A dragon cult that valued privacy and defense built the Sunless Citadel on the surface long ago. All record of the cult’s name has vanished, though various sources believe that it was associated with the dragon Ashardalon. The cataclysm that killed the cult members sunk the fortress at the same time. Because of residual enchantments, much of the structure survived it’s descent into the earth. With the cultists dead, goblins and other creatures moved in, and they have survived here for hundreds of years.
The goblins once patrolled the area around the ravine to rob those who passed by. However, with the old road falling out of use over forty years ago, the goblins rarely pay much attention to this entrance. Also a tribe of kobolds has recently challenged the goblins ownership of the fortress level. Both groups constantly skirmish one another as they vie for control.
Though both goblins and the kobolds claim the Sunless Citadel as their properity, they’ve never visited several of it’s chambers. Likewise, the goblins and kobolds avoid entering the grove level. In the past they feared that the grove was haunted.
Seventeen years ago an evil druid known as Belak the Outcast, following stories of a strange, and magical fruit, came across the Sunless Citadel. Making his way through to the grove level and gaining control over the goblins, Belak discovers the Gulthias Tree, a dark and twisted tree born from the stake used to kill a vampire.
The Gulthias Tree
The tree only bears two fruit, each year. An albino apple during the winter solstice, and a ruby-red one during the summer solstice. It is said that if you were to eat the summer fruit, you would be granted vigor, health, and life, whereas the winter fruit steals the same.
The seed of either fruit, when allowed to sprout. brings forth twig blights. Twig blights are vaguely humanoid, animated stick bundles.