The Sikk'et Hul
D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
How to run a campaign in the Sikk'et Hul
Over the years of being involved in Dragonlance one of the questions that comes up again and again is "Where can I run a campaign in the Age of Mortals?" Now many of us are aware of the wonderful trilogy that Cam Banks wrote in battling Frost, but where else can you find adventure that feels like a campaign. For the last few weeks we on the Adventure Portal team have been outlining areas and events in Ergoth that are ripe for it. In Northern Ergoth the chance for a running a campaign in the Age of Mortals is endless.
Where Can I Run This Campaign?
There are countless locations that you could begin your adventure in. In the capital of Gwynned you could begin with making contacts with relic seekers, go the route of scouting for the military or you could head out to explore the region of Sikk'er Hul. This region is an uncharted and undocumented place. What lies here is a chance for a great campaign for someone who understands its history.
History of Sikk'et Hul
The region known as Sikk'et Hul has a rich history dating back to well before the Cataclysm. In the Age of Dreams this land was once lush and green. It was home to a civilization that has long since been forgotten and its ruins still dot the landscape to this day. At this time the land was teaming with life and was far from the harsh lands that it has become.
The landscape was much different during this period as a small forest grew on the southern parts of the Sentinel Mountains connecting the woods on both sides of the mountain. The cities teaming in this part of were built of stone from the mountains and were sprawling in size. Roads connected the towns in the area and large farms dotted the rich fertile soil.
All of this changed during the Second Dragon War when this part of the world became a footnote in history. During the war the land became a focal point for two feuding nations. It is unsure of what caused the conflict but it was limited to this area and was extremely intense.
Near the end of the Second Dragon War the conflict became even more deadly as both sides resorted to total war. The amount of damage done will never be known but the viciousness of the fights pushed the conflict into a turning point of annihilation. This war was only concluded by a chance release of raw, wild magic that decimated the area.
The wave of magic that struck the Southern tip of the Sentinel Mountains was part of the magic released during the war, but the damage it did to the area was severe. Whole cities were toppled and disappeared, the forest that was at the base of the Sentinels in the south was gone, not a single tree stood. The people of the land were also gone, presumably buried as miles of dirt flew into the area and resettled onto the area.
This wouldn't be the only event to strike this area that would eventually become known as Sikk'et Hul. In the years post the Second Dragon Wars this land would fall under the rule of Ergoth and once again be resettled. Towns and roads were laid atop of those that had been buried, all too unknown settlers who built homes and farms on the fertile lands.
These lands would eventually be given to goblin tribes as they proved difficult to govern given their distance from Ergoth. Also the goblins would serve as an effective barrier against any Solamnic invasion force. The towns were abandoned once again in the region and slowly the lands that were once settled were dragged back into the wild.
The next major change in the area came with the Cataclysm as it changed the face of the lands. In the years leading up to this event the lands in this area had been hit by a major drought. The once fertile land lay exposed by the brutal sun and wind, and slowly was turning into a barren wasteland. When the world shook from the fiery mountain, the lands found it suffering from earthquakes that resulted in it becoming a coastline.
When the dust settled the once pristine land was barren and parts of it had become a desert. The ruins of former towns and cities in the area had disappeared under the lands and the years of survival the residents forgot about their existence. Goblins in the area eked out a living from the land and had to become very knowledgeable about survival.
The land would once again be forgotten until Emperor Mercadior Redic VI decided to reclaim the lands for the exploding population of Ergoth. As the first scouts traveled into this area they discovered that the rumors they had heard for years were true. Even as far back as the War of the Lance as people pursued the remnants of the Black Dragonarmy there were whispers of great ruins in this land.
These rumors were confirmed as adventurers in the area discovered not only one layer but several layers of ruins sprawling under many parts of the land. The stories tell of passages that lead to other sites located under the waters of the Sirrion Sea. These ruins do not lie empty as many have already been claimed by a variety of people. Descendants of the former Black Dragonarmy settled into the southern ruins, while goblins inhabit many of them in the north. There are also rumors of other creatures living in these places.
So What Can I do With This?
The chance of taking a group into this region and playing without a plan will ultimately lead a DM into difficulty. With so much land that is uncharted a DM must step up and decide what lies where and why. Are there many ruins? Are they sprawling? Are there layers of cities and towns on top of each other?
These questions once answered can help fill in many of the missing links. Combine those answers with the history of this region, you can create a great campaign in which you can take players into what Dragonlance also has been, a rediscovery of what has been lost. Who were these people that battled each other, what caused the magic wave, what was the goblin civilization like prior to the Cataclysm? Many questions that you as a DM decide the answers and where to take to the players.
Southern Ruins: These ruins all are similar in structure in shape. A successful history check will put the building into years prior to the Cataclysm. The buildings are all laid out in a similar fashion and seem to be built with defense in mind. If you find an entrance into this underground caverns that contain the different ruins of the area. The ruins are small settlements and the contents are usually of nothing remarkable, unfortunately though these settlements aren't empty. The descendants of the Black Dragonarmy settles into these caves and caverns to escape the defeat by the Ergothian army in the closing days of the War of the Lance.
The Tomb of the Weeping Woman: This tomb is located in the eastern portion and was discovered by the first scouts to enter the area. What appears to be a simple underground tomb was actually a complex underground maze that has never been fully explored. In the tomb there are writings that are from a lost language, but the drawings on the walls provide some clues to the contents of the maze. It is said that strange creatures live in those tunnels and few who have ventured in have returned alive.
The Crack: In the north there lies a crack that opens the ground; it is believed that this happened during the Cataclysm. The crack travels down several miles and the top of it is inhabited by a fierce tribe of goblins who have lived there for centuries. Deeper down lays older ruins of strangely shaped buildings, these buildings are similar to other discovered ruins in the area, but their purposes are a mystery. Many of the buildings found in the lower levels of the crack appear to have been involved in a great battle.
Black Dragonarmy: This force has lived in the southern ruins for almost 80 years undetected. With their defeat in Ergoth the army had no chance of escape and what remained of the command led them into the wastelands. Here they expected to die as they were harassed by goblins who did not want competition for the precious resources.
It was a stroke of luck that they discovered the Southern Ruins. Settling in the ruins was difficult but overtime the army has grown, with raids on border settlements to the area the group was able to get needed supplies and people. The organization of the Black Dragonarmy has stayed the same, as the current Highlord rules his divisions spread throughout the ruins. While not seeking outside attention the group has turned its attention to exploring the strange ruins and going under the waters of the Sirrion Sea.
Goblin Tribes: There are countless goblin tribes in the area. Some of the tribes are considered friendly to outsiders curious perhaps by their close proximity to Hylo. Other tribes have become increasingly aggressive as resources in the land are scarce. These tribes are cunning often inviting in strangers and then robbing them. With the recent push by the military into this area the goblins have become even more aggressive to outsiders.
Bakali: Deep under the maze that lies beneath the Weeping Woman's tomb lies a long forgotten race. These creatures patrol the maze to eliminate any threat to their homes below. It is unknown what exactly lies beneath the maze, but the Bakali defend it with a viciousness that makes even the most courageous fighter think twice.
You have been given the information here to create a campaign in the wasteland of Sikk'et Hul. Here is a land of outpost of Ergothian soldiers, lost civilizations, dangers from the deep, tribes of goblins and those thought defeated. It is ripe with adventure searching for the forgotten cities and the lost history of the region. What once was here, how did it fall and is there another magical wave building threatening the land again.......
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