Tenser and the Fortress of Unknown Depths
by Creighton Broadhurst and Paul Looby
Tenser (LG male human wizard 22) has long been a force for good and law in the Flanaess. The perfidious Rary slew him, however, after apparently uncovering the Ketite’s plot to assassinate all those attending the Day of the Great Signing in 584 CY. For a time, Tenser was, like his companion Otiluke who also fell that day, believed permanently slain. However, though Rary and his co-conspirator, Lord Robilar, destroyed all Tenser’s known clones, the actions of a brave party of adventurers returned him to life after an epic struggle on Luna against Tuerny the Merciless.
Returning to the Oerth in 585 CY, Tenser eschewed the Circle of Eight, finally realising that his philosophy of weal was fundamentally different to the outlook of that august body. Instead, he returned to his demesne to rebuild his wealth and to re-establish relationships with his many friends, spies, and allies scattered across the Flanaess. Chief among these is the merciless Cymria of the Celadon (CG female elf fighter 6/wizard 5/eldritch knight 3) who dwells in the village of Magepoint and is Tenser’s main voice in that community.
The Fortress of Unknown Depths
The Fortress of Unknown Depths stands about 80 miles east of the Free City of Greyhawk amid the turbulent dark blue waters of the Nyr Dyv. Long home to Tenser the Archmage, it is a well-known, but seldom-visited place.
The fortress sits atop a low, black rock about half a mile from shore. Its pale blue battlements are dwarfed by the castle’s central donjon, which soars skyward and is topped with a huge, many faceted dome that glitters under Pelor’s radiance like some huge, immeasurably valuable jewel.
Connected to shore by a long, steep-sided causeway of black rock, the fortress stands in a relatively isolated position, with the village of Magepoint being the only nearby settlement of note.
Dangerous avian creatures as well as a mist dragon and other things that dwell beneath the waters of the Nyr Dyv guard the fortress against unwelcome visitors. Several powerful affects also ward the fortress. Spells such as teleport and the like do not function within the immediate surroundings of the Fortress of Unknown Depths. Instead, those travelling by such means are shunted away from the castle. (This could be particularly disastrous for an unprepared party appearing above the Nyr Dyv.)
Finally, rumors abound of ancient magics and strange machinery hidden deep below the fortress. Tenser and his associates are reticent on this subject, which only serves to stoke the rumor mill in nearby towns and city.
This small, sleepy, idyllic village appears, at face value, to be an archetypal farming and fishing community. Well-tended fields and meadows surround the village proper, while many fishing boats bob at anchor along the village’s dock. A coastal pathway links Magepoint with Elmshire in the west and Goldplain in the Duchy of Urnst in the east. Another pathway – really little more than an earthen track – links Magepoint with Diamond Lake.
Tenser and Recent Events
Since his return to life, Tenser has not often appeared in public, preferring to work through trusted or unknowing intermediaries. He has spent the last decade making plans, searching out new allies, and retrieving his many stolen treasures. In Tenser’s mind, the time for planning is over; now is the time for action!
Tenser has two main goals: the complete defeat and destruction of Iuz (the Old One) and Rary, Monarch of the Bright Lands. Few individuals would even have the bravery to serious contemplate these mammoth tasks. Tenser, however, is one of the few individuals in the Flanaess to have the skill, tenacity, and resources to make success a possibility.
To this end, the Blue Archmage has begun to assemble a coterie of allies to champion his cause. Many are old allies from his days as an adventurer. One such is Franz, Lord of Torkeep (LN male human fighter 20), one of the most puissant of the Knights of the Holy Shielding to survive the Greyhawk War, a pivotal figure in the embattled Shield Lands. Franz is a prime mover in Tenser’s schemes against the Old One. Another is Rowena of the Silverbow, Lady Marshal of the Vesve (CG female human ranger 20).
Closer to home, Tenser has lent support to the paladin Karistyne in her efforts to check the ambitions of Rary. Tenser also has many contacts among the Gynarchy of Hardby, many of whom mistrust the intentions of the so-called Emperor of the Bright Lands.