⭗ REDIRECTIONS I ⭗
⭗ CHÂTEAU STELATAN ⭗
If the stories are to be believed, Château Stelatan isn’t native to this world. Locals avoid the place like the plague, saying it’s cursed and that no one ever returns from there.
With no visible point of access at ground level, no one who knows of the castle can even tell you how to enter it. Rumors persist that treasure hunters have tried to enter by glider, but no one seems to know what has happened to those intrepid souls. Sometimes a drunken shadow wanders across the plains here and there singing of a sunken labyrinth that leads up to the castle, but you’ll never find anyone who has actually met the spirit. On the whole, no one actually knows what Château Stelatan holds, much less how to get inside.
The stories about its sudden genesis are scattered, vague and conflicting. Some say that the ground rose up suddenly one day like a great boil and sprouted the spires. Others say that Château Stelatan was a floating fortress of war that finally came to rest here, settling on the shore as its last navigation ghost faded away. There’s even a story that the castle was a seed from a passing moon that dipped into our sky, that this seed is growing still, and when it finally sprouts, it will cover our world with the spirits of another dimension’s restless dead.
Since no one really knows what is going on inside the walls of Château Stelatan, any of the rumors below (or above) might be true. It’s up to you, as the referee, to decide what your players find inside, if they even manage to make it past the castle’s many hidden, otherworldly traps and automated defenses (See DEFENSES OF THE CHÂTEAU later in this section to learn more.)
⭗ INSIDE THE CHÂTEAU ⭗
1. The castle has always been here, but a sentient and hungry vampiric mist living in the walls leaks out at night and devours the memories of everyone in the local lands. It’s a bit of a narcissist, so its favorite memories to devour are those about itself and the castle, meaning no one really remembers much at all about Château Stelatan, except for the stories and rumors that the mist finds distasteful because they’re fantastically untrue. Before the mist arrived, the castle was just an ordinary keep ruled by a modestly wealthy king who controlled all access through a drawbridge that has since rotted away into oblivion. Most of the treasure has probably long since been looted by thieves who can’t remember where they got the wealth they now have.
2. Château Stelatan is a fungus, a carefully crafted, magical and highly specialized prototype fungus grown by a wizard who planted it on a hillside a thousand generations ago. The wizard who planted the spores engineered the whole thing on a dare, intending to show up his contemporaries by growing an entire castle overnight that he could then sell to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, he miscalculated, and it wasn’t until long after his death that the spore network he had planted grew massive enough to throw up towers. Now, every twenty years or so, Château Stelatan bursts from the ground anew, sprouting ever more towers that rise, open their windows and scatter violet spores on the midnight wind. It takes a full year for the towers to mature, and another year for them to release their spores, crumble and die away again. The castle is, in every way, functionally a castle, but unnervingly empty to anyone who happens to find their way inside. And what of the spores? No other castles have burst from the ground like this, or at least, none have yet.
3. Château Stelatan is an illusion. It looks like a huge, ominous and unreachable castle, but this is all just a carefully maintained magical illusion that is dispelled the instant one realizes the truth and walks confidently into the rockface. The bent and burned, blue-skinned drunkard of the closest port to the castle murmurs about what he saw when he crossed inside, but none of the words make sense. Did he see the spirit of a meteor tended by a dozen princes wearing porcelain masks? Did he see the wreckage of a starship overgrown with the spawn of demons? A lift crystal longboat sundered in half by a battle between lightning-throwing gods? The truth, however wondrous, dangerous or terrifying is hidden behind that illusion, and only the bravest and strongest of will have any hope of peering inside. Hopefully, they won’t end up like the drunkard.
4. The castle is full of cats. You only notice one when you first arrive. A calm, dark-furred watcher sits just out of reach on a rampart, observing you in silence. Other cats start to appear as you venture deeper into the castle, always out of reach or only glimpsed for an instant, but soon they’re everywhere. Soon, there are hordes of them, and they want something. You can see it in their eyes. They aren’t ordinary cats, and what they want isn’t ordinary either. What is really going on here is up to the referee. Are the cats part of a defense mechanism for the sleeping castle? Are they even cats? Were they always cats, or were they once something else? Do they have psychic or magical powers? Do they want something innocent, or do they want something horrific? Are they a nation? Do they have leaders? Will a diplomat come out of the shadows and speak to the heroes in the common tongue and ask them for something, or task them with a quest? Maybe they are all that remains of the original denizens of the castle. Maybe they only found it recently and they have claimed it to further their nefarious ends.
5. Château Stelatan is infested with sneaky, hungry, meaty blob-like monsters. They weren’t always monsters. Once, they were adventurers like you. Some horrific magic within the castle changed them over the course of days or weeks. After one visit, they were addicted to the place. They didn’t want to leave the castle’s expansive halls, and would stare for hours out the stained glass windows of the highest towers. If they did leave, memories of the place drove them mad. Only by returning could they find peace. Eventually, they’d start to whistle a strange, haunting tune, and the creatures in the shadows would whistle back. Those captivated by the castle, those who start to whistle, also start to change, to hunch and mutate, until they too are like the monsters in the shadows. At night, the sound of all those lost souls whistling within Château Stelatan is like a terrifying chorus to anyone within earshot of the castle. To those who are drawn to stay, however, the chorus is wondrous and inviting.
6. Every rumor and story about the castle is true, especially the most fantastic ones. The castle is the tip of a very large, pan-dimensional iceberg that has shoved its sharpest point through into our dimension. Ghosts of reptilian royalty who breathe violent insanity out like a breath weapon? Giant, copper-skinned automatons programmed to use their advanced knowledge of chemistry and pharmacology to keep every visitor to the castle in a permanent state of bliss? Swarms of sentient glass fragments looking for meaty bodies to possess? You’ll find all this and more in the halls of Château Stelatan. Even worse still (or more intriguing, perhaps) is the fact that by entering the castle, you enter the entire castle. Rooms and hallways sprawl on forever in every direction and every dimension, creating a mind-bending labyrinth of terrors and wonders unlike anything a simple treasure seeker’s feeble mind can comprehend.
⭗ DEFENSES OF THE CHÂTEAU ⭗
This list is by no means complete (or even accurate.) It represents instead what is rumored to be defending the Château from outside intrusion. Whether your players encounter these defenses or not is entirely up to you as the referee.
1. The Château is surrounded by a great invisible energy shield that vaporizes anything which tries to penetrate it by air. The shield is maintained by a battery of undead psychics and an array of lift crystals. It charges by solar power and grows in strength throughout the day, meaning it is most dangerous just before twilight and least dangerous (or not present at all) just before dawn. It will only vaporize objects moving at speed (such as birds, thrown stones or flying humans) but it is designed to let anything slow moving through without harm.
2. The Château is not so stationary as some believe. It takes flight, or burrows, or shakes like a wet dog whenever it senses anyone has entered the castle. It does this to try to terrify or drive off intruders, but will give up after a while and try other methods if the intruders are determined enough. Long ago, when the castle was actively lived in, permitted guests were given elaborate crystal badges that allowed them to pass inside without triggering the Château’s many defenses. Maybe some of those badges are still out there somewhere?
3. A fearsome ghost army patrols the chambers and halls, but these heavily armed and armored phantoms may just be mere memories and illusions. Whether or not they can possess the heroes, fight them or even affect them at all is up to you. There are stories of some of these ghosts having phantom cybernetics, and that these implants can be removed from the “ghost corpses” and implanted in a living body, but to what end, no one can say. It is also said that these ghosts are far more dangerous at night, but surely this is just another rumor, right?
4. There is a malevolent intelligence that lives in the walls. It was originally a simple machine spirit built to lock doors and bar access to certain rooms, but with the castle empty for so long, it has slowly gone insane. It is said that it was originally tamed and controlled with regular rituals of blood sacrifice, but after all this time, it must be starving. Given that it has an unusual degree of control over the whole castle, it would have plenty of ways to sate that hunger with a meal made of unlucky treasure hunters.
5. Shining, pearlescent orbs patrol the castle. They’re so reflective that they can be seen from the plains below as shining dots moving among the windows and ramparts. Mostly, they keep to their rounds, but if they detect anything with a spirit or a soul within 50 feet, they will float slowly toward it. Within 30 feet, they make the air so frigid that most humans will start to shiver and a strange hum becomes audible. Within 10 feet, the hum becomes deafening, and the cold becomes so intense that liquids will freeze and frost will form. If a pearlescent orb envelops someone or something, that unfortunate soul is frozen solid. The orb then carries the frozen person to the hidden heart of the castle, where it keeps a frigid prison full of all of the captives the castle has ever collected. The orbs are a form of magical servant that is immune to non-magical weapons and tactics, but magics which damage them (and they can take a lot of damage) also accelerate the speed at which they move.
6. The Porcelain Queen controls the castle. No one knows where she came from, but it’s said that she controls not only the castle, but the lands around it. Her porcelain white mannequins stalk the streets of the neighboring towns at night, hidden under heavy cloaks and assassinating carefully chosen targets according to some plan that only the queen herself understands. The mannequins themselves are exquisitely carved, immune to most magics and packed with vicious weapons just under their porcelain skin, ready to lash out or explode in a flurry of violence when pressed. Château Stelatan is said to be an impenetrable fortress with literally hundreds of these mannequins inside, all directly linked to the queen’s mind, like fingers on a hand, but why would she need so many? Is she guarding something at the heart of the castle? Is she preparing for war? Is there a greater threat even than her which she is trying to keep sealed away?
⭗ TREASURES OF THE CHÂTEAU ⭗
This list is by no means complete (or even accurate.) It represents instead what is rumored to be hidden deep within the Château. Whether your players actually find any, all or none of these treasures is entirely up to you as the referee.
1. The Château is home to an impressive library. It is said that the original ruler who commissioned the castle’s construction had a magic, door-sized mirror that allowed him to access any version of his library within any other dimension in the multiverse, and he would regularly trade books with his other selves. Whether or not the mirror is still there, (and whether or not it still functions,) the library is home to many otherworldly books and scrolls. Feel free to pepper the library with strange hybrid, homebrew spells, spells from other settings, books that inflict compulsory quests or madness, repair manuals for flying temples, folios of otherworldly fiends and even books that are just entirely indecipherable except for their unsettling illustrations. Comb your resources, both online and offline, to introduce your players to some truly weird stuff. If the mirror is still present and still works, it could provide a gateway to other realms as well. Whether it can be transported to provide access to the library from anywhere, whether the destination dimension is random, whether the mirror always reflects a different version of the place where it is used, or whether it breaks the instant it leaves the library is entirely up to you.
2. A giant crystal heart beats deep within the castle. Chained to the walls like a prisoner, it strains against its bonds. Why is it here? What is its purpose? What will happen to the castle (or the world) if its bonds are broken? Is it an evil desperate to be freed? Is it a captive entity used to power the castle? Is it a guardian that keeps the castle in this plane of existence while yearning for an end to its sacred duty? Is it something your heroes can break apart and sell like shards of gems? Is there a curse or horrific fate that befalls those who do? Maybe there are cultists and thralls that it has gathered to protect itself or to free it. Maybe when it is freed, it will tear open a gateway to somewhere else, or somewhen else, and everything in the same room as it will be sucked into that place along with it. The truth is up to you.
3. In a room guarded by fearsome golems that pose infuriating riddles, a small bald child made of pale blue light sits on a golden throne. Who is he and why is he here? Does he grant wishes? Does he give advice about arcane matters? Does he know the secrets of creation and the answers to any questions you might ask? Is he waiting to be freed by the heroes? Will he become a powerful advisor and ally, or will he demand a body to possess so he can walk freely about the land again? Of course, any demands he makes, he will richly reward the heroes for completing. Maybe he gives a series of quests, with the promise of a larger and larger reward for each one. Maybe he has nefarious goals and the heroes are his only means of hoping to achieve them, or maybe he is just a program, a navigation ghost waiting for instructions on where to fly the castle next.
4. At the top of the castle's highest gallery, surrounded by ornate stained glass windows depicting a battle between starships, sits an immaculate and elegant classic automobile. It runs. It's beautiful. It has gold and ivory trim, and the entire interior is painstakingly detailed. Whether or not it is sentient or capable of flight is up to you. Someone got it all the way up here. How they did that, and how anyone could get it down to ground level isn't really clear.
5. A simple, dusty, woven cornucopia horn sits on a weathered wooden table in the middle of a wide dining hall. It’s magic, but the spirit within it hides it well. It has one purpose. If you speak into the small end, and you tell it that you need something, and the spirit within it believes that you truly do need that thing, that you literally cannot live without it in this instant, it will spontaneously generate that thing for you. How fragile the cornucopia horn is, and whether or not it explodes or summons a demon or destroys the castle the instant it passes beyond the bounds of Château Stelatan is completely up to you.
6. A hidden passageway leads to a subterranean fungal garden carefully tended by ancient, ponderous golems. The garden is expansive and full of all kinds of rare funguses with various magical and medicinal uses. Some of the funguses will be extremely dangerous, either toxic or ready to burst with infectious spores. How the golems react to the presence of the heroes is up to you.
⭗ WHAT ARE REDIRECTIONS? ⭗
My goal with REDIRECTIONS is to add my own contribution to the Psychedelic / Heavy Metal / Ligne Claire art RPG space. Much in the way that people inspired by Tolkien’s style helped give birth to the modern genre of High Fantasy, the style of Jean “Moebius” Giraud (and others like him) seems to be spawning a sort of genre of its own right now, and I want to expose more people to the wonders of it. I want to share it. I want to be a part of it. Most of all, I want it to grow.
REDIRECTIONS is a collection of wondrous places for your RPG characters to visit and explore. Each place is unique, with a bevy of interesting stories, plot hooks and characters to color your experience. What system you choose to use for your sessions and how your players get to these places is entirely up to you. If you like these posts and find them useful, let me know! All art is generated on Stable Diffusion or Wombo because I can’t draw anything better than stick figures, so consider them homages to the genre. This is a series, and each entry is numbered. If you like things like this, please support the true artists whose works are part of the genre, such as the works of Moebius, Luka Rejec's Ultraviolet Grasslands, Luke Gearing's Acid Death Fantasy and Raw Fury's game SABLE.