated with gold and every inch covered in a filigree of plants,
animals, and swirles.
Ontop, resting on a pillow of red and satin, lay one single coin. Dikarya approached it and held it in their palm. They didn’t recognize the god or the symbol and flipped it over and over hoping it would reveal its secrets until she tasted the metal in their mouth and realized it was now in their stomach.
Roll: 3 Giant insects
Then they heard the chittering from above. A large moth, antennas longer than Dikarya’s body, and wings the size of a carriage, flapped its wings and looked directly at her.
She froze, looked down at the pillow, then up at the moth. It flapped its wings again before taking off and flying directly at her. They dove out of the way and under a table before scrambling to their feet and running down through the corridors of broken shrines.
They passed by holy items that held little value, and ran into the nearest open shrine, one to mother mountain, god of connections and passageways. They searched around and, as the domain would imply, they found a small hallway connecting to another portion of the floor, far away from the moth.
Roll: 19, a library of books and scrolls
Dikarya moved through the passageway and emerged in a large room covered in moldy books and ancient scrolls. Something in their gut told them none of them were of any monetary worth but still they searched for answers.
They looked and looked for hours upon the scrolls and diagrams for any secret that might reveal why the tower was here or any secret of the gods or magics.
Eventually they found a small, unassuming leather-bound book. They didn’t know how it was they knew, but their gut told them this one, this was the only book worth looking at. It had immense value and before they knew what they were doing, they had ripped the first page from the book and stuffed it into their gaping maw.
They stopped themselves and spat out the paper, but it was too late. It was nothing but a chunk of pulpy spit. They wanted the rest of it. They needed it, but were able to paw through it before the compulsion took over.
Roll: 2 A gravestone and inscription
They stopped at one page that depicted a small gravestone and an inscription that read “Died In The-Name for Glory”. They took that page and shoved it into their mouth. A forgotten gravestone to a priest of The-Name. This floor was built for The Sovereign Arbitrator but was infested with the shrines of other gods.
Roll: 15 A storehouse
The next level, the first building Dikarya found was an old storehouse. The door had rotted away and lay on the floor in pieces and she was able to step over them easily. Inside were supplies of all sorts. An old sledgehammer for breaking down walls, a small that cured a festering wound, crates and barrels filled to the brim with odds and ends she could use for her trip.
They moved a large crate to cover the door and used the room as a safehouse for a rest. She felt at peace for the moment and dreamed of eating her fill of gold and riches.
4: Distinctive Arms and Armor
They continued exploring the floor when they awoke and found themselves in another room. This was an armory and though the metals were rusted and tarnished they could still see the emblem embossed on every piece. It was a simple crest depicting a flower with three petals and a sun in the center, the emblem of Tagrial, a nation on the surface.
They checked the book they had found on the first floor and found no mention of the place. Neither a city, nor a nation, nor anything else resembling the name.
Dikarya pondered this as they found themselves nibbling on the hilt of a silver dagger.
Roll: 14 A mimic pretending to be furniture
They proceeded down the winding corridors past the buildings that all bore the same crest. They weaved in and around, looking for anything of importance, but their gut was telling them all was useless.
Eventually they came upon a well. Their water skins weren’t dry but they didn’t know when they would next have the chance to fill them.
They approached it and leaned over the side with a torch to see if there was still water. They felt the stones under their hand shift and move as they almost tumbled into the bottom. They grabbed on tight to the rope and bucket as it began to flail around.
The well itself moved and thrashed around trying to get them to fall into its open mouth. Dikarya kicked at the stones as they clung on tight and swung themselves back and forth trying to get their feet over the edge.
The well thrashed and gnashed under them and they kicked away more stones into its depths before their feet touched solid ground and they were able to slither out of its grasp.
They ran for the nearest building and scurried on top of the roof away from that thing.
It continued to circle around the building, hoping she would fall, but like the long beast below, she waited and eventually it left.
She wondered how many more of the buildings and items here were really alive. Did this town, did the nation succumb to whatever made these things alive?
A piece of shared myth
Finally when they felt safe, Dikarya left the roof of the building and returned to the floor. They were more cautious about what was around them and poked and prodded each thing in front of her with a long stick she had found.
They wandered throughout the city for hours before they came across a large imposing building. It was a castle in the dead center of the floor and it’s doors were flung open wide like a gaping maw.
They kicked, prodded and shoved at the walls before determining that all was still and dead before entering inside.
They walked into a great hall with a tall spiraling staircase and a fresco depicting the tower.
Roll: 10 Magically grown down
It showed people on the surface under the sun, planting crops and one person discovering a pit.
They travel down one floor and find a room filled with treasures and goods.
More and more people go into the room and soon it is emptied. Then a second layer appeared below the first.
Again more and more people ventured down below.
Eventually people come to live in the tower, and it provides for them what they want.
More and more people, more and more layers.
The last picture on the wall depicted a raging cloud covering the land and an artistic impression of a vile face.
How long had that skeleton been down here? Was there still a surface?
They paused and thought of the notebook. Then found they had been chipping away with their fingers and eating what remained of the paint.
How ironic the secrets they were hoping to find ended up being a curse upon themselves.