In any case, the theme of this place is that it was destroyed decades ago in a nigh-apocalyptic civilization ending war, and though the place is in ruins, the war is STILL GOING ON. No contact with the outside world, barely any context for the conflict, just ancient and unspeakable powers in an endless feud for generations.
The Last of the Underest Men
The human survivors have all become unrealistically, ludicrously powerful badasses. Those who didn't are already dead. They fight a guerilla war for survival against enemies mortals were never meant to fight. Also, they are the only good thing about the later levels of the dungeon encounter charts which are all pretty much 'hurr durr big demondragonangel'
Anyway, this is an actually intriguing encounter entry.
5th level gnoll (underest man) ranger, 1d3 invisible stalkers, 1 greater shadow.
So we have a martially skilled warrior who also somehow has the command of one or more invisible, extremely fast, and strong entities. Stop me if you're heard this one before
|minimum effort jojoke but trust me it's the only good thing that's coming out of this garbage|
A pairing of 10th level berserker and 10th level cleric, who I'll arbitrarily decide are a legless cripple cleric who hangs around the neck of the hulking berserker to whisper battle prayers. 'Cuz that's cute
Also, a 10th level wizard(supposed to be drow), who I'll say is responsible for the Clay Golems that stalk about the ruined city, and his partner, a 10th level rogue who is supported by 1d4+2 more 10th level thieves. All supposed to be goblins, but this works just as well.
Finally, a 15th level fighter (hobgoblin) and a 15th level sorceror (kobold) who I declare will fight together inside a Stone Golem like mecha pilots, the fighter providing the martial combat and the sorceror providing magical blasts and power for their stone colossus. They're probably ancient veterans of the war doing their best to prepare the survivors for when they die of old age.
And these 8+1d4 are the only Underest folk left to scrabble a living in their dark city of broken stone and awful monsters. They're probably pretty decked out with magic items, though treasure is useless and they wouldn't bother with gold.
The Dead of Underest
There's an 11th level Lich wizard, who is probably some kind of dark lord squatting in one of the few remaining towers and vowing to destroy those 'puny heroes' once and for all. He can have the Iron Golem as his mighty mecha and unleash various monsters to inevitably fail to destroy the heroes. His monsters being an Elder Black Pudding, a Dread Wraith, various demonic hordes (which trigger the remnant defense systems of the city and cause ancient runes to summon angels of defunct gods to do battle with the demons), an Abyssal Greater Basilisk, a 'truly horrid umber hulk,' a 12-headed immortal pyrohydra that grows another head every time it is defeated and returns to life, and a nightwing (giant spooky shadow not-dragon) to make escapes on.
His lieutenants can be a werewolf lord, a mummy lord, and an 'elite' vampire, though at this stage of ruination it is highly questionable what, exactly, they are meant to be the lords of. Also the existence of these classic monsters makes this whole sorry scenario feel even more like a cheezy B-movie of monster mashups. The Blob! Dracula! Wolf Man! The Mummy! All vs some Power-rangeresque
The City of Underest
Ancient malfunctioning spells of protection are built into the stones of the city, and summon angels to defeat demons and the occasional inevitable (sucky law robots that are admittedly better than Slaad, who are also all over these encounters in color coded and d3+1 variants). This helps keep the Lich in check.
The Dragons And Random Monsters of the Deep Earth
Dragons from level 10 occasionally show up hoping to pillage the place. Though it would be nice if they could succeed and put everyone out of their schlocky misery, it ain't gonna happen unless someone helps them. Some giants sometimes awake from deep caverns, remember that they planned to conquer this place centuries ago, and show up to get really disappointed and leave. Also displacer beast pack lords WITH NO PACK, and the occasional beholder. Maybe those weird cave eyes are beholder eggs.
Cripes. Well, on to level 10, the final destination of the Wyrm Road and the end of this whole once-promising method of inspiration.