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Sunless Citadel


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I recently was stuck on vacation with little to read. I did have a copy of Sunless Citadel. Occasionally I like to take modules and BRPize them. So that’s what I did. Granted, I didn’t have a lot of my other material with me so stats will follow. If you please, the following are my notes on how I would run SC in BRP

I should make clear my biases here. My first games were the RC version of D&D and T&T. Other games followed. I’ve had plenty of time in a dungeon environment and that sort of play bores me a bit. My own personal rules are that the PCs are heroes and can do heroic things, combat is an option but not default, combat should be really quick (because it bores me), nothing is true until the dice hit the table and that everyone is having fun, including me.

Sunlight Citadel was published 17 years ago… excuse me, 18 years ago. I’m going to spoil everything.

Once upon a time there was this fortress that had a group of elves that were some sort of a draconic cult. A dragon attacked and rent the earth asunder and the fortress sank into a chasm. Parts of the buildings were preserved because of magic protection stuff.

Today a tribe of goblins and a tribe of kobolds live in the ruins. There’s a deeper twist with an evil druid. I can work with this!

Here are the issues:

1. The map is crap. Throw it out. It’s a dungeon in which the kobolds and goblins operate in a single building. It looks nothing like a citadel, rather it is an offspring of Miyamoto’s ‘Legend of Zelda’ design. The point is to move the player from room to room, not to represent what a sunken citadel might actually look like.

2. The town and the new creature set up is crap. No real foreshadowing or room for the PCs to explore. In my mind, these are key to get the players interested in going on and to deal with the fall out of the completion of the adventure.

My Preferred playing style.

I’m an Elric! kid. Combat over 100% and dicing for criticals. I’m also of the school in which all BRP is basically compatible. Please take for granted the fact that even though RuneQuest was named before BRP it is a ruleset that the term BRP encompasses. I know. Totally edgy.

My own home-brew game is influenced by many sources. I try to give my players a bunch of options while keeping my side of the screen as simple as possible. I use a sorcery and demon summoning similar to Elric!/Corum, a Wizardry system similar to Classic Fantasy, the Psychic system from the BGB, Elemental Paths from Mongoose and a Druid/Shaman system from RQ.

I also use an alchemical system that is semi vague right now and my tickets and named objects system that I’ve posted on these boards.

Who wants to go into the Sunless Citadel?

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Are  you taking from the original or from Tales from the Yawning Portal? I do not think there is much (if any) difference in the versions other than one is for 3e and one is for 5e. 

I have run it and played in it and feel it is an okay and intriguing dungeon crawl. The map really was kind of terrible and the way they connect some places is a little odd.  I don't want to say or ask too much so as not to spoil it for first timers. Sounds like a fun conversion.

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Its 2300hrs, do you know where your super dreadnoughts are?


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I'm gong off of the 3E one.

One of the first things I did was to take that dungeon and break it up into a spread out area, so that it represented ruins spotted through the deep ravine.  The original map looks nothing like a citadel so it might as well be scrapped. Many of the encounters can be broken up into small scenes in a ruined city rather than rooms in a dungeon. The second thing I did was to 'humanize' the tribes by including kobolds and goblins in the village. The village is severely lacking and needs fleshed out. The default assumption off kobolds as friends and goblins as enemies can be expanded upon as well. My beef is with the druid and his twigs. Between dire rates, dragon priests, demons and elementals there is plenty for the PCs to deal with. I concentrated on the goals of the kobolds and the goals of the goblins and opened the field for PC interaction.

I'd expand on this, but I've laundry to do. :)

Edit: Spoilers are welcome. This is an old module.

Edited by Chaot
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All of that sounds pretty solid. Cannot agree enough with the map comments; it really is a rubbish map. 

Yes the central story of the goblins and kobalds was actually compelling enough without the druid and his tree and twig buddies. OR the tree idea was compelling enough without the goblins and kobalds and dragon.  I felt that the two conflicts and stories could be combined better than they did.

Its 2300hrs, do you know where your super dreadnoughts are?


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I read this blog or something in which the DM made the tree come to life to attack the PCs along with the two tree zombies, the twig monsters and the druid. I dig it and am going to keep it if I ever run this thing.

My goal off the bat is to make sure that the PCs don't go murder happy on the goblins (or the kobolds). 

I really haven't had a chance to refine this, so I'm just going to post my notes. This is actually much more than I usually write for an adventure. Take from it what you will. When I have some time I will post stats. Most of them will be pretty simple because I don't really want to be bothered with a complex stat block while I'm GMing.


Main Village

PCs notice the bushes and also get to notice the disappearance of bushes. Bushes create small, bitter apples that also contain seeds. PCs experience the feeling of being watched and things moving quickly in the forest, occasionally seeing red beaded eyes.


Learn that goblins steal the bushes. Also learn about the yearly apple. Hear hints about another deadly apple as well. PCs hear about the group that went into the rift and haven’t returned.


In the Rift

City was draconic death cult but is now largely covered in carvings, totems and fetishes of the goblin fire god. Apart from specific encounters, the only challenges the PCs should meet are the occasional dire rat. Successful listen rolls may allow the PCs to hear the Twig Blights stalking them. If the PCs seem to be vulnerable, a group of twig blights might try to attack, otherwise the remain in the background.


Goblins and Kobolds should be bargained with. Kobolds are death cult but it is more worshiping ancestors then zombies. Goblins warrens have small, smoldering fires throughout as well as three pronged red symbols signifying fire. 


DragonPriest Tomb

Glowing globe trap hurts PCs while telling part of the story of the Dragon Priest. Its original intent was to warn those away from disturbing the tomb while also celebrating the mysteries of the draconic death cult. The priest below had dabbled in forbidden magics and discovered a twisted form of immortality. This room was often used as a purifying ritual room. Since three of the four globes have been destroyed it instead inflicts pain while it tells an incomplete version of the story. When entering the room the PCs must make CONx5. If they succeed they have 5 combat rounds before they start taking damage. After that, the PCs take 1 hp per round. They must also make an INTx5 check to understand some of the images and sounds that they hear from the remaining glowing stone.


The second room is the dragon’s riddle, which opens a portal through the ground.


The Pit and the Guard. The pit takes up a sizable portion of this room. The only way across the pit is to walk on it’s edge. Across the room is the tomb door to the dragon priest. Guarding this door is the quazit Jot. Jot will ambush a PC, trying to push them into the pit. After quick combat it will fly up, shout “intruders!”, then laugh as it informs the PCs that it’s pact has now been completed. If Jot gets away he will ambush them again as they try to leave the Sunless Citadel by severing the rope they are climbing. After that, he probably won’t be seen again… unless the PCs seek revenge. They may try some powerful divination magic on the severed rope or seek a seer to try and track Jot.


The Dragon Priest is weakened and mad from it’s slumber, much weaker than his previous self but still a challenge to the PCs. The Dragon Priest regenerates 1 hp per round. Should he be reduced to 0 hit points he will appear dead, but begin regenerating hit points again in a day. During combat, a player who is not engaged in fighting the dragon priest may try to snag some treasure from the sarcophagus. Roll to see what they grab, either money, the dagger, a bracelet or a scroll. Tie some of the scroll spells in with the items.


Future possibilities

The dragon priest will eventually heal the damage that the PCs do to it. Once it feels strong enough it will venture out and start killing the goblins and then kobolds. Then it may venture further out or it may set up a lair in the Sunless Citadel.


Should the PCs somehow incinerate the dragon priest’s body it’s soul will still exist. It may possess Jot. It may ride along in the dagger, waiting for a worthy body. It may merge with one of the PC’s minds for a while.


Water Mephit

Instead of where it’s located, this encounter happens at a removed watercourse that the PCs come across. Pretty straight forward encounter. The mephit is also enraged due to being so close to fire worshippers. The mephit has the possibility of coming back and bothering the PCs multiple times. Should an obvious greater target present themselves the mephit will concentrate on them instead. If a PC has the ability, this mephit may also be bound.



This door seems impossible to open. It is carved with skeletal dragons and in a draconic language it says ‘those that worship the wyrm shall live in its light’. It requires the PC to cast some sort of spell or use some ability that has to do with the dead. The whistle is out in the open. If a player blows it, one of the five corpses awake and stand with the PCs. It will obey the whistleblower’s orders. This is a powerful item and will bond with the whistleblower PC. That PC loses 1 point of permanent POW. The other creatures open their eyes and move to attack the intruders.


If the PCs do not blow the whistle, take the whistle, the corpses awake but are not immediately hostile. These creatures inhabited the city before its fall. They are similar to the Silent Watchers on Stone Bridge and look like the Winged Devourers from the film Beastmaster. They communicate telepathically and if the PCs do not show aggression they will answer some questions. They are saddened if they learn that their city has been destroyed. If the PCs take the whistle or defiles the graves in some way they will become angry and attack. They will explain the whistle is a powerful and dangerous artifact. They will explain the material it is made out of. Should they not be angered during the transaction the silent watchers will return to their graves. 



They are looking for an edge against Belak. The previous adventures went down to check out the situation with Belak. The gnome was too injured to accompany them and has been slowly healed by the healer. The healer is an elementals, consequently the gnome and the some goblins have burn healing scars.


Goblin leader, Durnn, is wearing one of the rings. Says the adventurers are dead. Explains that they went down to defeat the druid and did not succeed. Durnn has stationed goblins below with Belak and is certain that with Belak out of the way the goblins would be able to harness the power of the great tree. He doesn’t care wether the PCs win or not and if pressed, will tell them that. If the PCs ask for the ring he demands something in return.


Dire Rats

Guthash and her dire rat minions range throughout the Sunless Citadel.


Balsag the Great Hunter

Balsag and his two Dire Rats immediately threatens anyone found in his area. If the party has a goblin with them at the time he will not attack as quickly. If combat goes against Balsag, he will either attempt to flee or surrender. Balsag is will to show them where Belak is in exchange for his life. Alternatively, if the PCs have to retreat, Durnn will laugh at them and then send a goblin down with them to get them past Balsag. 


Magic Items

Night Caller

Transparent whistle that raises zombie assistants.



Sword that does damage to weapons.



Special iron like substance that can make transparent items.


Edit: The fire god goblin thing is tied directly into my own interest in running an elemental cult scenario.

Edited by Chaot
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Wanted to update the thread with a basic breakdown of stats this weekend but it turned out to be a crazy week. Later.

My main issue with SC is that it is set up as an adventure in which you help the kobolds and you exterminate the goblins. In my mind it should be the PCs navigating two small towns that really don't like them but each have something they want. The kobolds want to get their dragon back. The goblin leader wants control of the tree. The PCs want to find the missing townspeople and maybe get rid of the creepy twigs. Sprinkle in some side quests. This set up has 100% more possibilities than a dungeon crawl.


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