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298 Windbreaker

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Background Lore

Among humanoid races, elves are considered by many to be the pinnacle of ability. Their long lives allow them to excel in various disciplines and, therefore, achieve wondrous feats. One of the most popular discipline among elves is magic. Elves who become interested in magic have plenty of time to master their skills. Another factor that helps elves become experts is the little rest they need. Unlike humans, they can dedicate much more time in a day to any project, and keep on doing so for years and years.

Zalazar and Erwin have always been friends. They were born in Surinen, the city of winds. Surinen is an elf settlement founded in the Plains of the Morning Light. These plains are surrounded by a combination of hills and mountain slopes. This causes Surinen to be bathed with winds and air currents all throughout the year.

The two elves were always fascinated by magic. Since they were young, they specialized in levitation magic. They learned how to move objects lifting them from the ground, and when they grew older, they became researchers and inventors. Using runes and implementing manual mechanisms in objects, they developed torches and lamps that float beside their user, leaving both hands free. Later on, they created wooden carts that needed no wheels, liberating their user from the physical toll of pushing it all day while farming.

Surinen people became very fond of Zalazar and Erwin. They were very ambitious. They always tried to outdo themselves with the next formidable invention. One day, Zalazar managed to create a floating dollhouse for his daughter. This gave him the idea of a flying fortress. Zalazar did not tell Erwin about his idea until he had finished his blueprints and mechanics of what would be his life work. Zalazar wanted this project to be the greatest of all. He wished to show the world his greatness. His designs mentioned marble decorations, a gilded telescope, silken carpets, and more. His perception of the elven kind was sophisticated and opulent, thus he wanted to create a physical representation of it.

When Zalazar told Erwin about his project, the hardest part of the planning had already been done. Erwin was overwhelmed by his friend’s genius. He was more than glad to help him fulfill his dream and accomplish his objective. They both spent a decade developing and perfecting Windbreaker, the Flying Fortress. One of the most difficult ordeals was binding the air elementals they needed for their engines. Erwin was the one with better magical skills and it was he who managed to bind the elementals to his will. Once that was done, the rest was just a matter of time and dedication.

When they had finished, Windbreaker was a work of the gods. Their efforts were very well rewarded. The day the fortress took off, all in town cheered and waved. Zalazar and Erwin hired a ten-men crew to help them with maintenance and chores at the Fortress. However, it was Zalazar who took most of the credit for the original idea, and he made it clear. The main quarters and the fanciest room in the fortress were reserved for him.

Surinen became one of the most popular elven settlements. It has been about 25 years since Windbreaker reigns the skies. Zalazar and his crew roamed the skies and visited different places on the continent. They drew gasps of breath everywhere they went. While they had already become a local legend, little by little the rest of the cities and towns in the continent started to recognize Zalazar and his incredible floating castle.

Erwin felt left aside. He knew it was Zalazar who had come up with the whole idea and he recognized him as the brains of the team. But he could not leave aside the fact that it had been him who succeeded in developing the elemental-bound engines. Zalazar had the brains, but he had the muscle. He felt it was unfair for him to be forgotten while Zalazar basked in their glory. Erwin confronted Zalazar many times about this. He demanded recognition for his part of the job in creating Windbreaker.  Zalazar just told him to grow up and mature. In one of their most heated arguments, Erwin told Zalazar that he would find his own means to become more powerful, and that he would regret stealing all the glory.

A couple of weeks later, Zalazar went to the library to do some reading. He stumbled upon a ritual book to summon beings from outer planes. When he asked Erwin about it, he just told him to mind his own business.

Erwin was true to his word. One day, when they were back in Surinen, Erwin locked himself in his room in the fortress, and he tried to perform a ritual to summon an ancient elvish god. His intended to ask him for more intelligence and magical skills. He thought that if he had Zalazar’s abilities, everybody would acknowledge his genius as well. The ritual went wrong, and not only could he not get the abilities he wanted, but a rip in the fabric of the planes opened and a demonic entity came forth. This dark abyssal beast ended Erwin’s life on the spot. The demon did not take long to kill most of the crew. Zalazar heard the screams and grunts of pain from his comrades in time. When he left the main deck to see what was going on, he was stopped by a glabrezu, a four-armed wicked monster. The demon laughed at him while showing off his huge pincers. Through telepathy, he mocked Zalazar and his kin. He asked him if he also wanted to become more powerful, like his pathetic friend who summoned him.

Knowing he could not defeat the monster alone; he escaped the fortress throwing himself offboard. He was hundreds of feet from the ground but he used his magic to avoid any harm from the fall and ran to alert his kin.

Surinen was saddened to hear the news. Zalazar knew deep inside him that he had been selfish with his life-long friend. He suspected Erwin tried to make a deal with a demon to acquire more power and failed. He now lives frustrated and upset. He regrets his attitude towards Erwin and he is looking for someone to help him recover his life work. He wants to redeem himself by recovering Windbreaker, where he would like to build a monument in honor of his former friend.

Area Descriptions

1. Courtyard

A red fancy carpet with two gold line patterns lies on the floor. Two braziers flank the double doors. Various flower pots fill the room with a fresh air scent. Two window boxes for plants and bushes decorate the left and right of the entrance.

2. Altar

There is a jade structure in the shape of a prism in the middle of the room. It is an altar to Surinen people.  Suri, the Jade God, they would call him. A few marble statues have a cold lifeless stare. A gold-plated statue sits opposite to the marble ones. The desk leaning to the wall has documents and papers in elvish.

3. Erwin’s Room

The engineer for the flying fortress had his own room. A single bed, a small table, and a wooden chest are all the furniture in the room. A couple of flower pots with small bonsai-style trees a few feet away from the bed. A red carpet partially under the bed decorates the somewhat empty room. This place has been infested with quasits. Eight of them swarm upon anybody who enters. Erwin’s magic circle is still drawn on the floor as evidence of his failure. 

4. Kitchen

A long table fills a great part of the room. Animal carcasses and spoiled food are scattered all over. The kitchen reeks of rot and death. A successful DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character tofind some rations of dried fruits and meat jerkies. Any food in the kitchen can also be cleansed with a purify food and drink spell.

Any character who eats any of the food without purifying it must make a successful DC 14 Constitution saving throw to avoid becoming poisoned for an hour.                  

5. Workshop

A long wooden table features different tools and knives. Some wooden boxes on the floor suggest they were used as chairs, regardless of their contents. The furnace is not lit. It exudes a burnt charcoal smell. There is a 10-feet iron bar cell next to the furnace.

6. Zalazar’s Quarters

The Windbreaker owner had his own quarters here. There is a double bed with red velvet quilts and animal skins. One of the tables has the remains of a delicate incense bar. A couple of chairs with red leather covering make a good combination with the bed’s quilts and blankets. A successful DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to find the key to the treasure room (Area 13).

7. Prison Cells

There are a couple of 15-feet wide prison cells in this dark cold chamber. There are no braziers, torches, nor lamps on the two tables. The room is in complete darkness.

8. Crew’s Quarters

The room features eight double bunk beds, a circular table, and four wooden chairs. A wooden chest lies by one bed. A successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character tofind silver and gold trinkets in the chest and under some mattresses. Collectively, they worth 200 gold pieces.

9. Main Lobby

Since Windbreaker was meant to be a reminder of how pompous and extravagant elves might come to be, the purpose of this huge lobby was precisely that. Hanging silks and overstuffed pillows liven up this immense lounge.  An almost 50-feet-long clover-shaped pool dominates the room. The glabrezu’s bodyguard is here. A hezrou demon guards the entrance to the Main Deck.

10. Machine Rooms

Two identical rooms at each side of the fortress contain the machinery with which Windbreaker stays aloft. Ancient elvish magic binds air elementals to the two engines. Some of the engine components are inlaid with magical runes that keep the binding spell together. Physical damage to the engine components may cause the spell to fail and the air elementals to escape and become hostile to any non-elemental creature present.

11. Main Deck

Zalazar spent most of this time in here. The rudder wheel has its own ornated seat. Two braziers on each side of the main controls can light the room properly. An enormous compass in the center of the controls helps stir the Fortress in the right direction. The demon used the remnants of the elves to create his own wicked crew. He merged the bodies of four elves into one large undead with four arms (ogre zombie). Six other zombies roam the deck as well.

12. Grand Library

This was the observatory and library Zalazar often visited. Shelves bursting with books and tomes are in the center of the place. Tools and open tomes crowd tabletops. A huge gilded telescope points to a large window by the south wall. The library has a foul smell, like that of a rotting corpse. Blood marks all over the floor suggest the use of necromancy. Lines of dried crimson blood end all in the same direction. The glabrezu hides in here. He uses his telepathy to play with the mind of his opponents and frighten them. Two great double doors at the end of the library block the way to the treasure room (Area 13). A successful DC 18 Strength (Athletics) check allows a character to force open the doors.

13. Treasure Room

A blue squared carpet in the center of the chamber holds a mountain of piled treasure here. Thousands of gold pieces lie still. Gems and gold trinkets stumbled over the vast treasure. Marble statues similar to the ones at the studio staring at all those who trespass the entrance. The blood marks continue their path here, staining everything in their way. Chests, boxes, statues, and gold pieces are all stained in some way. The source of all the blood is the lifeless body of Erwin. Gutters and body parts are all over. Fingers and bones depict demonic runes and symbols on the walls. There is a phrase in abyssal on the wall written with blood which says: “Is this enough power for you, elvish maggot?”

General Features

Doors. Windbreaker features wooden doors with simple locks. Double doors are inlaid with stone and marble finishing. Glossy varnishing gives a fancy look to all single doors.

Fortress. Windbreaker is now permanently aloft at a height of one-thousand-feet. It has been flying in circles for many moons. It stays above Surinen, drawing a circle in the sky. Zalazar’s idea to get into the fortress again is flying to it using hippogriffs.

Engines. Both machine rooms can be sabotaged. A successful DC 18 Intelligence check allows a character to understand how the engines work and bust them. Failing this check might cause the air elemental to escape and attack.

Rudder Wheel. The main deck is now in a sort of auto-pilot mode. A successful DC 18 Intelligence check gives any character the opportunity to manipulate the controls. One check is enough to maneuver the fortress. Any character that successfully moves Windbreaker can attempt to repeat the check to land near Surinen. Failing the check to land means the fortress crashes on the ground and destroys part of the city.

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Published by Derek Von Zarovich
I am a D&D and GURPS player and DM since 2000. I enjoy reading fantasy and sci-fi books. Recently I started writing and creating my own content. I love to share what I write.

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