Last Illuminated Monolith of the Zalinkari

I’m making an effort to post on this blog once a day. It doesn’t need to be big, long, or heavy on details, but I’m trying to write down and publish one musing, idea, theme, topic, or something each day as a daily warm-up for my writing and creative work.

What is presented below is a small system-neutral dungeon/adventure site, based on a long fallen empires final resting place. This dungeon is a locale or setting for a weird horror fantasy world or underground empire.

As this is system neutral, I’ve left prompts for the dangers and traps in the dungeon and how I see it unfolding so GMs can use the system of their choice.

This a horror/body-horror inspired dungeon, so be warned.

Art created by Midjourney AI using prompts from Alan Bahr.

In the grim darkness of dungeon delving, there are foul horrors and sights that the mind of humankind cannot comprehend or deal with. These horrors are often the remnants of older civilizations, fallen empires, foul sorceries long past, or beings from aeons long forgotten.

One of the most fearsome, yet forgotten ancient empires was the Illumination of Zalinkar, an empire of antiquity, ruled by a species of living crystal beings called Zalinarki, who descended from the stars to the world.

Founded their empire on their unusual mental powers, as well as their advanced light-based sciences, they embarked on a crusade to reshape the face of the world in a image pleasing to them, erecting strange organic monoliths across the face of the world.

One of their greatest monoliths was the Temple of the Star-Wound, a massive pulsating mass that was used to ferry Zalinkari to and from the stars through a mystical gateway that was ripped in the sky by magicks.

Eventually toppled by hubris and an uprising by a young humankind, the Zalinkari fled back to the stars, leaving behind only ruin and destruction.

Unbeknownst to the current age, the Temple of the Star-Wound still stands, and now something sinister dreams of coming through it to the world. Uncovered by a recent expedition lead by a wizard, the adventurers are hired to plumb the depths of the strange organic monolith and discover the truth of the dangers within.

Traps and Dangers:

Take inspiration for descriptions and other traps/dangers from bodies, flesh, and organs.

  • Acid Sprays
  • Psionic Assaults from Crystal Statues
  • Light beams (lasers – treat like magic beams as appropriate)
  • Corridors that close like a trachea or stomach trying to crush intruders
  • Corridors that grow or redirect into strange maze like patterns (blood vessels).
  • Strange alien guardians, non-Euclidian nightmares.

The center of the temple/monolith is a massive pink and violet crystal that is the heart of a dead star and is used to reach into space to the homeworld of the Zalinkari. If opened, the players might be transported to a hostile alien world, a strange alien cosmic beast might enter, or the Zalinkari might invade again.

The above text and images are 2022 ©Alan Bahr.


One thought on “Last Illuminated Monolith of the Zalinkari

  1. Perfect timing! I needed something like this for an upcoming game…might combine this with your previous tomb post. Thanks and I love these short posts!

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