Dungeons & Dragons Online

Domain of Dread – Ironheap, a Domain of Rust and Ruination

Hi, I made a domain of dread for a competition on the ravenloft subreddit, and thought I should share it here, too. Here's the GMBinder link: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-Mb9N_9XZ0z6ZOyyiTNw

This is also one of my first posts on reddit so sorry if anything is formatted incorrectly (though I'm pasting from GMBinder which also uses markdown, so it should be fine).

Ironheap

Domain of Rust and Ruination

Darklord: Gerlaph Feirstein
Genres: Disaster horror and eco-horror
Hallmarks: Rusted refuse, unstable inventions, pollution, vehicular combat
Mist Talismans: Rusted metal scrap, broken magic item, withered rust monster antenna

Ironheap is a massive, square, artificial island floating in a dark ocean, titanic chains tethering it to some unknown landmass beyond the mists. While the original island was cleanly metallic and completely flat, countless years being used as a dump for scrap metal, failed projects, and disenchanted magical items has created jagged hills of iron and steel.

The domain's dreadlord, Gerlaph Feirstein is an enigmatic, scatterbrained gnome whose self-made pollutants have warped his mind. After his ideas went too far and his world paid the consequences, he was cursed to constantly build new inventions and perpetuate the corrupting fumes that envelope his domain.

Natives of this domain live dangerous but carefree lives, building new methods of destruction and transportation while scavenging parts from the pests and forgotten constructs that have come to inhabit the domain's valleys of twisted metal.

Noteworthy Features

Those familiar to Ironheap know the following facts:

  • An enigmatic inventor within the center of the domain produces the majority of the material that comprises the land's odd terrain, seemingly having an endless source of metal.
  • Locations that are unnaturally clean are to be avoided, home to roaming oozes.
  • Those who inhabit the domain are split into gangs, vying for territory and resources while moving through the land on ramshackle war machines.
  • Magical smog, an extension of the mists, often sweeps through the domain, leading natives to have dangerous bouts of "inspiration" and polluting magical effects in strange ways.
  • Though the natives are drawn to invention, nothing built ever lasts in Ironheap.

Settlements and Sites

Fragdrive

The largest town in Ironheap, built into the remains of a mechanical purple worm, Fragdrive is constantly battled over by the various warring gangs. The current gang in control of the town are the Scrap-Slicers, led by a vicious chaotic evil ettin named Three-Daggers. Fragdrive is also the town where the majority of Ironheap's war machines are built and maintained, and resulting in constant upgrades and repairs amidst the ever-shifting gang warfare of the town.

Irota

Irota is a small fishing town on one of the edges of Ironheap. Looked after by a neutral good spring eladrin named Thesadora Purebloom who wandered into the domain long ago and committed herself to eliminating the pollution of the surrounding ocean. Though her colors have since bleached and she has begun to lose hope, Thesadora works to cure the locals' injuries and polluted fish while maintaining a small sanctuary of magically preserved plantlife.

The Chimney

Gerlaph's workshop in the center of Ironheap, a large cylindrical structure fitted with machinery and forges. A huge column of toxic smoke billows from the top of the factory. Gerlaph can't leave his workshop, and those that return come back ill and with rumors of machine servants arriving and departing with hunks of scraps.

The Rumblemound

A large dome erected in a zone cleared by oozes, the Rumblemound is an arena that houses huge tournaments of gladiatorial combat, with matches that consist of volunteers or oozes. The Rumblemound is owned by a gang called the Grappleshots, led by a surprisingly resilient chaotic neutral kobold mage named Tinnitus, who was cursed with a constant ringing in his ears after one of his ooze-related experiments blew up in his face. He has the following adjustments:

  • He has the sunlight sensitivity trait.
  • He has 60 feet of darkvision.
  • He has disadvantage on all Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing.

Ironheapish CharactersWhile the domain is mostly populated by rock gnomes, a healthy amount of dwarves, kobolds, humans, and more make their home here. The people usually wear scrap metal armor and have optimistic personalities, with a diet of sickly fish from the ocean or foul pests from the metal hills. When players create characters from Ironheap, ask them the following questions.What was your occupation in the rusted realm? Were you an inventor creating new contraptions from scavenged scrap? A member of a gang or even an ooze-wrangler?How has the smog affected you? Do you have coughing fits when you stress yourself too much? Has your skin taken on a gray hue, or even received a Dark Gift due to the concentrated magical energies?What was your weirdest experience in Ironheap? Did you witness a thin sheet of metal cleave a gelatinous cube in two? A war machine's engine explode into terrific, colorful flames?

Gerlaph Feirstein

A prestigious inventor in his home city, Gerlaph amazed the known world with his innovative designs. As his fame grew, so too did his collection of discarded prototypes and the polluting emissions from his workshop.

The humanitarian that he is, Gerlaph went to work drafting a huge artificial island to be set off the coast of his city, secured by chains. Not only would he have a place to store his discarded inventions, but the entire city would be able to utilize a network of portals to put their trash onto the island. Still unsatisfied, Gerlaph decided to establish a series of portals connecting the island to every major city in the continent – no, the world!

However, Gerlaph's portals required energy. Blinded by his ambition, he devises a terrifying factory, powered by dismantling magical items, with the potential to befoul his entire world.

As Gerlaph secured the chains, and the industrial smog begun billowing out of his workshop, the Dark Powers whisked him and the island away, creating the Domain of Dread known as Ironheap.

Gerlaph's Powers and Dominion

While Gerlaph isn't physically powerful by any means, his power lies in his unstable inventions. His statistics are that of a commoner, with the addition of his gnomish racial traits, an intelligence of 18, and immunity to poison damage.

Magical Invention. As an action, Gerlaph can produce a magical item with a rarity of rare or lower. If the item requires attunement, he is automatically attuned to it. These magical inventions retain their magic for 1 minute, before becoming mundane and turning to rust.

Closing the Borders. When Gerlaph closes the borders of Ironheap, the mists extend outward from his workshop, covering the entire domain in a magical smog, detailed in the "Smog of Ironheap" section. Those who attempt to venture into the ocean or across the chains attached to the island find themselves affected in the same way as how the Mists function in other domains.

Gerlaph's Torment

Though Gerlaph has long since realized the folly in his machinations, he is cursed by the following circumstances:

  • He must keep creating inventions.
  • The magic of any item he creates will fade, and add to pollution of the domain.
  • Nothing ever lasts in Ironheap, instead turning to rust or toxic smog.
  • He cannot leave his workshop, or attempt to help the people living on Ironheap in anyway.

Roleplaying Gerlaph

Gerlaph's smog-addled mind constantly switches between crazed inventor and genuine remorse.

Personality Traits. I have trouble staying focused on one thing for too long, and it is the cause of constant frustration.

Ideal. Any problem can be solved through iterative and innovative design.

Bond. I'm deeply remorseful for my actions that led me to this place.

Flaw. I'm oblivious to the fact that the more I create, the more I destroy.

Adventures in Ironheap

Ironheap provides a fantastic setting for post-apocalyptic-esque adventures, ranging from intense war machine battles or moments of respite in the strange beauty found in the metal wasteland. The unique location also provides plenty of opportunities for unique monsters that may not fit in among other domains – such as monstrosities like rust monsters, oozes like gelatinous cubes, and constructs like corpse collectors. The horror of this domain isn't just found in its denizens, but of the decay and ruin of the surroundings, and the mystery of the magical smog that enshrouds the domain. The Ironheap Adventures table suggests a number of potential adventures a party could be involved in.

Ironheap Adventures

d10Adventure
1An eccentric fellow from Fragdrive pleads with the party to recover a magical heirloom of his that he misplaced the last time he was at the Rumblemound – near the ooze pits.
2The party is requested by a struggling merchant to escort his scrap-cart through the wastes, after his last two shipments were stolen by war machine gangs.
3Thesadora Purebloom of Irota seeks aid from the party once her small collection of plants start withering.
4Members of the Grappleshot gang invite the party to a ooze-wrangling competition, forgetting to mention the recent influx of gelatinous cubes.
5The party discovers a small area where the rusted junk has sunken into the ground a bit, digging further they discover a hole that leads to the inner-workings of Ironheap's main structure.
6The leader of a small gang in Fragdrive schemes to overthrow the Scrap-Slicers, and thinks the Chimney holds the power to do so.
7A smog-addled denizen of a small town in Ironheap leads a pack of hungry rust monsters back to his home, to catastrophic effect.
8An inventor achieves enough clarity to discover a way to turn the magical smog into clean air. Someone from in or outside the domain wishes to prevent the machine from activating, or the party realizes a disastrous side effect.
9A dangerously smog-addled inventor assaults Fragdrive with an army of constructed minions.
10The smog lashes out at the party while they're dealing with a different adventure, manifesting as a variety of living spells.

Smog of Ironheap

The magical smog of Ironheap that drifts from the center of the island is both a source of terror for its inhabitants as well as monumental inspiration. This is, of course, an effect of the smog to keep Gerlaph in a state of perpetual inventiveness, but it also leads to the destructive creations of unskilled denizens. Characters who take a long rest while Ironheap's smog hangs in the air receive inspiration, as detailed on page 35 of the Basic Rules, that lasts until their next long rest. While they have yet to use this inspiration, the characters are smog-addled – roll on the Smog-Addled Effects table for the effects the characters are afflicted with or come up with your own.

Smog-Addled Effects

d6Smog-Addled Effects
1The character is overcome by feelings of anger and hatred, which results in destructive or violent practices.
2The character becomes paranoid and will always consider its own safety over anything else.
3The character believes nothing to be real and has no tangible consequences, resulting in recklessness with no regard to the wellbeing of themselves or others.
4The character has extreme confidence, to the point they believe that they can achieve anything.
5The character has the intense need to help others, through invention or personal sacrifice.
6The character either loses their sense of humour or believes everything is hilarious.

An additional result of the magical smog, mixing with the dark forces of the Mists, is the potential for magic to go awry. Whenever a character casts a spell of 1st level or higher, or activates a magical item, while Ironheap's smog hangs in the air, an additional effect might occur. The character's player rolls a d10. If they roll a 1, roll on the Ironheap Wild Magic table to determine the effect. A magic item activated by Gerlaph always has an additional effect occur.

Ironheap Wild Magic

d20Effect
1Non-magical metal within 15 feet of you, that isn't being worn or carried, rusts and disintegrates instantaneously.
2An ooze chosen by the DM appears within 5 feet of you. This ooze isn't controlled by you, and will act according to its nature.
3Your skin turns purplish-gray and you gain resistance to poison damage for the next minute.
4For the next minute, you are under the effects of an enemies abound spell. As an action, you can make a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw, ending the effect on yourself an a success.
5Your hair shifts between vibrant, colorful hues for the next hour.
6Creatures within 5 feet of you, including yourself, take 4d6 poison damage.
7The edges of your body appears distorted and ethereal for 1 minute. During this time, you have advantage on Dexterity saving throws against non-magical effects.
8-12You fall to the ground in a coughing fit, falling prone and becoming incapacitated for 1d4 rounds.
13For 1 hour, every creature except you appears to be crudely built out of rusted metal.
14Your limbs become stretchy. For 1 minute, when you make a melee attack on your turn, your reach for it is 5 feet greater than normal.
15Your skin becomes slippery. For 1 minute, you have advantage on checks to escape from grapples, but you fall prone if you move more than 15 feet in a round.
16Your body becomes ooze-like. For 1 minute, you can squeeze through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide.
17Your hands become incredibly sticky. You have advantage on checks to make and maintain a grapple, and you gain a climbing speed of 30 feet.
18The next creature you hit with a spell or weapon is also pushed 30 feet away from you.
19Creatures within 30 feet of you roll a d6, taking 2d6 necrotic damage on an odd number or gaining 2d6 temporary hit points on an even number.
20You spontaneously combust, shedding bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. You take 1d6 fire damage at the start of each of your turns until the fire is doused.

Edit: Forgot the paragraph about Ironheap's Wild Magic before the table.

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