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City of the Ogre King, Part 2: The Lower Ruins of Kotesh (Secrets of Koskatep, Level 2 A)

by Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 4

City of the Ogre King, Part 2

The Lower Ruins of Kotesh

by Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)

Secrets of Koskatep, Level 2 A

This level can be reached only by going down from room 3 of Level 2 B (the former Akropolis of Kotesh and later temple of Ixion, in Issue 3 of Threshold magazine). PC’s will find themselves in Level 2 A, Ancient Kotesh:

Random Critters table and Wandering Parties table of the level above still apply here. On a roll of 1 on 1d6, roll 1d20 on the Random Critters Table. There is also a 1% chance on 1d100 in each room that a Wandering Party will be encountered.

This city was inhabited by ogres, giants and followers of Nyx, humans and otherwise, for 7 centuries from 603 BC to 95 AC. Its layout is very particular as it had no streets:

Dark green areas were once courts and other spaces open to the sky, i.e below roof level, while part of thel life of the city took place over the roofs of the houses (depicted below in white). The wooden stairs once connecting the roofs with the courts have collapsed long ago. The courts are mostly buried by earth and debris and therefore impassable, or mostly so.

White areas are the houses of the ancient city, that normally only had access from the rooftops, except for areas 2 and 3, that were under the Akropolis (Level 2 B) and therefore had doors. They were sliding stone slabs doors, so could be difficult to spot (1-2 on 1d6) and many are jammed, so are depicted in the map as secret doors.

As the city is now buried under level 1, many houses obviously no longer have access from the roofs. There are however, several passage between the houses that didn’t existed in the original city: they were created during the battle between ogres and Ixion’s followers, usually by clerical or wizardly magic, so they are no door but only rubble from fallen and broken walls. White areas are the ones whose walls were broken, so can easily be accessed.

Light green areas are a particular case: these are the houses that, like the white ones, had access from the roof, but lost it when The Last One buried the city in 227AC. Their walls however were not broken down when the Followers of Ixion conquered the city, and many were only partially sacked or left exactly as the ogres and giants had abandoned them, so if PC’s are somehow able to break into these houses they will find the original objects of 8 centuries ago (if humans reused the house) or even of 1000 years ago (if they were abandoned by the ogres or giants and never used again by the humans). Random critters could still have found a way to enter any of these rooms (1 on 1d6 as above), as well as Wandering Parties.

[Image: Map of Koskatep 2A]

1 - The North East tower. A fireball was thrown inside the tower during the battle between the ogres and Ixion's followers. The remains of the five ogre warriors that died here were never removed. The Last One has animated them as zombies, waiting for intruders to enter.

The Last One will send the zombies against the Darkers and they'll defeat them, and give the weapons to their ogre allies. The tower will remain empty until extensive reparations of Level 2 can be started, which could take some years, after which it is probably used as a storeroom.

1 - The zombies are equipped with ogre arms of almost a thousand years ago, some rusty but others in good condition and very interesting to modern ogres and historians.

2 - The Under Palace. This area was underground even before the landslide that buried ancient Kotesh, as it was under the Acropolis with the Ogre King’s palace. It housed mostly kitchens, storerooms and servants quarters. As troops of the ogre kingdom fought hard here to avoid the fall of the palace, the rooms are heavily ruined and buried. Ixion's followers however cleared them of bodies, so just common objects and random critters (see table for Level 2 B) may normally be found here. There are sliding stone doors between the rooms of this area, but they are often difficult to spot and jammed. These are indicated as secret doors in the map, even if they really aren’t.

The Darkers will not immediately find the six vampires, but when they do they'll try to bring them to their side. The choice is very difficult for the six because by now they have developed a strong friendship that is more important to them than their former religious allegiances.

2 - When The Last One attacked however he killed several of Ixion's followers here, and he buried in one closed room here two young men and two young women, close friends: Ilya, Midin, Irina and Malina were turned into vampires, then Neva and Martin, followers of Nyx in later centuries, were forced to join them too. Now they live in one of the apparently closed rooms, from time to time forced by The Last One to kill intruders. If turned there is a 50% they'll break free of the bond with Him.

Another room still preserves Kotesh’s library, mostly in parchments, tablets and papyrus, with books that could be priceless to scholars and very useful to adventurers too, as they describe in detail nearby human and inhuman cities, now lost and in ruins.

3 - The Barracks. This area housed ogre soldiers at the time of the Ogre Kings. It was almost destroyed completely during Ixion's invasion and left so. Now burnt skeletons can still be seen among destroyed arms and the usual debris.

The Darkers will be able to bring the wraiths to their side, as they were ogre followers of Nyx. They will remain here as guardians for them.

3 - The remains are too broken to be animated as skeletons but the Last One will raise 10 ogre wraiths from them to be sent against intruders, or less if he decides so.

4 - The Former Gate The entrance of the ancient city was completely buried by the landslide. The ogre-built gatehouse was demolished in the attack by the followers of Ixion, and without giant and ogre workers it was rebuilt in much smaller proportions, and evidently with a much less sound structure. The area is impassable.

The Darkers will eventually clear the area of critters but will not excavate it as now the gate, being underground, is useless.

4 - Digging into the debris, critters hideouts could be found (see table), but also ancient arms of the ogre and giant soldiers, and even a few human sized, as there were followers of Nyx among the ones who fell during Ixion's invasion.

5 - The South East Tower. The tower was taken during Ixion's invasion and the defenders killed, their bodies later removed. The tower is completely empty.

If the Darkers discover the apparition they'll try to raise him as a full incorporeal to join their ranks.

5 - The only interesting thing here is some graffiti done by ogres and human soldiers on the interior walls. The apparition of a human soldier will appear sometimes to talk, but he's immaterial and unable to attack. The Last One sometimes used him to convince unaligned adventurers that the followers of Ixion are violent and tyrannical, simply to create division and confusion.

6 - The Foundry A center of power in Kulfan’s kingdom, the Foundry was the siege of the metalworkers, ogres who combined massive strength with quasi-magical knowledge of metalsmithing. It was gutted with magic by the followers of Ixion, although the massive outer structure resisted. Thus, the area looks blasted and scorched. The large amounts of metallic ores stored in nearby warehouses have attracted Rust Monsters, which can be found in both areas. There are a total of 12 Rust Monsters in this level. 2d6-3 of them can be found here at any time.

Eventually the Darkers will chase the monsters away and the ogres and giants will rebuild the Foundry, but it will take time.

6 - All the metal weapons have been long eaten, but there are some interesting carved wooden spear shafts in a corner.

7 - The South Court. The former court is completely buried under the earth. Here ogres were killed during Ixion's invasion and priests and soldiers were buried during The Last One’s attack, so there is a good supply of skeletons under here, ready to be animated. Some can be seen partially emerged.

The Darkers will place Aysin, an incorporeal undead cleric of Nyx (as Spectre, C7) to guard the place against further animations of dead bodies and random intruders.

7 - The Last One will animate 2d100 skeletons here to fight the Darkers.

8 - The Great House. This place was the common house of the metalworkers. Many were killed here when the human followers of Ixion invaded, their possessions and remains long gone. Later humans used the house as a barracks for short periods. Now critters and rust monsters often wander here.

The Darkers could discover the incorporeal undead before The Last One has a chance to use them, but as they were followers of Ixion in life they'll refuse to aid them. They could aid PC's loyal to the sun god.

8 - The Last One hid some incorporeal undead (1d4 wights and 1d4 wraiths) here for future use, he'll not awake them for the initial Darkers invasion.

9 - Ore Warehouse This large building served to store metallic ores during the days of the Ogre Kings, which were then transformed into weapons and tools in the Foundry (area 6). Rust Monsters have since consumed all of the iron ore, although some copper and tin ore can be still found here. 2d6-5 Rust Monsters are encountered here at any time.

The Darkers will clear the place of all the rust monsters, dead and alive.

9 - The Last One will animate some rust monster skeletons here if he needs them.

10 - The Darkers house. This was the main headquarters of the Darkers at the time of the Ogre Kings, then it was used by Ixion’s followers, then by the Darkers of Lord Vudar again, then by priests of Ixion (see level 1). Over the centuries The Last One managed to capture some of these folk, much to their misery, deforming their bodies and turning them into intelligent undead. There are now 22 of them, they look like sick gremlins or goblins and are capable of speech, but difficult to understand (treat as ghouls). If turned there is a 50% chance they will be freed from The Last One’s bond.

The Darkers will obviously try to free the creatures and will promise them better bodies, but probably many of them will ask for a merciful death and nothing more.

10 - The miserable creatures still have many objects and memories of their former lives, and are therefore an important source about the history of the first two levels.

11 - The Long Court. Between the temple of Nyx, metalworkers and stonemasons, this court was an important centre of the daily life at the time of the Ogre Kings. Later it was used for training by the followers of Ixion, but now is completely buried.

The Darkers will defeat the skeletons and bless the area to avoid further animations.

11 - Many skeletons are buried here too, and The Last One can animate 2d20 in this area.

12 - The temple of Nyx. The main temple of the town at the time of the Ogre Kings also was the burial place of rulers for centuries. Indeed, in the crypt were buried Kulfan and several of his successors. The temple was partially destroyed by the followers of Ixion but they left the crypt undisturbed. Now it is a big room, eerily empty and silent.

The Darkers will destroy this monster too, and they will be able to call Kulfan back. The ancient ogre king will return as a powerful nosferatu in their service, and he’ll arrange to have the temple repaired and his quarters here, for the moment. Kulfan has magical weapons and armor.

12 - The Last One tried many times, in vain, to reanimate the body of Kulfan, but was unable to open his tomb. He however built a huge monster with the bodies of all the other ogre and giant kings. The Body has ghoul powers but 12HD and his 3.5 meters tall (11.5 feet). It is hidden in the crypt and will come out only if The Last One wishes so.

13 - Ogre Kings Armory This area was originally the lower level of the Ogre King’s palace, dug into the acropolis. It was used to store weapons and armor used by the King’s élite warriors. This, and the adjacent areas, were preserved from the landslide, since they were already underground. The last battles of both wars were fought near, and in, this area. The Last One left a big Bone Golem (HD8) here made of ogre and human skeletons.

The Darkers will destroy the Golem, and eventually they’ll refurbish this room as an armory.

13 - The room has many signs of past battles but not much is left except for some rusty weapons and armor and old clothes which belonged to the followers of Ixion killed here in the past.

14 - The General House. This was the house of top officials under the Ogre Kings and was used for the same purpose by Ixion followers afterwards. The Last One has used the bodies of a former ogre general and of a former Ixion general to build an unintelligent, but very scary, undead (As Nightwalker, HD15).

The Darkers will not initially encounter the Monster, The Last One will send it against them at a later time.

14 - The most interesting things that can be found here are stone and clay maps of Traladara at the time of the Ogre King and some leather maps of the times after, hidden among the ruins.

15 - Soldiers Court. In this court ogre soldiers practiced and trained, some died here during Ixion's invasion and their bodies were burned.

The Darkers will not bother to clear the place as it's now underground.

15 - Digging here some old weapons could be found, some valuable to collectors, and some random critter.

16 - The Rain Market. This huge area was divided into several stalls and served as a covered market for the city. It was abandoned and sacked when Ixion’s followers invaded, and never cleaned or resettled. Centuries old remains of merchandise still litters the floor.

The Darkers will eventually collect all the interesting items left here and refurbish the market.

16 - For a scholar, a huge interesting variety of everyday objects from centuries past could be found here, as clothes, leather, carved wood and stones, mirrors, semi-precious stones, ceramic, ivory and metal medallions or figurines and much more.

17 - The Tailor House. This was a warehouse containing cloths of all kinds, a workshop and a store at the time of the Ogres Kings. Ragged remains still lie around in the room, and oozes have several lairs here.

The Darkers will eventually clear the room and take the tapestries.

17 - Stuffed in a corner there are two interesting and precious tapestries praising Nyx and the Ogre Kings.

18 - The Leather House. Here leatherworkers had workshops and stores at the time of Ogre Kings. Strangely enough, among the occasional beetle and giant rat, there is still an ogre cobbler working here.

The Darkers will try to give Humgr a better corpse and he’ll be very happy to have people around again. He’ll not be hostile to PC’s, not even if they openly claim enmity to Nyx, as he doesn’t really care.

18 - Humgr, the cobbler, was killed here by humans and forgotten, until The Last One raised him as an intelligent undead just for fun, but then forgot about him. He’s not fully aware of being dead and of the passage of time. He feels a little alone, so he’ll be happy to chat with anyone, even if people could for good reasons find him quite appalling as his corpse isn’t in good shape.

19 - The Workers Houses. Mostly ogre workers lived here or in the level below the room at the time of the Ogre Kings. Not much is left of the bedrolls and the meager personal possessions that once were here.

The Darkers will repair the stair as they will move quite often from one level to another.

19 - Hidden among the debris and the litter on the floor there is the only passage that allows access to Level 3 of Koskatep, a layer built by hutaakans and later inhabited by gnolls. The passage is a stair that was clearly repaired multiple times during the centuries but now it’s not in the best of conditions.

20 - The Small Palace. This was in the past city the only thing similar to a tavern and an inn, as is evident from the many ruined bed rolls still lying around. It was partially burned and not much is left intact here. Some rhagodessas, with eggs and larvae too, have chosen the place as their main home and will try to chase intruders away.

The Darkers will not kill the rhagodessas but rather will charm and train them to be used as guardians.

20 - A curious adventurer’s journal centuries old can be found in a corner. It’s interesting as it comes from a group mixed of ogres, giants and humans who tried in vain to prevent the war that destroyed ancient Kotesh in 95 AC.

21 - The South West Gate. As the other gates, this too is now completely buried. The two small towers on its side still have corpses of fallen ogre soldiers.

The Darkers will destroy the things.

21 - The Last One made a little experiment mixing ogre skeletons and gelatinous cubes, so now there are 4 gelatinous skeletons in the towers. They aren’t very dangerous so he forgot them, but he’ll use them against the Darkers in their initial invasion.

22 - The Great Tower. This tower is the only part of ancient Kotesh that surfaces outside on the left side of Koskatep hill, but the old access in the roof is blocked by debris and earth.

The Darkers eventually will discover the access, repair it, and will always post two ogres and one hill giant sentries here, to look around and block the passage. They’ll let Chuv live here, not realizing that he’ll continue to be used as a spy by The Last One. Eventually that could get him killed.

22 - Chuv, an almost mad werebat, lives here secretly in a lair built just under the roof and hidden by wooden beams. The Last One had discovered him some time ago and now uses him as a spy and torments him, but Chuv would very much like to be left alone. He can communicate with all the normal and giant bats of the area, so he knows almost everything of the first 2 levels and somethings of Levels 3, 4 and 5 too.

23 - The West Court. Here was the biggest town market at the time of the Ogre Kings. Now it’s a favorite place for centipedes and carrion crawlers.

The Darkers will defeat the skeletons and try to clear the place, but when The Last One attacks again he’ll be able to animate 1d20 more skeletons here.

23 - The Last One will animate 1d100 skeletons against the Darkers here.

24 - The Rich Houses. This area of the city was decorated with wall reliefs and paintings, and the houses well furnished, as it housed ogre and giant chiefs, shamans, and wizards, at the time of the Ogre Kings. It was heavily damaged during Ixion's followers invasion but partially repaired, as some priests lived here using the old furniture. The Last One animated 1d8 human acolytes as ghouls to roam the area.

The Darkers will destroy the ghouls and slowly will search for all the precious items left here to sell them, while the place will be eventually resettled by ogres. Occasionally the female ogres and hill giants living in Level 2B could be exploring here.

24 - Much is left of the precious things the ogres and human priests had: necklaces, brooches, rings, clothes and much more, among the debris littering these rooms.

25 - The Guildhall. This building was originally a stonemason's guildhall. Ogres employed a small number of Stone Giants as stonemasons, and the giants built this hall as their own quarters. Thus, the hall is built in grander proportions than the rest of the city, and has withstood the destruction much better than other buildings. There is little of value left in this area, although signs are evident of a past splendor -- holes in the walls hint at massive chandeliers, and large bas-reliefs are still visible here and there.

A single stone egg can be found among the rubble -- it is an unhatched Stone Giant egg1. The egg is now dead, but it can be sold as a curio to scholars, collectors, or perhaps to a circus.

Inspired by the place, the Darkers will eventually solicit some stone giants to live here and rebuild the workshop, but it could take some time for this to happen.

25 - Extraordinary small works (figurines, relieves) done by the giants can be found here. They could have much value for the right buyers.

26 - The Workshop. This building was the stonemason's workshop. It is full of large slabs of stone in various stages of crafting. The Stone Giants fled the workshop when the city was attacked, so no remains of them are left here.

The Darkers could discover the golem before The Last One gets to use it against them.

26 - The Last One assembled a stone giant skeleton in the upper left corner. He couldn’t really raise any dead giants, so he really made a stone golem that looks like a stone giant corpse. He’ll not use it immediately against the Darkers but will keep him for later.


During the Darkers initial invasion, The Last One will send against them some zombies (room 1), wraiths (room 3, but they’ll turn against him immediately), skeletons (room 7, 11, 23), rust monster skeletons (room 9), the intelligent ghouls (room 10, but they’ll turn against him), the Bone Golem (room 13), gelatinous skeletons (room 21), and ghouls (room 24).

When The Last One strikes back, he’ll use the Six Vampires (room 2, but they could have already encountered the Darkers and gone with them, or be able to escape his control and flee), more skeletons (room 23), Wights and Wraiths (room 8, who could turn against him) The Body (room 12), the Nightwalker (room 14), Chuv (room 22, but he’ll be unwilling to fight and could flee), and The Stone Golem (room 26).

The Darkers however in the meantime could have gained the allegiance of the vampires (room 2), the wraiths (room 3), maybe the apparition (room 5) the intelligent ghouls (room 10) and Chuv (room 22, if they can free and convince him). They’ll also probably have on their side the Incorporeal (room 7), Kulfan (room 12), the rhagodessas (room 20) and some ogre and hill giant sentries (room 22).

Humgr (room 18) is a special case as he’ll not fight for either party.

1 Stone Giants, according to AC 10, lay eggs, as they were created by Ka the Preserver, who was more familiar with oviparous biology