Tower of Roses
A background and short adventure for d20 fantasy RP. Suitable for one night of play for low level characters.
Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a beautiful princess who lived in a tower of glass. She was all alone, without any human friends. She was waited on hand and foot by a small army of wind up golems, but none of them had a soul, and none of them could speak.Then one day a handsome prince came to the tower, and saw the princess as she leaned out over her balcony. He called out to her, but she was afraid of the sound of his voice, and ran into her room and shut the door.
So the prince decided that he had to woo her. But first he had to get into the tower, which had no doors. So he got rope from his saddle bags and a grappling hook as well, he tossed it up to the balcony, and begin to climb.
While the prince climbed up the princess hid in her room, her heart hammering. While she liked the look of the prince, was drawn to his beauty and to the fact that he had a soul, she found him too loud. Far too loud.
So the prince finally got up to the balcony and begin to call out to the princess. Loud and long he proclaimed his love for her, and she put her hands to her ears to try and hold out the noise. She even opened her door and tried to shush him, waving her hands to make him be quieter. But the prince did not pay attention, he simply spoke louder and louder.... Finally the princess could take no more. She rushed forward to the prince, and tried to clamp her hands over his mouth to make him be silent. But when she bumped him it upset his balance and he fell the long way back to the ground.
His blood spilled out over the ground, and soaked into the dry dirt. The princess, aghast at what she had done, ran back into her room and closed the door.
The next year, when the memory of the prince was starting to fade, roses grew out of the place where he had died. Red as his blood they too climbed the tower to reach the princess. They too spoke to her of love with their red and beautiful blossoms. But unlike the prince they were wise enough to be silent. So the princess gathered them up, held them to her heart, and loved them all the days of her life.
Many years later another prince found the princess, who had died in her bed. Her skeleton was wrapped about with the vines of blooming roses, which loved her even after her death.
The Princess’s Tower makes a good moody location for a low level (3rd ish) dungeon crawl. PCs could have gone their for any number of reasons, from being sent by descendants of the Princess’s House to get her signet ring, to being driven in by the rain, to simply doing the old “hack and treasure loot” bit. In the latter case the DM should probably arrange for their to be a suitable treasure to be found. (A Phylactery of Faithfulness beside the Princess’s bed, for example, or a ring of feather fall upon her finger.) If in your party there is a thief or perhaps a bard amongst you. Options for more treasure may be revealed. In the form of Jewels embedded around the gas fireplace.
The tower itself is a simple shell tower, about 50 feet around. It had no doors originally, but time may have opened up some small and unstable entrances near the ground level. At that level the interior of the tower has a kitchen with a vast hearth, a small dining room, and stairs winding up to the top of the tower. There is a floor with a library and a sewing room in the middle, and then the princess’s rooms on top. The tower can also be reached through the balconies, which are about 70 feet off the ground. They open into the princess’s sitting quarters, and her room makes the final level above them. In the sitting quarters the first princes corpse of petrified rotten flesh rises splits itself in half and somehow balancing himself using his entrails like tentacles. A critical hit delivered by this fiend results in a two turn counter to instant death.
The Princess’s golems, of which there are about a dozen still in repair, are not immediately hostile. However, if anyone tries to take anything or enter the princess’s private rooms at the top floor they will move to defend. They’re small clockwork constructs with the following basic stats: Hit Dice 1 (5 hit points), Initiative +1 (Dex), Speed 30 ft, AC 14 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +2 natural), Attacks: Slam +1 melee, Damage 1d6, Special: DR 4, Saves: Fort +0, Ref +1, Will -1, Str 10, Dex 12, Con -, Int 10, Wis 8, Chr -. They are constructs and thus immune to critical hits, mind control effects, poison etc, etc.
The roses around the Princess’s body are an Assassin Vine that lives in symbiosis with the golems. They, still thinking they feed the princess, really feed it. To really mess with things make the roses vampiric Assassin Vines, giving them the Blood and Energy Drain abilities of Vampire.
The Princess herself is the most potent threat in the tower. Her soul is trapped there still, having no place to go and no reason to leave the roses that loved her so. Any sufficiently loud noise in the tower will wake her and cause her to panic, lashing out blindly to try and stop the dreadful din. In her own bed-chamber even soft noises may wake her. She’s a Ghost based on a 2nd level human aristocrat, but in addition to all the normal ways of defeating such a creature she can be calmed with silence that lasts for several rounds, or perhaps with a gift of flowers. A bard using bardic knowledge could find this out with a DC 20 check, or someone could use Knowledge: History or Knowledge: Nobility with a DC 25 check. These penalties should, of course, be reduced if the PCs know the story of the tower.