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“You crest the last hill and finally the complex comes into view. In stark contrast to the lush greenery of the hills lies a large sunken graveyard laid out in the shape of a cross. Rather than towering above the ground, the graves have settled into depressions, and the main mausoleum, a building of strange green stone, rests in the deepest depression some 40 feet below the ground on which you now stand. At the other end of the grave-filled hallow stands what appears to be a stone well. There are no gravestones near it. The normal sounds of wildlife are gone, and large carrion birds circle overhead. An ominous silence rests about the place. Each of you knows in your heart that you have found the legendary dungeon of Rappan Athuk. And though none dare speak it, you wonder if you will live to return to the warmth of hearth and home.”
This is a great map. You can use it for a short adventure. It would seem that some cultists have come to worship the Star Spawn, and have dedicated an abandoned catacomb for their temple. Perhaps these are Warlocks, sumoning dark magic from their nearly unknown Dark Master. They have some knowledge of the Spawn but not of the Sleeping One, mighty Cthulhu.
This temple is not dedicated to the infamous Cthulhu himself, but a representation of one of his kindred. Sometimes referred to as “StarSpawn,” they are more or less described as an octopus-like race which descended from the stars.
The Star Spawn of Cthulhu are an extraterrestrial civilization of land-based octopus-like beings which colonized Earth sometime during the Paleozoic period and fought a long-lasting war against the Elder Things, eventually causing their opponent’s withdrawal to the sea. Later, peace treaties were made granting most of the recently formed continental areas of Earth to the Spawn of Cthulhu, while the oceans and the older lands – notably the Antarctic continent – were left to the Elder Things. The Spawn of Cthulhu was so called for worshiping the Great Old One known as Cthulhu, whose exact relationship to them is still unclear.
Like the Mi-Go and unlike the Elder Things, the Spawn of Cthulhu are not made out of ordinary matter at all, and seem to possess shape-shifting abilities to some degree. They were noted for the non-Euclidean geometry and strange angles of their architecture. Unfortunately for them, most of the land areas that belonged to the Spawn of Cthulhu ended up sinking back to the sea, including their most sacred stone city of R’lyeh, where Cthulhu himself still lies dormant. While the origins of the octopoid creatures is not clear, two hypothesis could be speculated upon: that they were a species that simply happened to be extremely devoted to Cthulhu (who as should be noted shares some cephalopod traits with them) or that they were created by him, perhaps even as true off-springs. The fact that some other Great Old Ones also appear to have “follower races” (such as Dagon, who is worshipped by the Deep Ones, for example) could possibly support this.
This map reminds me of Khazad-dûm … in Moria.
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm was a narrow stone bridge crossing a chasm within the eastern gates of the Dwarf-city of Khazad-dûm. It was intended for defensive purposes — enemies who breached the outer defenses would be forced to cross a span of about fifty feet in single file. The depth of the chasm was incredible and the ceiling was high; on the outer side of the bridge was a flight of stairs leading to the exit, through the First Hall and the Great Gates of Moria.
The bridge is most noted for being the location of the encounter between Gandalf and the Balrog. It was broken by Gandalf during the fight but would most likely have been repaired by Dwarves after the War of the Ring, since it was on the main approach to the city from the east.