Skull ‘n Bones Piles

These unlucky adventurers met their end mysteriously. Why were they chained here? Find this miniature terrain piece in our store…

DrakenStone Castle Campaign Setting

All the adventures listed on this site have been playtested. Some at GatorCon, some at Total Escape Games in Broomfield, CO, some and some at Get Your Game On in Ann Arbor, MI, and others at Eye of the Beholder Gaming Guild in Taylor MI. Read a week-by-week synopsis of the latest adventure on our site just for players… 

The premise: this world is criss-crossed with magic teleportation circles. These were created with an ancient, forgotten magic. The true number of circles is unknown. Partial maps have been discovered. Some circles lead to neighboring realms.

Each circle has a unique activation cycle, weather it be a puzzle, trap, or “pre-requisite” to activate. Each circle also has certain rules, such as “only teleports one creature every 5 minutes” or “resets every 24 hours”.

DrakenStone Castle:

A great place to start a new campaign. The players start in a city under siege. For three generations, the ancient black dragon Zykquedoss has attacked the castle. Its once gleaming, white marble spires are now blackened and charred from a century of dragon breath. The scorched towers have survived, however, due to an enchantment placed on the stones by the dwarves, elves, and humans who built them.

To create background, the players role-play a scene as a child, when the dragon attacks. And a second scene, as a teen, under yet another dragon attack. And a third scene as a young adult, which sets in motion the intrigue of the rival factions inside the castle.

As the PCs begin the game at level 1, the dragon has disappeared. The council has chosen the group of adventurers to venture forth from DrakenStone castle. Their foremost mission: to discover the fate of the dragon, and if she will return. Secondly, to communicate with other surviving cultures, if there are any. The characters step out of the front gate. Which direction will they travel?

Roll initiative…

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An Empress Betrayed: Introducing Afton

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series An Empress Betrayed

…and now, dear reader, the childhood of Afton the Elven Mage. When she was 8 years old, a band of High Elves came to conscript her father into the Army. Rather than hide in a tree trunk with her mother, Afton jumps out and tries to fight off the brigade single-handedly. The captain of this Elven unit has his eyebrows singed by Afton’s child-sized fireball, and is impressed. He decides to conscript her as well.

The Army gathers to fight a huge dragon, a nightmarish beast of both red and black scales. The Army is decimated in minutes, and Afton’s magic bounces off the wyrm’s skin harmlessly. The dragon’s tail swipes through the ancient oaks like tissue paper, and Afton and one other child from her village are buried beneath the timbers. When the smoke clears, Afton and Lagor are the only two survivors.
After living in a Wild Elf village for several years, Afton comes across a gruesome scene in the forest. A human caravan has been destroyed, all of its members slain. All valuables have been picked clean by some unknown thief, but Afton finds a magic wand of unspeakable power among the rubble. Instead of keeping it, she travels to the nearest human town to try to find its rightful owner. She eventually finds him; she gives the wand to Allbright the Ancient, a wizard of enormous power. Impressed by her selflessness, he takes her on as an apprentice. After years of tutelige, he tells her that he’s taught her all he can, and encourages her to make her own way in the world. Allbright promises to remain her staunch ally.


As Afton travels to the Sarpadian capital to participate in the tournament, she finds herself in a tavern. Overhearing the local’s conversation, she is flabbergasted: she hears the name of her father mentioned! Not only alive, but a famous dragonslayer? Although she did not find his body after the dragon attack all those years ago, she assumed he was dead just like all the rest of the Elves. But these townsfolk speak of him in fear, as they are afraid of his ‘dark magic’. After asking for a bit more information from the townies, they begin to get curious. “Why do you want to know?” they ask. Afton elects not to tell anyone her true identity until she can find out more about this “DragonLord”…


Next week: The adventure officially begins, as the party travels to the Forests of Ultair (where the Ambassador was last seen) to gather clues. Ultair is one of the Brother Kingdoms. It used to be one Kingdom, but when the king died, the twin brothers split the land down the middle and created two kingdoms… Comment below and I’ll send you the map…


-Uncle Andy

We play 5E at Get Your Game On during the first, third, and fifth Wednesday of each month. The player character’s group is known as “The six against the Void”. We play in the Realms of Edeos. Each session features terrain sets by DrakenStone.


Mask of Deception

Nor Gan took the cold steel mask into his hands. Its edges were rough and unfinished, but its belly and top were as smooth as glass.
His father, Martog, spoke to him gruffly with a smile. “Take care you mind those burrs. Remember, file diagonally. Buff and polish, son, buff and polish.”
Nor Gan clamped the piece into position on his workbench and began the laborious task of putting a glimmering sheen on the edges of the metal masterpiece. The young apprentice pounded the his father’s planishing hammer against the steel here and there, evening it out by feel rather than using the measuring caliper. Over and over the hammer fell. Sweat blurred the boy’s vision. The metal sang as he kept the beat to a song only he could hear. After several hours, the ringing in his ears was almost as loud as the hammer. His father’s planisher was given him by a merchant who was mauled by raiders, and left for dead. His father had nursed the man back to health. Nor Gan smiled. His pa was too simple to realize that the traveller was a bard, runes on the hammer were magic.
He kept more secrets from his father. Some he went to great lengths to keep undiscovered. After a delivery to the town’s old wizard, the elderly man had shown the boy the easiest of incantations; he now whispered it as he worked, to add power to his blows. His arms would certainly be sore tomorrow, but ‘hard work builds character’, his father always said. He kept his back to the door, to keep his magic hidden, lest his father walk in and see his lips moving.
Hours later, when the forge’s fire had died down to embers, he finally lifted his head from his work. The hammer fell from his hand; his fingers were simply too tired and stiff to hold it anymore. Its blue glow diminished, but remained low and pulsing. Sweat dripped down his nose, and his neck held a menacing cramp. Sliding his work into a pocket in his leather apron, he walked out into the cool fresh air of the night and dipped his head into a cold water barrel. Tossing his head back, he looked up into the stars until his neck made that familiar and relieving crack. Above him the red moon slid over the silver moon. A night of ill omen. But the blacksmithing family paid little attention to the superstitions of previous generations, passing them off as old wives tales.
The men of the village had concluded their workday hours ago, and were now sitting on the porch of the tavern smoking pipes and drinking black ale. Martog motioned the boy to come closer, again with that ever-present smile.
The boy strutted up to the group, returning the smile as a clear sign of victory. “The headpiece is finished, father.” Nor Gan stood on his toes, so that all could get a glimpse as he passed it into his fathers dark hands. The cold steel faceplate was glimmering in the orange moonlight, flawless. “Is it ready for the clasp, chain and the glass lenses?
The old blacksmith ran his course hands over the piece, flipping it over again and again. The other men leaned forward to see the detail in the eyeslits. “Well, son, I don’t know how you did it in just a few hours, but this piece is ready. Tomorrow we’ll fit the rest of the components together. I’ve made your clasp and chain, and your glass eyes came today.”
The boy beamed at the recognition, and tried to hide a smile. He knew the lenses were enchanted, but did not tell his father. The blacksmith would probably never suspect. And if he did, he’d never guess that they’re from a wizard inside the Underdark. Another secret to keep.
The townsfolk murmured their approval as well, which brought Nor Gan back to his senses. One slapped him on the shoulder, making the boy flinch from soreness. A hearty laugh erupted all around. “Run along now and put your piece on the top shelf in the red box. That’s where I’ve gathered all the other components. Then, go and get some supper.”
“And some ale?” the boy quipped, picking up one of the half-drank flagons. He held it just shy of his lips, awaiting his father’s approval.
Martog’s brows turned down for a moment, then lifted in an amused chuckle. A wide smile took over his face. “Might as well” his father replied. “You’ve earned it. But just one!”
Parched from hours at the hot forge, Nor Gan lifted the flagon to his mouth. He went to chug the liquid as if it was cold water. The burn from the strong ale was like frostbite in his throat, and he spewed the liquid out, coughing. The townsfolk broke into an even louder round of laughter. Nor Gan smiled, drank the ale slowly, and in a few moments, finished the cup. He slammed the empty flagon upside-down onto the table, as he had seen the other men do countless times. A cheer arose from the men. Nor Gan felt the heat of the brew warm his blood, but he also felt the warmth of his brothers’ acceptance. He could see scars on their arms and faces. Marks they earned from defending the village, the kingdom. His father had even spoken of a battle for all the Realms… Men of this village were metalsmiths, carpenters, builders… all strong of arm and knowledgable of weapons. He knew that any man here would stand his ground against any force. They currently defended the village by reputation alone. He knew in his heart at that moment that he would come to their aid, finally having a weapon that rivaled even the biggest man’s axe.
Nor Gan did as his father instructed him, then wandered out into the forest until he could just barely heard the periodic uproar of laughter from the tavern, and just see the light of the bonfire. The weather was warm, a perfect night for sleeping under the open sky. The frivolousness of youth was exhilarating for Nor Gan. Finding his favorite tree, he laid on his back and looked up at the stars. The red moon was passing over the silver moon, and he watched it until his eyes grew heavy. Exhausted, he fell into a deep sleep.

Chapter 2:
The Village

Nor Gan’s eyes popped open at the sensation… a rustling leaf tickled his nose. He awoke to find that he was covered with a palm leaf. His father had shown him how to hide from danger in this way while hunting. He could only guess what kind of danger was near, if his father had found him, left him asleep, and covered him with the palm. The boy looked quickly around for his father, but he dare not call out loud. He used the whistle he had learned. No response.
The boy instantly knew something was wrong. He walked quickly past a few tall trees, and stopped at what he saw. Before him stood columns of smoke. It could only be the remains of his village. And then it hit him. The night of Ill Omen was real. Everyone he knew had been Taken by the DragonThrong.
He ran up to his home, the town’s blacksmith shop. The entire building was one massive fire. Even in the morning light, it gave off a blinding glow. Still in shock, he approached it closely. The heat singed his clothes and hair, the smoke forced him to cough and gag.
Then, to his horror, he saw it. The husk of a burnt corpse, the cacoon of a huge man. It had to be his father. The charred remains still clutched the huge planishing hammer. It had survived, unscathed. The runes on the blue-gray metal was glowing eerily, the wooden handle was unburned. He knelt down and grasped it. Its handle was cool to the touch.
He stood up and looked around. On the sooty ground were a dozen dead men, all in black armor. They were laying face down, and each had massive head wounds. He could imagine how they died at his father’s hand. He looked back down at the planishing hammer in his hand. Blood ran down the handle, and not so much ONTO the runes, but INTO the runes. They seemed to drink up the liquid and glow even brighter.
The shelf where he kept his work lie on its side, still smouldering. He kicked some debris out of his way, and there it was – the red box, shattered. His metal eyemask stared up at him amid orange embers. A beacon of light shined in his heart. It is not lost, he thought. He grasped it madly, ignoring the pain and the smell of his seared hand-flesh. It had split down the middle. Some careless bootstep had cracked it in half, broken the delicate filigrees, ruining it. The clasps had been attatched. Martog was known to rise early, and he must have completed that step near dawn. The glass eyepieces were perfectly intact, blessed by some magical enchantment.
The fire coming up from the forge had never been higher. Timbers from the roof beams had fallen into the brazier, and the flames were taller than the building had been. He grasped the hammer in one hand, and the mask in the other. Approaching the forge, he tossed the pieces of the mask into its hottest depth. When the white hot glow from the metal matches the burning rage inside his mind, he began to pound. He did not whisper the incantation this time – he shouted it. He did not try to hide it from listening ears – let them hear and come right now at this very moment. He would slay them all with his father’s hammer. He shouted his syllable, sobbing with the intensity of his loss. His arms cramped, but he felt the magic surge through him. It invigorated him, and he worked the metal through the darkness of the night. Soon the two pieces were one again. Only when the sun came up did he toss the finished piece into the water and collapse.

Chapter 3
The woman

The next day he awoke with a start again. The hammer lay on his chest, the hilt stuck to his blistered fingers. He tried to remove them, but the blisters and blood were so thick. He winced in pain, then gave up. He looked around for any sign of the DragonThrong – still nothing. He listened intently, but heart only birds. He stood up and walked over to the forge. Some force had burned the entire building – even the bricks of the forge itself – and melted them into a black heap. Even the trees standing fifty feet away were charred on one side.
The boy slid the two glass lenses into their slots carefully. They clicked into place with a reassuring sound. The piece glowed with a piercing orange light for just a moment, then slowly faded. He didn’t know much about magic, but he knew the enchanted glass made a connection with the metal mask. He smiled for a moment in silent victory. Inhaling deeply, then holding his breath, he slid on the mask.
He was instantly dizzy as his vision was completely altered. He gasped in wonder as all life and motion came in to focus around him. The blurry shadow of a bird landed on a branch just before the bird did. A streak coming down from a pine tree caught his attention – just then the pine dropped its cone to the ground. “I can see the future!” he thought.
He sat in what was left of the blacksmith shop; one wall and a blackened dirt floor. He was covered in grime and filth anyway, so he sat down and huddled for warmth. He stretched out his feet to lay down. Beneath the dirt, he kicked something solid. Brushing his hands through the mud, he uncovered his family’s cooking pot, now shattered into countless pieces. Exhaustion and hunger overtook him, and he began sobbing at the loss of his family, his village. Hot tears poured down his cheeks, fogging the lenses of his magical mask. “So it repels stains from the outside, but not from the inside.” He tried to pull the mask off, but to his surprise, it wouldn’t budge. He pulled it left and right, up and down. It was no use. The mask seemed fixed to him permanently. Whispering the syllable the old man had taught him, he pulled on it again. This time is begrudgingly slid off.
“I wonder if the future can be altered.” he wondered aloud. He set up a candle, a rope and a rock. He lit the candle, which burned the rope, which dropped the rock. Satisfied, he conducted the experiment again. This time he gripped the rope securely. No shadow was seen. Interesting. He did the experiment a third time. On this attempt, he put his hand near the rope but did not grip it. When he saw the shadow, he quickly reached out for the rope to prevent the rock from falling. Success! So the lenses are not perfect. Perhaps they show what is most likely to happen. Or perhaps they show what will happen unless I intercede. But what if another person intercedes? So many unanswered questions. Not having another person around to run the expiriment again, he put that question into the back of his mind. Then he closed his eyes and went to sleep.

An Empress Betrayed: Episode 1

“The companions approached two dockhands in the midst of loading crates onto a ship. After Valcora made some small talk about the sunny weather, the sea dogs grumbled something about rain tomarrow. The pair continued their labor, paying little attention to the newcomers. “I hear a storm is brewing tonight,” she said in a serious tone. “Do you know where we can seek shelter?” The two workers almost dropped the load they were carrying, and turned to gape at the dragonborn, their jaws dropped and their eyes wide. “I think you should talk to the Captain. Follow me…”

In our last Episode, the Empress herself charged our group of three stout heroes to find the kidnapped Ambassador. They are to find him in the lair of an anarchist group who seeks to separate themselves from the Empire. But who do they really represent? The Ultairians? The Elves? The Gnomes? And what is this secret that the Ambassador was in such a hurry to deliver to the Empress?

The three companions weigh their options. They could travel to the forests of Ultair, where the Ambassador was last seen. Perhaps there was a witness to his kidnapping. They could travel to the mapmaking sage, and seek out any ancient caves, ruins, or hideouts in the Grey Mountains. Or they could travel blindly into the Grey Mountains, and without any clues or information, hope to luckily stumble into the lap of the cultists. Of course, they chose the later.

The Royal Wizard agrees to teleport the trio to a Cathedral of Light in the Grey Mountains, since there just happens to be a magic circle still active there. There is no one to greet the PCs, as the temple has been abandoned decades ago. Oh well, at least no one saw the group enter town, so they’ve got the element of surprise on their side…

The group walks in to the local tavern, the Blind Pig Inn. A Dwarf jumps up onto a table and shouts; “I need a hearty band of adventurers for a quest!” No, wait, that’s the wrong story. Let me start over:

The group walks in to the local tavern, the Blind Pig Inn. Can you smell a Skill-Challenge coming on? After using some Streetwise, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Bluff, the party passes themselves off as sympathizers to the rebellion. Valuable information is gathered about the local magic shop owner, and a curious verbal code about the weather is revealed.

Wait. Hold the story. How does a Knight of Sarpadia in red plate mail armor bearing the symbol of the Empire fool the townfolk into believing that she is indeed a rebel sympathizer? She put on a non-descript, baggy grey robe, that’s how! Anyways, the trio heads off to the local magic shop where some more successful Diplomacy (lying) by Delsior gets the owner to reveal that “Its the docks where you may find what you are looking for…”

And so, as the companions walk down to the docks, they happen upon two scurvy sea dogs loading boxes onto a boat. They strike up a conversation with some small talk. Then the subject quickly turns to hatred of the Empire, the blasted Empress, yada yada yada, and soon the sailors are nodding in agreement. Then Valcora turns the conversation to the weather, and everything changes. The pirates suddenly look afraid of the companions (or afraid in general) and they insist on taking the group to see the Captain.

The Captain. He doesn’t beat around the bush. “So these are the annoying newcomers that walk into our local watering hole asking too many questions. Boys, let’s do to them what we did to that stinkin’ Ambassador! Lock ‘em up in the lion’s cage!” Roll initiative. The dice gods were cruel, cruel hosts to our heroes this evening, as the tank of the party rolls a “1″ on the die. Afton rolls a “3″, and Delsior gets a “4″. It can’t get much worse.

DM Note: for this encounter, I used One Level 3 Pirate Captain, One Level 2 Githanki Sky Pirate (First Mate), and 4 Level 1 Human Pirate Minions. The deck of the ship also contained a 2×2 terrain feature: bars. Walking across the bars requires an Acrobatics check of 15, or the creature falls prone. The pirates can open the bars with a standard action, and then try to push the PCs into the cage. The pirates can then shut the door to the cage as a standard action, trapping the PC within…

And so, dear readers, suffice it to say that the party was victorious, and is learning to work as a team. Valcora toasted two pirates the first round with her dragon breath, and Afton zapped the other two with a lighting bolt. Delsior didn’t hit any of the pirates even once throughout the entire encounter, but his Bard’s Aura came in handy for a couple heals.

And so, fast forward to the Pirate Captain’s footlocker, where the PCs find an order for delivery of one “wild animal” in a cage. The travelling circus apparently picked up the wooden cage from the docks, and is delivering it to an abandoned temple in the Grey Mountains. Tune in next week when the party follows this circus train, and wanders into the Temple of Anarchy! Mwah ha ha haaaa!

-Uncle Andy

An Empress Betrayed: Introducing Delsior

And now, dear reader, we meet Delsior, the Satyr Bard. What can I say, I’m a DM, so when the new rules on Satyrs came out from WOTC, I had to try it. Obviously, bard is the ‘favored class’ (if such a term exists in 4E???) and this was my chance to test it out. So, Delsior is in fact an NPC in game terms, because he is being controlled by the DM. But the group is simply a pair of players, so I felt it would round out the party to bring in a healer. No background info on Delsior is given to the other players – he is a complete mystery.


The adventure begins with an Arena Battle, where the Empress chooses this season’s champions. If any of the PCs are victorious in defeating another level 1 adventurer (with one magic item), that PC will gain experience points and that magic item.
DM Note: each character starts by roleplaying a backstory, which will have a major story event at the end of level 10, as well as the end of level 20. The story will conclude with a major battle and story hook at the end of level 29. In other words, when the character is created, the DM already has a plan for major events in the character’s career, and eventual success in their life’s major quest…


The Empress then called on her new champions. She described a sticky situation that needs a brave group of heroes to solve. A Sarpadian ambassador was kidnapped, and is held for ransom. The group claiming responsibility is a sect of anarchists, intent on bringing down the Empress’ rule. What’s worse, the Ambassador had some important and secret news he was bringing back for the Empress’ ears only. The party is to save the Ambassador if possible, but more importantly, get the top secret information and bring it back as soon as possible.


-Uncle Andy

Cage of Thorns: Introduction

Each foe holds the key to the other’s demise…

The wizard blew the dust off the map, then peered over his glasses at the parchment. It was filled with islands, each floating in a nether sea and connected with dark curving lines. His mind raced. “Can there be a pattern to the lines?” he wondered. Just as his finger traced what looked like a hexagon, his hand slid off the end of the map. It was then that he realized it; both ends of the map were torn away. The black lines extended off the page in both directions. Where are the missing pieces? How many Realms of Edeos are there?


The Cage of Thorns: 
a Realms of Edeos D&D 4E adventure for 3-6 PCs Level 7-10 (Heroic 3 tier) written by “Uncle” Andy Schiller
Spoiler Alert! If you are playing a character in The Cage of Thorns, DO NOT READ THIS unless you want to spoil all the surprises, and take all the discovery out of your game.
 Playtested at Total Escape Games, Broomfield, CO, June-August 2011.
 Cartographer: Andy Schiller. 
Original Edeos Concept by: Josh Robillard and Andy Schiller


This game can be played in 4 sessions, with each session being 3-4 hours. It is a great way to introduce new party members to each other, and makes an excellent story seed for an ongoing campaign.
 This adventure provides a great premise to start a new group, and to introduce the PCs to each other. It also provides a recurring theme that will take Level 1 characters nine more levels to complete.


Each PC spends the night at a different inn. In the morning, they all regain conciousness in a jail cell. Having never met each other, the PCs are forced to form an alliance. “Who teleported us here, and why?”. “How do we escape?”.
The party finds themselves in the lair of a quartet of ill-tempered outlaws: a disgraced knight, a necromancer, an assassin, and a shadow priest. The ‘four foes’ have plenty of minion guards. These four evil-doers are capturing unwitting travelers through teleportation as they sleep, and siphoning their essence into a “death gate”. When 1,000 souls are captured and stored, the outlaws intend to summon an other-planar being to do their bidding.
Of course, none of the brigands trusts each other. The shadow priest has a magic item that will immobilize the assassin, if the need arises. The assassin has a chisel that negates the wizard’s arcane spells, that he keeps hidden. The wizard has an instrument that stuns, then weakens the fighter, in case of confrontation. And the fighter has an item that will blind and silence the shadow priest, that he keeps on him at all times.


If the PCs can learn this, they can use it to their advantage to take on the ‘four foes’ one at a time.
Inside the cell with the party is a skeleton. A brief search of the corpse reveals a diary. In this book, the deceased adventurer writes about being teleported into this jail cell numerous times, with his comrades. He describes escaping this dungeon by climbing through a pit of sand, and making plans to defeat “the 4 foes”. Of course, it doesn’t say how, except for some cryptic clues about a glass shattering ritual, and an harmonic hammer. The diary warns against “taking the southern corridor”, which resulted in losing his entire party. It also eludes to a giant cage, which he escapes by shrinking to the size of a mouse, and fitting between the bars. He talks about escaping a second time through a labyrinth of blades.


After escaping, he was teleported into the jail cell again. On his third abduction, he escaped the jail cell by playing a ruse on the guards. In his wanderings through the dungeon, he came across a chasm filled with a river of molten lava. It does not say how he crossed it. Across the chasm he stumbled upon a huge, glowing glass cylander. It seemed to radiate dark magic. Perhaps his mind was just playing tricks on him, but the thought he saw the faces of his friends inside the jar.
The PCs can smell food as they sit in the jail cell. However, the guards do not bring the party nourishment. The party has no food, and keeps getting a -2 for each 8 hours spent without eating…

-Uncle Andy

Mask of Deception

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