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Bawylie's Budget Dungeons

Bawylie

A very OK person
Original poster: @Bawylie

Bawylie said:
One thing I do when playing is extemporaneously design small dungeons. They're not throw-aways, but they might hold key items on a long fetch-trade quest or just be some small home for an enticement.

The structure of a budget dungeon is simple.

1.) It must have a purpose or theme that's apparent by looking at it. (Church, aquatic, warehouse, etc).
2.) it has 3 areas or rooms (no more).
3.) One room has a hazard or trap capable of tpk
4.) One room has a trash encounter (even-level or lower).
5.) one room has a set piece encounter with a twist. (Often a choice between two mutually exclusive desireables or between two undesirables or the assumption of one desirable with an unavoidable undesirable).

I've done this for a barn, a ship, a wayside shrine, caves, a forest, lots of stuff.

The trick is to kind of under-think it. Just get an overall idea for the theme and structure and then one idea each for the 3 areas.

But, clever as I am (very), I can usually only come up with one idea at a time. So I want to see what you make out of a budget dungeon. I will shamelessly steal any ideas you put forth for future games. Please take 5 minutes and show me a budget dungeon. And remember, the "quality" comes from the speed at which you can think it up: these are not epic adventure settings - they're 5 minutes of work for 25 minutes of play.

-Brad
 
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BoldItalic said:
1. A small lake.
2. A cave mouth beside the lake just above water level
3. Deep inside the cave

(1) As you approach the lake, a water nymph appears and asks for help. The water level in the lake has fallen and she can't get back into the cave to recover her "shiny stones". She asked a dwarf last week but he went in and never came out.

Note: the water nymph cannot walk on dry land because she would fall through, just like you would fall through if you tried to walk on water.

(2) The cave mouth is a trap. The floor is an illusion covering a bottomless flooded pit. The illusion is dispelled as soon as anyone does a perception roll (the DC is 0), and you all fall in.

(3) Deep inside he cave is a tough encounter. After resolving it and searching the cave, the half-eaten remains of a dwarf can be found in one corner. In his pouch are some shiny stones - the ones the water nymph lost. The placed maguffin will be found on further searching.

(edit - afterthought)

The shiny stones appear to be very large diamonds. If you decide to steal them instead of returning them to the water nymph, she will curse you all with permanent disadvantage on all swimming and underwater-breath-holding checks and the stones will turn out to be fakes anyway. If you are honest and return them, she will reward you with expertise (double Prof. Bonus) on all swimming and underwater-breath-holding checks for ever.

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AlHazred said:
(This is actually me. I've got to change my ENWorld handle or all is lost!)

Two things that might be of interest for you:
  • The One-Page Dungeon Contest is pretty much exactly what it says on the wrapper. All dungeons must be released under the Creative Commons license, so all of them are available for free download from the website. The contest is now in its fifth or sixth year, so there are some 400+ dungeons on there, none longer than a single side of a single sheet of paper. Many of them follow your criteria above. Disclaimer: I've contributed though never won. Doesn't matter, though, as it's great fun and some of the resulting dungeons are fantastic; even the worst have one or two ideas you can steal for your own games.
  • John Fourr has produced a Five-Room Dungeon book you can download for free for signing up to his newsletter. These were all produced using his "Use the Five-Room Model" tip which sticks pretty close to your model as given above. Worth checking out.

Nevertheless, I'll play. You had in mind something like this?

The Skyship Wreck

Theme: a magical skyship that has "run aground" in a large copse of trees in the wilderness.

Room 1: The Clearing: As the players approach, they can see a beaten-up skyship bobbing back and forth among the boughs of the enormous trees in the area, about forty feet up. The party can see large holes in the hull, probably made as it was crashing through the trees before it "came to rest." It should take some planning and daring to climb up into the ship, assuming the party doesn't have easy access to flight. Checking out the clearing will discover wreckage and bones from the people and cargo that tumbled out during the crash; from the state of the items and bodies, it happened long ago.

The ship is mostly held up by the tree limbs; its bouyancy magicks are almost totally deteriorated. Even worse, the strain of holding up the extra weight of the ship has reduced the structural integrity of the tree branches. Any extra weight on the branches may cause one to give way, and with a cascade reaction, all the branches could snap in a rush, causing the wreck to drop onto anyone still in the clearing.
Room 2: The Hold: The hold of the skyship contains ruined rations and a few remaining scraps of aged trade goods. It's also infested with giant rats, which feed on the birds that explore the wreckage and eggs in the occasional nest built in the rigging. The famished rats attack any intruders.
Room 3: The Cabin: The upper level of the wreck was once the cabin of the skyship. While most of the clothes and equipment has been ruined by exposure to the elements, there is some coinage and a few items of real treasure, among them a beautiful pendant that carries a curse. Also here is a restless spirit: the ghost of the captain who led the raid that seized the cursed jewel.

There was formerly a bridge one level above the cabin, but it was mostly shorn off during the skyship's ruinous descent into the forest. A few large pieces still remain in the overgrown rigging, which is covered with tendrils and vines.

If the party leaves with the cursed pendant without having laid to rest the captain's ghost, they will have another encounter. As they leave the ship, the corpses of the crew will rise, called to animation by the ghost of the captain. The restless dead will climb the trees to reach the party trying to escape with the jewel. Keep in mind the weakened condition of the tree branches as mentioned in Room 1.

Guess I should upload my crappy maps as well.
AEYhyGu.jpg
 

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iserith said:
The Mole Hill

1. An underground burrow for hejkin (mole-people).

2. The Mole Hill, The Feeding Runway, The Nest.

3. The Feeding Runway is the tunnel closest to the surface and has only a relatively thin layer of roots and soil comprising the ceiling. Portions of it are easily collapsed on invaders, immobilizing and smothering them (tpk trap). It can also be a pit trap for those on the surface, perhaps near The Mole Hill. The Feeding Runway runs quite far away from the area and encircles the idyllic gnomish town of Leafy Greens. It is the trigger for a sinkhole the hejkin have prepared.

4. The Mole Hill is the trash encounter. It has a few hejkin lurking about and some burrowing pets. There are some clues as to the danger of The Feeding Runway and the sinkhole under Leafy Greens.

5. The Nest contains the primary villain, a disfigured gnome called Digdug, an outcast from Leafy Greens. He is guarded by his umber hulk pet, Stinkbug, plus a few additional hejkin. When the encounter kicks off, he threatens to trigger the Feeding Runway collapse in a villainous monologue, and will if pressed. The collapse isn't instant - it takes time for it to cascade all the way around Leafy Greens, providing a countdown where the PCs may be able to save the town if they don't dilly dally trying to kill Digdug. (Or maybe they can pull off both, who knows?)

sleypy said:
@isenith I hope you don't mind if I steal some of your idea (I mean thats what Metal Hair plans to do anyway.)

The Mole Hill (Alternative 2)

1. Underground burrow of the hejkin.

2. Burrow Maze, Hollow, Temple of Elemental Earth.

3. Burrow Maze is a labyrinth constructed by the Hejkin to protect the Hejkin from its enemies. Many creatures have been lose in the borrows Maze and others simply took up residents in the long winding tunnels beneath the earth. It is easy to become lose in the twisted tunnels and all but the most skilled dungeoneer can navigate though without becoming hopelessly lost or fall victim to the creatures within.

4. The Hollow is a large open space at the base of the burrow. It features a rune covered dome crafted and supported by powerful earth magic. The structures here are adobe though there is no clear evidents as to how they produced sun-dried bricks. This is were the Hejkin live in a moderate sized community. Most of the Hejkin here are not strout warriors, but most are sorcerers of minor capabailities. At the center of the Hollow is the Temple of Elemental Earth. Hejkin are xenophobia and have a disagreeable reaction to outsiders. They are openly hostile to armed humanoids they are unfamilar with and will turn violent if they feel threatened in any way. The party learn of the Hejkin priest intentions either as casual conversation if they befriend the Hejkin or via a threat if things become violent.

5. Temple of Elemental Earth is the largest structure in the Hollow. Recently the Priest of Earth discovered how to tap more directly into the elemental plane of earth. They are performing a ritual that they hope will let them bolster their elemental power so that they can awaken their god who lays dorment beneath the Hollow. Their primordial god, Maw'tan, that once awaken will cause earthquake that would devistate the region for miles.

BoldItalic said:
14:53 GMT

Scene: a burning library.

(1) The entrance hall.
Numerous people in robes are running hither and thither, generally panicking and wanting to (a) escape or (b) rescue as many books and scrolls as possible. There is a lot of screaming and not much in the way of conversation.

(2) The Reading Room
Mostly deserted. Many shelves of books are starting to burn.

Encounter: a shifty-looking character carrying oil, rags and a tinderbox. When he sees you, he runs back into (3) through a secret door that closes behind him. You can try to get it open but if you remain in here too long, the floor will collapse, the burning ceiling will fall down and you will be killed.

(3) The inner Room
Everything in here is starting to burn. In the middle of the floor is a pentacle containing a portal to the elemental plane of fire. Fire-beings are coming through, grabbing piles of scrolls and taking them back through the portal. What is going on? Can you stop it? Should you be stopping it?

15:03 GMT (Okay, that took 10 minutes, but I'm a slow typist)
 

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AlHazred said:
bawylie said:
On a side note, I know small dungeons exist & I'm familiar with them. They're usually crafted for quality or to win a contest or as part of a product.

The DM skill I'm talking about is to create a satisfying mini-dungeon in under 5 min. You can print up all the one-page dungeons you like, but maybe they don't fit what you need - can you make one that does? Can you make it while DM-ing?

Oh, sure, but I thought it'd be nice to have the links in one place for... let's say, idea starters. I don't know that any of those 1-pagers or 5-roomers have ever been used precisely as-written, but they're dandy for when you're coming up short mid-session.

Maybe there needs to be a Budget Dungeon Design Challenge?

Local Nut (Harder To Crack Than He First Appeared)

Theme: The party is at loose ends in town after a dungeon delve. They are told that Old Mad Dorn lives just outside of town and might have a treasure map, or know something about one the party has acquired.

Room 1: Hut in the Woods: The hermit's hutch is in the woods surrounding the village, about two miles past the last farm. It's obvious the hermit built it himself, it's rustic construction and small size a dead giveaway. Inside the one-room hut is a huge pile of junk and personal possessions. Over a kettle bubbling with some noxious venison stew, Dorn will explain that he's seen things moving into a nearby cave -- he suspects the adventurers' previous delve dislodged some wildlife that lived near that spot, and they've taken up residence near the town, in a small cave in a gulley not far from Dorn's hut. He doesn't know specifically what's there, all he saw in the night was huge shapes moving in the gully, lots of rustling noises, and an aweful odor. He'll show the PCs the following morning -- they're welcome to stay in his cabin overnight, though the stench would put troglodytes to shame, which should make players wonder how bad the monsters must have smelled.

Room 2: The Cave: The cave Dorn leads them to is located in a steep-sided gulley, overgrown with thickets of stinging nettles and thornbushes. The PCs should need to make checks to follow the trail, as it's steep and overgrown; uphill along the trail should be difficult terrain, while going off-trail up or down the gulley walls should do damage from irritating flora and also be difficult terrain; several poisonous plants (fantasy versions of poison oak or poison ivy) can be visible in the thickets. The cave itself is relatively small-looking from the outside, like the kind of overhang a bear might use for shelter. It's surrounded by fallen trees and semi-swampy flora, as the bottom of the gully is marshy and treacherous.

Inside the cave, they'll find a Large or Huge ooze or jelly of unknown variety (similar stats to an ochre jelly or your favorite ooze). A refugee from the players' dungeon-cleansing, it's not difficult to beat just tedious, as the conditions of the fight are bad and the ooze is strangely intelligent for a giant blob. Rather than die, the ooze will retreat if badly injured.

Room 3: The Gulley: Either as the players are returning from their victorious fight, or as they flee from the agitated ooze, they'll be attacked as soon as they hit the treacherous area where the trail emerges from the gulley. If they leave from an area away from the trail, even better -- the fight takes place there, among the brambles. Old Mad Dorn was consumed a few nights ago by an ooze that can take on the shape and mannerisms of creatures it eats. What the players fought was "Dorn's" mate that didn't have any shapes handy; the "Dorn" ooze has some of his paranoid canniness. When he saw the players weren't finished off, he gets ready to abandon his form and attack the party when they are most vulnerable. Meanwhile, dozens of Tiny or Small oozes (the brood of "Dorn" and his mate) will come out of rotten logs, small cracks in the ground, the stream at the bottom of the gully, etc., and aid in the attack. If the mama ooze survived the players' attack, she might join in as well. With difficult/damaging terrain conditions and an unknown number of supremely maneuverable opponents, this should be a really tough fight.

Back in the clutter of his hutch, "Dorn" might have something of value the players missed their first time through the dungeon.

MGdFdU6.jpg

drycanth said:
I'll give you a quick and dirty maze i've used in the past.
draw on 90 degree turn tunnel
one tee tunnel
one straight tunnle
one 20 x 20 square room with one entrance/ exit.

lable the two ends of the 90 1 and 2 the three parts of the tee 3 4 and 5 and one the ends on the straight piece 6 and 7 and the rooms entrance 8.

every time the players go through a piece of the map roll a d8 to see where it connects to. the entire maze is a endless random bunch of corridors. the real goal is a secret door that is in the middle of the tee intersection. there is a minotaur hiding in the secret room. there is a body on the ground in the middle of the tee intersection that was stabbed in the side. If the players investigate the body they can figure out that it was stabbed in the side facing the wall. the minotaur has a small treasure hord of misc. junk mostly and a small chest that is trapped and has two gold rings enchanted with a permenant light spell and a false bottom with a treasure map in it. the treasure map leads to another small dungeon.

BoldItalic said:
Okay, five minutes' thought, 20 minutes typing.

Scene: The Burning Desert before a large pyramid.

As you arrive, a mad wizard is throwing every spell in the book at the pyramid, trying to open it somehow. Eventually, a huge rumbling voice is heard coming from somewhere inside the pyramid. If anyone understands the right ancient language, it is saying, roughly, "Go away and leave me alone".

There is a band of heiroglyphs running around the pyramid. Does anyone read hieroglyphics? One part says "Press Here to Open". If you press it, another part lights up and says "Are You Sure? Yes/No?" If you press "Yes", a section of stone drops away, revealing an entrance to the pyramid. At this point the mad wizard screams in rage and attacks because he feels such a fool for wasting all those spells and he's going to take it out on somebody. He is two levels higher than the party average and still has plenty of spells left but there is only one of him so it's an easy encounter.

Entering the pyramid, there is a steeply sloping passage leading to the centre. If you go more than 30ft along it, the entrance slams shut. That was unexpected, wasn't it?

In the centre of the pyramid there is a burial chamber with a lot of statues that look like the terracotta army. Predictably, they animate and you have a tough encounter. If you dispose of the statues you can have a go at the sarcophagus. It is sealed with bitumen and there's a reason for that. It contains a mummy, a lot of gold stuff and the spores of a deadly fungus. Opening the sarcophagus releases a cloud of the spores but they seem at first to be harmless. You can now loot lots of treasure. The best bits are some large items of furniture in a side room.

There is a way to escape from the pyramid, by climbing a chimney from the side room to a small aperture near the top. You can't take the furniture with you, though - it won't fit through the gap.

The fungus spores that you are covered in, are triggered by sunlight. As you emerge into daylight they activate and you are afflicted with something really bad.

pukunui said:
Anyway, here's my contribution (inspired by the Dora episode my youngest daughter is currently watching):

Where There's A Wish, There's A Way

While traveling on a road, you come across a bunch of cute little yellow fuzzy creatures calling themselves Wizzles. They are sad because they've lost their special wishing crystal and can't get back home without it. A mean nasty goblin witch took it. The Wizzles are so cute and pathetic that it's nearly impossible to say no when they ask if you'll get it back for them.

Trash Encounter: A field full of venus flytrap flowers that snap at you as you pass through but which are easily dispatched with a sharp sword or spell.

Hazard: A cornfield maze full of nasty plant monsters (including a scarecrow) and dead ends. If you don't find your way out quickly, you could become a permanent fixture.

After passing through the cornfield, you come to a stream with a rainbow bridge over it. Crossing over the bridge and heading upstream, you come to a waterfall with a cave behind it.

Set Piece: The goblin witch lives in the cave behind the waterfall. When you confront her, she claims that the Wizzles have lied and that the crystal is actually hers, but they want to steal it from her so they can use the wish to turn themselves into horrible gremlin-like demons. If the PCs decide to take it from her anyway, she's not that hard to defeat, and they now have a crystal with a single wish in it. They can either give it to the Wizzles, or they can be selfish and keep it for themselves. If they do give it to the Wizzles, well ....

Noon said:
... the wizzles wish themselves home with it. Because the first plot twist encountered does not automatically == true!

Couldn't resist!

BoldItalic said:
One more. Five minute's thought. Half an hour to type up and polish.

Scene: A little-used highway

  • You see a troop of cavalry approaching in the distance.
  • As they get nearer, you hear the clip-clop of hooves and the jingle of harnesses but the riders seem curiously stiff.
  • As they pass, you realise that they are all 2D cut-outs, with a front and a back but no thickness.
  • They do not respond to attempts to speak to them.
  • If you try to attack them, your weapons pass straight through without effect.
  • If it is an illusion, it must be a good one because you cannot dispel or disbelieve it.
  • A short time later, they turn aside from the road and enter a wood.

Assuming you follow them into the wood:

  • The riders are now nowhere to be seen but this is a dummy wood and the trees are all 2D cut-outs.
  • Moving deeper into the wood counts as difficult terrain because the trees get in the way but moving sideways between them is easy because they are all flat.
  • There are goblns hiding in the wood, using the trees as cover. They are normal goblins but they get advantage on surprise because they know how to hide.
  • The goblins attack but it is an easy encounter.
  • Each dead goblin has a few cp, a 3"x3" piece of cardboard dungeon tile and a section of cardboard dungeon wall or maybe a door.
  • If you get all the pieces and fit them together correctly, you will create a map of a small dungeon.
  • As you fit the last piece, you are magically teleported into the dungeon you have just constructed.

Inside the dungeon:

  • The boss monster is a real monster. It is a tough encounter.
  • Don't use fireballs to fight it. If you do, you will be trapped in a burning cardboard dungeon and perish.
  • On the map there was a secret room beyond the boss monster's room, so you know it is there but have to discover how to enter it.
  • In the secret room there is a locked and trapped chest.
  • In the chest is a pair of magic scissors that you will need, to cut your way out of this cardboard dungeon and escape.
  • Also in the chest is <insert quest item here>

sleypy said:
Locale: Forest

First Scene: Chance Encounter.

  • Divide the party between nature types and city dwellers.
  • Tell the city dwellers that there are rumors of treasue in the forest to the north.
  • Tell the nature types that they know stories of a Gorgantuan grick (or other create that works as both being highly lethal and a cryptid) that lives in the forest. That creature got its name because when it was smaller it somehow got a rare magic item lodge on it and because of it earned the nick name "Treasure."
  • Start the party introductions.

Second Scene: The Search for "Treasure". (Trash)

Since this creature is a local cryptid no one has ever really seen thing. It takes several days or weeks to find signs of the creature. Orc have also been searching for creatures nest because they believe it is female and they want to aquire the eggs or its young because of their value. This leads to there being many orcs in the area and it is likely at some point the party will run into a sizeable enough group that it possese a threat.

Final Scene: Not Enough "Treasure" For Everyone

Eventually the party is able to track down "Treasure", but in pursuit of "Treasure" they find signs that a large number of orcs also following the trail. If the party decide to continue in pursuit they will come upon the nest being defended by the abnormally large grick several orc bodies lay dead, but a large number of orcs remains. If the party stands back and watchs the Orcs will easily kill the Grick and then they will have to deal with the orcs if they still want the treasure. The grick has one trick up its sleeve, despite its low intelligence it has somehow manage to make use of the rare magic item lodge on one of its tentacles and will activate the item at some point during the combat. Perferably the magic item should have a daily power, have dramatic flare, and offer a good explination why it has been so difficult to locate (or at least explain why locals had discounted "Treasure" as really existing.)

Edit: I'm counting the potential of the solo creature to activate a rare daily magic item as a potential tpk trap.
 

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AlHazred said:
Yesterday's idea: 5 minutes' thought in the shower, ten minutes' thought while driving to work, thirty minutes' typing.

Schism

Theme: While the PCs are at a church (for healing, a mission, whatever), they witness an altercation between adherents.

Room 1: The Narthex: This is the entrance to the church. While the characters are there, they witness an altercation between two older gentlemen. One man is dressed in a white robe with gold trim, the other in brown robe with gray trim. The white robed man insists that the last act of Creation was to grant men free will first, and then imbued them with souls; the brown robed man insists the opposite, that the Creator of Men gave them souls first, and then free will. The argument seems to revolve around whether it is free will or spiritual energy that the Creator deemed more important.

While here, the characters will have to do the proper obeisances (t is GM's option as to what the proper gestures of respect should be, but the author favors ones that seem faintly ridiculous); a DC10 Wisdom (Religion) check informs the PCs that the two different factions favor slightly different (ridiculous) gestures of respect. Whichever form the PCs do, they have +2 with social rolls made against the favorable faction, and -2 with the other. If they do both, they have -4 with each faction -- they both hate poseurs who are obviously currying favor!

Room 2: The Nave: Inside the central room of the church, the characters will see a small groups of worshippers standing in little alcoves along the sides of the room. Each alcove depicts a different act of the god. Each group of worshippers wears either white robes with gold trim or brown robes with gray trim. The groups stand around and whisper; the room's acoustics amplify the individual words, but make it harder to make out what those words are.

Once the PCs get an acolyte to fetch their contact for them (social roll), they can wait around with the rest. Worshippers approach them in groups, trying (subtly or not) to determine where their beliefs lie in the souls/free will matter. The adherents should be intense and unsettling. Maybe the innkeeper who made funny jokes yesterday is now standing here wild-eyed; or the business-like alchemist who haggled over every potion is now standing on the podium making a fire-and-brimstone speech. Eventually, he PCs can see their contact, a priest in a blue robe, waiting in the sanctuary at the end of the long central room.

Room 3: The Sanctuary: The holiest part of the church, the sanctuary has a high, domed ceiling and a massive altar. At the back are doors to the private quarters and a closet with ceremonial objects. The priest contact is staying out of this growing factionalism; tellingly, he stands alone in the center while groups of acolytes stand at the outskirts of the room and mutter.

The players are about to conduct their business (or, kindly GMs can let them finish it first), one of the brown-robed acolytes comes out of nowhere and stabs the priest with a small knife. PCs are the only ones close enough to see any details, let them make PER rolls to see:
  • The small knife's blade is dark-colored, possibly coated in poison.
  • The assassin's robes are brown with gold trim. They don't exactly match either group's robes, but are "close enough" to fool casual glances.
  • The assassin is wearing a hasty disguise (face blackened with soot, puffed cheeks, etc.)

The assassin then teleports out (or dimension doors, or drops a smoke bomb and escapes under concealment, or what-have-you). A religious fanatic (though not of the church in question), he tries desperately not to let the PCs learn anything from him, killing himself if there's no other option.

Events should unfold accordingly. The groups, who have been increasingly hot-tempered because of rhetoric from a few people (who may secretly be agitators planted by rival churches), will go at each other. Each has armed itself against the other. The white-robed "Soulers" have vials of choking gas that they will throw when the altercation starts. The church is large, but not well-ventilated, and the vials are stronger than anticipated. The brown-robed "Willers" have tanglefoot bags that they start throwing around; they have not practiced aiming them, and the bags are heavier than expected, so many, many of these go wild. In combination, this will spell trouble as people are being prevented from leaving an enclosed place that is running out of breathable air. Since these groups got their accessories from others, this should indicate to the players that a malevolent force has arranged matters.

PCs must decide if they will fight in the sanctuary of the church (even if they win, and are in the right, fighting in the holiest of holies will ban them for life from these churches), if they will assault the adherents (all of whom are townsfolk they might need to patronize later -- especially problematic if it's a small town with only one smith/butcher/etc.), and what they will do about their contact. The terrain inside the church should be espcially difficult to fight normally in, with pews fastened to the floor, tall bronze lantern-holders, etc.
LxxVm0p.png
Ramzour said:
Bawylie, this thread idea is fantastic!

I haven't read through the thread yet but allow me to make a contribution.

The Noble Red Wedding.
The Heroes are invited to the wedding of a noble family.

1) The Simple Encounter: Sometime before the wedding ceremony there is an extravagent show featuring some exotic monster. However, during the entertainment, the monster escapes! The Heroes have to save the guests, protect the wedding party, and get the beast under control.

2) The Dangerous Encounter: After the wedding the bride's father gets assassinated by a rival noble house. Half of the wedding workers turn out to be undercover rivals as well! Chaos ensues. The Heroes must fight for their lives and bring the bridge and groom to safety.

3) The Plot Encounter: Somehow later on it is revealed (or strongely hinted) that the groom hired the assassins to kill his bride's father for political and power gain. Or maybe...maybe the groom was FRAMED! Which side to the Heroes pick? Will they try to prove the Groom innocent or guilty?

(Note: these are very rough ideas, but you did tell us to be quick about it! This one involves a lot of roleplaying but still has opportunity for a few combats.)
Cut out some conversation between [MENTION=54629]pukunui[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6776133]Bawylie[/MENTION] on stream-of-consciousness adventure writing.
Emerikol said:
The Lost Daughter

The party has stopped off at a local trading post to resupply when the propriator measuring them up mentions that one of his regulars has gone missing. If they could travel up a well worn path to the old hermits hut, he'll be glad to give them a discount on their supplies perhaps even free room and board. It is just a few miles up the path and the group spots an old ramshackle hut. You hear a squealing sound coming from the hut.

As they approach the hut, a hound will leap from the brush and come at the group. This is the easy challenge. They can kill the animal but if they merely subdue it they will note a collar indicating the dog belongs to the hermit. (At some point the name was given at the trading post).

The hut is covered on all sides with various holy symbols that have been nailed into the old wood. The hut's door is wide open and inside they note that a third of the floor opposite the entrance has collapsed leaving a gaping dark hole. A ladder lies at an odd angle to one side of the hole as if it had be unexpectedly dropped. In another part of the room, a wire runs between two walls and half a dozen rats are tied by their tails from the wire. They are squealing angrily but they seem trapped.

If most of the party crosses directly to the hole or approaches the rats, the floor will collapse dropping them twenty feet into a cellar like room below. Due to a sizable number of sharpened wooden stakes in the cellar below roll and additional 2d6 of damage. (Based on the groups level you can up or lower the amount of junk and it's sharpness). The floor will not collapse under the weight of one character it will require at least three. If the party is observant they will note that a trap door fell into the cellar when the floor collapsed.

In the cellar below, a vampire spawn (CR 5 in Pathfinder) will approach them. The creature appears to have formerly been a young girl. She is dressed in a fancy dress as if about ready to go to town. She will attack ravenously the party.

If the party survives they will find an old hermit drained of blood. He was carrying a journal. Apparently a vampire had been plaguing the hermit for some time. The girl was his daughter and she had been bitten by the vampire and he didn't have the heart to stake her. He was feeding her rats to keep her alive and he'd put up the holy symbols to keep her master at bay. When the floor collapsed he was too badly injured to fend her off as she fed on him.

sailoroswald said:
I've got the start of one of these, so let's see if I can flesh it out.

The PCs are charged with locating an artifact that is long-rumored to be in a cave in the middle of a dangerous sea.

Part One: Surviving the Dread Storm Sea

As all of these adventures tend to go, sailing to the cave is no easy matter - it IS the Dread Storm Sea. PCs have to navigate through violent, storm-torn waters or risk falling overboard, losing their ship, and whatever other horrible things you could imagine happening.

Part Two: The Cave

Having successfully sailed their ship, the PCs must now explore the fabled cave to find the artifact. Some semi-aquatic (or merely cave-dwelling) creatures should serve as this area's easy encounter.

Part Three: The Artifact and the Beast

The PCs find themselves at the end of cave. This room appears to have a giant dilapidated statue coming out from a lake. A portion of the statue outside of the water holds the artifact the group has been searching for. Removing the artifact causes the hard encounter to begin - the statue was actually a monster under a spell and will immediately attack the players.


Obviously the end of this leaves it open for a few interpretations. Either the monster was put there to guard the item, or perhaps the item (along with the nasty sea the PCs travelled) were there to keep the monster in check.

Thanks for the cool idea, Bawylie. I'm definitely going to use this kind of set up a lot more for my games.

AlHazred said:
What, that's it? Need to bump this thing, maybe...

Let's see, five minutes' thought...
The Sinkhole

Theme: A sinkhole has opened up on a nearby farm, and weird things have been reported coming out and attacking people.

Room 1: The Sinkhole: It opens up right outside a (now-deserted) farmhouse, having swallowed the house's vegetable garden. It's about twenty to thirty feet across and shows signs of growing; a chunk falls off of the edge as the PCs stand around gawking at it. The one side has reached the farmhouse itself, and is starting to expose portions of the foundation. Looking down, the party can see a structure down there, lit by a weird green glow -- some sort of shrine? While they're distracted by the sinkhole, purple-skinned newt-men sneak out of the house (they've been looting it) and attack them with ornate bronze spears. They're more goofy than really dangerous.

Room 2: The Shrine: Getting to the bottom of the sinkhole (Zing!) is a somewhat difficult task. The party can fasten ropes to the farmhouse or some other nearby structure (the well?) but the sides crumble away as they do, making for uncertain footing. The shrine is to some weird deity of underground water sources. The worm-god idol is carved in a strange wiggly pose, holding an ewer in its mouth-tentacles that continually spouts a stream of water into a basin. The basic outflow pipe jammed and the water overflowed, causing the erosion that enlarged the cavern it's in and led to the sinkhole-collapse. The fallen rocks have blocked off whatever passages once led to and from the shrine. Shards of purple-gem-encrusted stone litter the edges of the shrine; they look like the remnants of really big geodes. Further examination reveals that they've apparently broken from the inside -- these are the "eggs" the newt-men hatched from. The writing on the walls is in alien, untranslatable hieroglyphics. No records have any reference to the shrine, its builders, or the writings. The whole thing should be a weird mystery. The party can take the decanter of endless water and some weird purple gemstones as treasure.

Room 3: The Return: When they get back to their ropes, they find the sinkhole has crumbled further -- the whole thing will probably collapse within days. While they're making their ascent, more newt-men attack -- this is a large war-party that just got back from patrol. While the party has difficulty negotiating the crumbling shaft, the newt-men do it easily because they have suckers on their hands and feet. Some newt-men attack the party from ambush. As a group, they're not dumb -- other newt-men try to cut the ropes while the party's distracted by the assault. This might cause party members to glom onto their allies' ropes, overburdening them. Should be a tense fitght with hazardous terrain.
bu7Hb21.png

kalil said:
The Den of Lavish Pleasure

Theme: The characters have just returned from a dungeon delve and are enjoying the spoils of their adventurous efforts at a fine establishment for . erm. carnal activities. Suddenly a blood curling scream is heard from the upper floor. Before the characters can react three burly men step up and blocks the stairway leading up to the private chambers.

Room 1: The Lounge: The working girls are panicing, guests are scurring to get out before the long arm of the law arrives. Three brutes are blocking the way up. Roll initiative!

Room 2: Upper floor: There are several small wooden doors from a single corridor, each opens into rooms where the occupants are desperatly trying to reassamble their clothing. In one of the rooms an enfuriated noble draws a rapier and moves to attack his presumed attackers (despite not wearing any pants). Deal with it!

Room 3: The murder scene: When they find the source of the scream they find the corpse of a nobleman (a Streetwise check to realize he is a close relative to the royal family) and a crying prostitute. She hastily blurts out that she has finally found the bastard that killed her sister and taken her revenge. Capture her? Or help her escape justice?

BoldItalic said:
On The Other Hand

A tribe of weak and inoffensive goblins is being plagued by vicious paladins and they hire you to advise them on how to defend their lair.

Task 1: using materials and manpower available, organize defensive walls, ditches and traps around the entrance to the goblins' cave complex. When you are satisfied you have done all you can, an arrogant paladin (plate mail, shield, holy +1 sword) will come galloping up and attack. Take him down.

Task 2: Organize goblin scouts to watch the woods around the caves and report, by means of whatever signalling system you devise, any approaching paladins. When you are satisfied you have done all you can, a more cautious paladin accompanied by a ranger and a druid will be reported approaching. Take them down.

Task 3: Organize an in-depth defense of the cave complex with drawbridges, sliding walls, trenches, spear-throwers, oil, reserves, cover, lines of retreat, the lot. When you think you have done all you can, defend the caves against a tough-encounter's-worth of paladins who will be accompanied by a mage.

Remember, you are there to defend the goblins and they are not expendable. For every goblin killed in the attacks, you lose 10xp.

sailoroswald said:
That Weekend in Pompeii
An island. A girl. A cult. A volcano ready to blow. Vacations are the best, aren't they?

Part One: Seems you can take the adventurer out of the adventure, but you can't take the adventure out of the adventurer. The party's trip to a small island goes all kinds of bad when the local volcano begins to act up. A cult offshoot of the local religion believes their god resides inside volcano, and believe the recent activity is an act of the god's displeasure. A sacrafice must be made. They grab a young female virgin (what's with the virgin thing, anyway?), and begin to ascend the volcano.

When the party attempts to follow the villains, a few cult members stay behind to slow them down. Mow the robed weirdos down for an easy encounter.

Part Two: All right, back on track. The cult's not too far ahead, so the party should be able to catch up to them. Except the climb up the mountain is getting steeper, and steam geysers are popping up all over the place as the volcano builds up heat. And if that wasn't enough excitement for the heroes, the shaking has begun to dislodge boulders and send them down the mountainside.

The party has a quick skill challenge to avoid the geysers and the boulders, hopefully not taking much damage in the process.

Part Three: It seems the cult members couldn't drag that virgin (seriously with the virgins) up the mountain quick enough. The volcano erupts, with lava spilling out and over the moutain. It appears the cult still plans on tossing the young girl into the mouth of volcano, but there's also a whole town below that needs help with its evacuation.

Does the party save the girl and hope the town can take care of itself? Sacrafice one to save the many? Split up to tackle both issues? Or do they just leave and try to forget all about this horrible vacation?


EDIT: I apologise for the awful humor.
 

...
sailoroswald said:
Feeling inspired, and I want to keep this thread alive. So...

The Garden and the Crypt
The party must infiltrate a noble's home during a party to recover a map to the item they are searching for.

1. On the List: The party must find a way inside the nobleman's house party. Whether it's stealing/forging invitations, bribing/bluffing the doormen, or whatever. It's a masquerade party, and there's obviously a large cooking staff on hand, so disguises and bluffs are definitely plausible.

2. Feed Me Seymour: An expansive garden rests between the mansion and the crypt the party is searching for. The garden is almost mazelike, with large exotic plants and flowers creating passages that must be navigated. The center of the garden (where the heroes will inevitably travel) hosts the nobleman's prized piece: a massive venus flytrap of sorts. What the nobleman has been too pressed to notice however, is that the plant has sprouted two extra "mouths" (bringing the total to three), and has eaten the gardener. The plant will attempt to slam and eat the party members.

3. Wake the Dead: Once out of the garden, the party will come upon the crypt they've been searching for. The crypt is a ruse - the noble's family has its own private burial grounds on another site. The crypt is actually a vault for the family valuables. a few skeletal guards are inside, but not much trouble. Besides the map, there are precious gems, jewelry, and art inside; along with land deeds (that are so old as to be unknown to the living members of the noble house). Chests of gold can be found, but are extremely heavy and rigged to set off an alarm if moved (not too mention how suspicious lugging around one of those chests would be).


My players would love the deeds - they really want character rewards like that. But they're also mostly newbies, so I suspect they'd still want to try to take off with the gold chests.

BoldItalic said:
This one popped out of the "ten random words" method. It suffers from railroading but might be adaptable.

Dishonest Trader

1. In a tavern, the PCs overhear some local traders talking amongst themselves. There is resentment because their caravans are often robbed by brigands but wagons belonging to Nomalus Brink seem to be immune and he is prospering while they lose money. If the PCs ask people about Nomalus Brink, they get uncomfortable. As the PCs leave the tavern later, they are waylaid by a band of thugs who threaten them and tell them that Mr. Brink doesn't like people sticking their noses into his business. If they get into a fight with the thugs, watchmen will arrive and detain them while the thugs run off. The town watch is in the pay of Nomalous Brink. The PCs are ordered to leave town on the next caravan.

2. A caravan is leaving the next morning. The PCs join it. Some of the wagons are Brink's and they seem to be mostly empty. Other wagons, belonging to other traders, are less empty. On the road, brigands attack and the caravan guards put up only token resistance. If the PCs decide to fight the brigands, the guards will distract them while the brigands run off empty-handed. Otherwise, the brigands will rob some of the wagons and haul the goods away but make remarks like "Leave that one. We don't take those." pointing to Brink's wagons. It looks as if Brink is in league with the Brigands.

3. If the PCs trail the brigands to their nearby lair and attack, they will have a tough fight because there are lots of brigands and they are on their home ground. Assuming the PCs defeat them, or if they manage to sneak in without a fight, they can examine the warehouse. There are wagon-loads of cargo in there which have had the traders' marks partly erased and replaced with Brink's own trade mark. If the last brigand surendered and can be interrogated, or if a PC eavesdrops on brigands talking, they will discover that the remarked goods were to be delivered to a point down the road where the next caravan would collect them and load them into Brink's half-empty wagons.

It is now up to the players to work out what is going on and do something about it if they want to.

BoldItalic said:
For this one, I used the random word generator from http://www.textfixer.com/html/ and picked ideas from the 36 plots in http://www.fanpop.com/external/10070

Noah's Ark

Setting: A half-built noah's ark, prominently visible in a hilltop in the coutryside.

NPCs: Pallin Habit, the deranged builder of the ark, and his half-witted assistant Dence.

1. Pallin is obsessed with collecting mated pairs of every species. He has instructed Dence to collect a male and female giant cobra to take aboard his ark. Dence has two giant cobras in a bag but doesn't know if they are males or females. Pallin isn't satisfied. He offers to reward the PCs if they can resolve the matter. They can't examine the cobras unless they open the bag but if they open the bag the cobras will attack.

2. Pick one of the PCs at random. Pallin has already captured an NPC of the same class but opposite gender. The captive is chained up in a cage in the hold of the ark. Pallin needs to find it a mate. He decides that this one will do. With a wave of Pallin's staff, the hapless PC is teleported into the cage inside the ark. The other PCs don't know where he or she has gone but obviously Pallin is responsible. Palin is a high-level cleric and if the remaining PCs attack, it will be a tough fight.

3. Inside the ark there are many interlocking cages, mostly full of wild animals. Releasing the captured PC will require opening a sequence of the cages. This will release at least some of the animals, some of which are too dangerous to fight. The solution is to open the cages in the right sequence allowing some animals to eat other animals. While the dangerous beasts are thus distracted, the two captives can be released. The released PC must save vs Charisma or fall helplessly in love with the fellow captive.

pukunui said:
Inspired by the Adventure Time episode entitled "Dad's Dungeon"


Intro: A relative of one of the PCs was a powerful wizard who disappeared some years ago. The PCs unexpectedly come across a device containing a magically recorded message from the relative. In the message, he explains that he has created a dungeon especially for the PC and his/her friends, in order to test their mettle, with the reward for success being a powerful weapon infused with demon's blood (at this point, a crackling noise like flames can be heard, then a demon's voice growling something in Abyssal, followed by the relative saying something in Abyssal that results in the demon apparently disappearing). The message also includes directions to the dungeon.

1. ARE YOU FEELING HUNGRY, SON?
The entrance to the dungeon is a hole in the ground hidden beneath a boulder. The hole leads to a rubble and bone-filled dungeon room with several piles (one for each PC) of whatever it is the PCs are most hungry for. As they get closer, the piles animate and attack. They are relatively easy to beat, however. The exit to the room is a shaky archway supported by a stone column that could collapse, bringing down the archway with it, if it is bumped too hard.

In the hallway on the far side is a creepy-looking altar in a niche. On the altar is another of the magical recording devices with another message for the PCs from the dead relative. In this message, he instructs the related PC to turn around and cover his/her ears, then informs the other PCs that his relative is a big baby and needs to toughen up. The PCs can make of that as they will.

2. ARE YOU SURE YOU'RE NOT HUNGRY?
After trekking through the dungeon for a while, the PCs come to a point where the corridor branches. Down the left path, there's a rather pathetic-looking tentacle monster sitting in a pile of its own gross juices. The path to the right is filled with a cloud of swirling flowers surrounded by a warm, inviting glow. If the PCs head for the right path, the tentacle monster expresses its disappointment. They can talk to it, try to make it feel better (or worse), or ignore it. If they attack it, it doesn't fight back. If they choose the monster's path, it leads them back out of the dungeon. If they go down the flower-filled path, they end up in a large, brightly lit room -- there's a big table in the middle of the room laid out with an inviting-looking feast of fruits and berries and nuts, plus sparkling white wine in crystal flutes. There are also three beautiful nymph-like creatures floating around the room; when they spot the PCs, they invite them to join them and partake of the fruit.

This room is a potentially deadly trap. The whole thing is an illusion: if any PC is able to see through it, they see that it's actually only dimly lit, with dead leaves floating around instead of flowers; the food is rotten, the furniture broken, and the nymphs are actually horrible hag-like creatures. Any PC who fails to see through the illusion is subject to a charm spell from the creatures, who entice them to eat the fruit. Anyone who does eat the fruit becomes paralyzed as strong vines wrap around their body. The affected PC has a few rounds to fight off the magical transformation; if they fail, they turn into a giant apple (that is oddly made up of flesh and bone on the inside) and the creatures move in to feed. To escape, the PCs have to fight off the hag-like creatures while climbing the far wall.

3. I'M PROUD OF YOU, SON!
After escaping the hags, the PCs come to a large, two-tiered hall with lots of doors leading off into various corridors and antechambers and such. There are broken statues and various other bits of detritus strewn all around. Down on the ground floor is another recording device, next to a large crack in the wall. The final recording once again asks the related PC to not listen, while the relative once again informs the others that the PC is a big baby; then it explains that there's a giant beast guarding the weapon. As the relative's voice is explaining this, the PCs can hear it get cut off with a blood-curdling scream (the wizard was killed while trying to finish the dungeon; not much of a twist, I know ...).

The crack in the wall leads to a giant unlit cavern, with a small shaft of light beaming down onto a pile of rocks with the magic weapon chained to it. As any PC heads towards it, a giant beholder-like beast with no head-stalks, just one giant crystalline eye, and two arms with giant clawed hands looms out of the darkness and starts attacking. Only the related PC can free the weapon from its chains, and the beast's only real "vulnerable spot" is its eye. There is another recording in the cavern, this one praising the PC for his/her bravery and skill.

Shortly after the PCs leave the dungeon, the demon whose blood is infused in the magic weapon appears in a burst of flame, demanding (in Abyssal) that its blood be returned to it. The PCs can either fight it or, if they're clever, recite (or play back) the words the relative spoke to banish it back to the Abyss. Either way, the demon is defeated and returns to the Abyss with a howl of rage.

AlHazred said:
What's this? The thread fell off the front page? I feel the need to bump it. Just came up with this one, let's see how it plays out.
Magic Shop Mayhem

Theme: The party goes to a sage about some items they found, gets more than they expected.

1: The Shop: The party has acquired a couple of unknown items during their last adventure, and either want help identifying them or want to sell them for cash. The locals direct them to Hamron's House of Wonders, the shop of the local kook. The party finds a two-story barn, decorated with all manner of weird banners, carved stonework recovered from ruins, weird metal symbols, and the like. Inside, Hamron is a weird fellow, wearing a different outlandish outfit every time the party meets him ("This is a ceremonial smock and mask of the funerary priests of ancient Smagdar! Notice the orc-skin gloves and glowing eyeshades! Aren't they exquisite?") The party shows him the items and talks to him about them for a few minutes. The shop front is full of weird doodads of all description, crammed on shelves that teeter to the top of the ceiling twenty feet above. A back area is bioarded off from the store front, accessed by a curtained entryway behind the counter. Hamron's apprentices bustle about, cleaning and polishing statues or dusting shelves.

The player characters can explore the shelves while waiting. Most of the items are just strange, or magical in a way not really useful to the party. The GM can describe funerary guardian statues with curses on them (clearly marked as such and confined inside small magic circles), inhuman skulls that speak riddles in obscure languages, magic staffs that dance (accompanied by dancing lights) when a tune is sung in their presence, obelisks inscribed with prophecies, pixie/snyad/imp corpses preserved in formaldehyde jars, funerary urns containing the ashes (and possibly imprisoning the spirits) of a dozen necromancer-kings of a long-vanished empire, a dragon's eye that swivels around and watches passers-by, a blinded captive harpy sings in a sound-proof cage, etc.

2: The Accident: One of the apprentices, who has been dusting shelves, suddenly sneezes due to having inhaled thunderbird dust. Magically enhanced by minute amounts of magic potion reagents the apprentice has accidentally inhaled earlier, the sneeze becomes a thunderous boom that rocks the shop. Cursed statues and unholy icons wobble precariously; Hamron watches open-mouthed in shock as a chain reaction of falling relics begins on the overstocked shelves. No matter where the PCs are in the shop, the teetering shelves threaten to drop potentially cursed items on everyone's heads. Moderate to hard Dex (Sleight of Hand) and Intelligence (Arcana) checks can be called for to avoid or save falling debris or identify the worst problems; easy to moderate Wisdom saves might be called upon for curses (many of them have weakened due to years of imprisonment and fading magical power; similarly, easy to moderate Constitution saves might be necessary to avoid weird side effects from inhaling mixed magical powders/ashes of ancient kings/astral dust, or getting doused by a combination of noxious potions, but being stored in poor conditions for a long period of time should have reduced or eliminated most of the harmful effects. This encounter should be played at least somewhat for comedy.

3: The Disaster: Unbenownst to Hamron and his apprentices, the shaking has done more serious damage. In the back room, the sarcophagus of an ancient evil warlord has cracked, releasing him from the sigils that used to confine him. After he rises as a wight in the musty confines of the over-stuffed back room, he summons his three shadow lieutenants and proceeds to slaughter the people in the front room to raise them as the beginnings of his undead horde. After the havoc of the Accident, can the player characters deal with a real Terror Out of the Past? The fight in the front room should result in further disruption of the objects on the shelves, though this time canny players might use what they learned of the contents to their advantage in fighting the warlord.
PsI9UAV.png

BoldItalic said:
Scene: a traditional dungeon, all twisty tunnels and huge caverns, known to be inhabited by an ancient red dragon and her kobold servants.

Room One: A huge cavern occupied by a fearsome red dragon. If attacked strongly, it will be defeated surprisingly easily. It was really just a kobold, with a kobold's stats, covered by an illusion to try to scare away intruders.

Room Two: A room filled with bubbling cauldrons, mysterious machines and invisible magic trigger beams. Anyone entering is liable to be polymorphed into a kobold, with kobold stats and no memory of ever having been anything other than a kobold servant.

Room Three: An antechamber. There are huge double doors at the far end with a sign above them saying "Treasure Vault. No admittance to kobolds except on duty". In the antechamber there are three kobold servants who make a pathetic attempt to stop you approaching the vault doors and combat ensues. One of them is surprisingly tough because it is actually the red dragon, with all its stats and powers intact. This is revealed in the 2nd round of combat, after you are committed. The vault doors are false. The real treasure vault is under the floor.

Magi_theKid said:
Best thread ever. Can I hope that it will be remade in the new forums?

My Attempt:
The Bladeyard

Scene: Traveling through a forest, the PC's encounter a run down cottage in a wide clearing, connected to a low stone wall surrounding a what appears to be a graveyard. In the center is a stone ruins. Instead of headstones, there are what appear to be hundreds of rusty swords.

Trash Encounter: Zombies!
Attempting to enter the graveyard without going through the cottage (there is no gate, but the PC's can see that there is a way through the cottage) causes several zombies to rise and attack. They are ancient dusty things, barely able to hold themselves together and are dispatched with haste. It almost looksl like they've already been damaged before. The Swords are immovably heavy, though they do not sink into the ground. They seem to be stuck in place through magic. The ruins reveal nothing worth noting but that they probably were once a stone Mausaleum.

Dangerous Trap: Rigged Magic Circle
Entering the cottage, the PC's can clearly see a bronze magic circle inlaid around the backdoor leading into the graveyard. Runes in an ancient language warn that the players need only touch it with their flesh to activate it. (A nice poem that rhymes even in Common would be good. Off the top of my head: "That flesh living be a candle to the grave ridden, that life's faintest kiss be to ancient metal given.") A decent intelligence based check reveals that it is a dimensional door. Perception reveals faint runes all over the walls attached to the circle, and a what appears to be former person ash in the corners. Activating the circle without deactivating the runes (scuffing is all that is really necessary, though that might be dangerous too depending on how mean you want to be) causes a highly damaging necrotic chain lightning attacks. Dex saves.

Set Piece: Necromancer!
Going through the dimensional door shows a small pocket universe. The grass is gree, the swords are all shiny and new, and the stone Mausaleum is still standing. However, the world outside is grey and colorless, and there is no way to go outside of the stone wall or back out the door. Making too much noise or exploring the stone structure causes a wild eyed wizard to rush out of it and scream maddened profanities at them. He gives no quarter and attacks without hesitating, raising several fresh zombies which look oddly familiar. It's a tough fight as the wizard is completely insane and doesn't mind blasting his entire salvo of spells at the players in short order. He doesn't think too clearly, though and the swords can easily be tripped over if one is distracted.

The Mausaleum contains madness grafitti all over, but persistent searching reveals some minor magical trinkets, a history of the graveyard, and the wizard's journal. The journal reveals that the necromancer initially planned to use the graveyard as a pocket dimension to do tests with his magic, but while he was setting up initially, he accidentally locked himself in. The gate can only be activated from the other side. An arcana check might reveal that the wizard's death might very well weaken the spell that he set up or you can come up with any number of ways that they short circuit the spell and cause it to fail.

NOTE: This took me waaay longer than five minutes to work out, though I probably had the basic idea done in like 10. I kept getting interrupted. I haven't DM'd for year, though I'm about to start a Gamma World game, so this is a good exercise.
 





Bawylie

A very OK person
The idea and ground rules were mine, but the individual contributions came from many, many different posters. I have no specific ownership over the lot.
 


Do these need the owner changed to [MENTION=6776133]Bawylie[/MENTION]?
If you like! Makes no neverminds to me! I just wanted to make sure it was saved, as it represents a good bit of work.

Actually, now that I think about it, the whole thread represents only about an hour's work, in five minute increments. But it's a really good hour...

Really, what I need is the AlHazred handle. I thought that was also mine on here from a while back, but I can't seem to log into it...

Wow thanks for moving this over. I think we're going to need to take a 5E pass at these.
Eh, I think generic is fine. We already have a book of monster stats, after all...
 

Tom B1

Explorer
Crypt of Earth

Hook: People have been disappearing from the local village and surrounds. The party has an NPC they have met and had a positive relationship with disappear. The party sets out to locate the missing NPC.

They find earth at the scene that differs, eventually they can identify the earth as 'grave earth', particular in that it has residues of embalming chemicals and may have a bit of a dark aura. A bit of plant material mixed in suggests a local abandoned graveyard (now fairly boggy). The party heads there to look for their friend.

Room 1: Graveyard Proper
Appearance: Standing and fallen headstones, some half-way from one state to the other. An earthy, rotting vegetation smell mixed with the smell of some embalming chemicals. There is a creepy feeling - the area is too quiet.
Encounter: Bodies rise, half decayed, and attack the party. These zombies are fairly normal, except the stench of them makes the players make a difficult save vs. becoming Nauseated when within 10' of them.
Aftermath: The players find one of the zombies is one of the recently missing villagers, but this cemetary hasn't been in use since it got flooded two decades ago...

2. The Crypt

A bit more searching reveals a stone crypt that appears to stand a foot out of the bog on a stone base. The front doors are chained shut. The rear reveals a set of doors that are also locked, but the lock appears to be missing. The noise of the entry alerts the threats hereafter.
The Crypt features many drawers and sarcophagi holding the dead. Here again, the zombies rise when the party arrives. However, the zombies are simply the anchor. When they are fully engaged with the party, a section of the floor will become permeable, and dark tentacles will grab one of the PCs and drag them below the floor with the floor solidifying afterwards. Every third round, one of these abductions will repeat.

If the players finally slay the last zombies, they will recognize that one of them appears to have been the former heir apparent to the family in the crypt (family images are graven around the crypt). What will also become apparent from the body is that it was marked with unspeakable runes tatooed onto the flesh - horrible, dark magics that man was never meant to know.

Looking in his sarcophagi, they will find a broken silver chain and lock.

There is a secret door in the chamber....

3. Under the Crypt

Appearance: The narrow stair opens into a low ceiling room. The room walls squirm in dark torrents... the floor looks like the darkness of a starlit sky... and a pit at the center seems to be filled with dark sludge. The missing PCs are currently slowly sinking into the dark sludge fairly quickly, encased in a blackish hard resin casing.

As the party tries to drag their party members out, they will find themselves poisoned by the sludge, a tough save or become very sluggish (lowered DEX, Initiative, and doubled casting times). Those not rescued will sink into the sludge and be gone at the end of the 4th round. Players can test 1/round and extract the victim 25%. Each failed test loses 25% (sinking!). When 4 failures have happened (a round with no attempt is an auto failure) the person is gone. 4 Successes in succession extracts the victim.

Meanwhile, the disembodied spirit of the corrupted heir, driven mad by study of knowledge man was not meant to pursue, will attack the players, appearing and striking first if he wins initiative and then disappearing (those that act before him may try to damage him). When he disappears, he phases between dimensions and is not vulnerable. In the time between the start of the round he begins to emerge, to the point of his initiative (when his attack is resolved and he fades out), he is vulnerable.

He should be a challenge gauged to the number of characters. He should constitute a hard encounter for the all of the players who enterd the graveyard. That ought to make him deadly versus those who have not been encapsulated in resin for delivery to the eldritch dimensions.
His attacks are a mix of tentacle strikes (high strength, can knockdown, can disarm) and twisted effects (fear, nausea, exhaustion) for those within 5' of him (save to avoid). He fades out every round to reappear the next round (reappearing up to 30' away) and always trying to come at an isolated or unaware party member. Unless everone has their back to a team-mate or something solid, he'll get a chance to surprise.

If he is defeated, the horrific aspects of the under crypt area disappear. He leaves no body. Characters sunk beneath the sludge are lost to horrible fates.

In a dark corner of the room, a stone moved reveals a tome bound in human skin. It is full of knowledge man was not meant to know (necromantic, mind bending, you name it). It can grant an arcane caster an extra spell of each level from the list of freaky, horrific stuff it contains. The cost is a slow corruption of the character that will culminate with madness.

In the third round
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Crypt of Earth

Hook: People have been disappearing from the local village and surrounds. The party has an NPC they have met and had a positive relationship with disappear. The party sets out to locate the missing NPC.

They find earth at the scene that differs, eventually they can identify the earth as 'grave earth', particular in that it has residues of embalming chemicals and may have a bit of a dark aura. A bit of plant material mixed in suggests a local abandoned graveyard (now fairly boggy). The party heads there to look for their friend.

Room 1: Graveyard Proper
Appearance: Standing and fallen headstones, some half-way from one state to the other. An earthy, rotting vegetation smell mixed with the smell of some embalming chemicals. There is a creepy feeling - the area is too quiet.
Encounter: Bodies rise, half decayed, and attack the party. These zombies are fairly normal, except the stench of them makes the players make a difficult save vs. becoming Nauseated when within 10' of them.
Aftermath: The players find one of the zombies is one of the recently missing villagers, but this cemetary hasn't been in use since it got flooded two decades ago...

2. The Crypt

A bit more searching reveals a stone crypt that appears to stand a foot out of the bog on a stone base. The front doors are chained shut. The rear reveals a set of doors that are also locked, but the lock appears to be missing. The noise of the entry alerts the threats hereafter.
The Crypt features many drawers and sarcophagi holding the dead. Here again, the zombies rise when the party arrives. However, the zombies are simply the anchor. When they are fully engaged with the party, a section of the floor will become permeable, and dark tentacles will grab one of the PCs and drag them below the floor with the floor solidifying afterwards. Every third round, one of these abductions will repeat.

If the players finally slay the last zombies, they will recognize that one of them appears to have been the former heir apparent to the family in the crypt (family images are graven around the crypt). What will also become apparent from the body is that it was marked with unspeakable runes tatooed onto the flesh - horrible, dark magics that man was never meant to know.

Looking in his sarcophagi, they will find a broken silver chain and lock.

There is a secret door in the chamber....

3. Under the Crypt

Appearance: The narrow stair opens into a low ceiling room. The room walls squirm in dark torrents... the floor looks like the darkness of a starlit sky... and a pit at the center seems to be filled with dark sludge. The missing PCs are currently slowly sinking into the dark sludge fairly quickly, encased in a blackish hard resin casing.

As the party tries to drag their party members out, they will find themselves poisoned by the sludge, a tough save or become very sluggish (lowered DEX, Initiative, and doubled casting times). Those not rescued will sink into the sludge and be gone at the end of the 4th round. Players can test 1/round and extract the victim 25%. Each failed test loses 25% (sinking!). When 4 failures have happened (a round with no attempt is an auto failure) the person is gone. 4 Successes in succession extracts the victim.

Meanwhile, the disembodied spirit of the corrupted heir, driven mad by study of knowledge man was not meant to pursue, will attack the players, appearing and striking first if he wins initiative and then disappearing (those that act before him may try to damage him). When he disappears, he phases between dimensions and is not vulnerable. In the time between the start of the round he begins to emerge, to the point of his initiative (when his attack is resolved and he fades out), he is vulnerable.

He should be a challenge gauged to the number of characters. He should constitute a hard encounter for the all of the players who enterd the graveyard. That ought to make him deadly versus those who have not been encapsulated in resin for delivery to the eldritch dimensions.
His attacks are a mix of tentacle strikes (high strength, can knockdown, can disarm) and twisted effects (fear, nausea, exhaustion) for those within 5' of him (save to avoid). He fades out every round to reappear the next round (reappearing up to 30' away) and always trying to come at an isolated or unaware party member. Unless everone has their back to a team-mate or something solid, he'll get a chance to surprise.

If he is defeated, the horrific aspects of the under crypt area disappear. He leaves no body. Characters sunk beneath the sludge are lost to horrible fates.

In a dark corner of the room, a stone moved reveals a tome bound in human skin. It is full of knowledge man was not meant to know (necromantic, mind bending, you name it). It can grant an arcane caster an extra spell of each level from the list of freaky, horrific stuff it contains. The cost is a slow corruption of the character that will culminate with madness.

In the third round

Pretty wild and horrifying! I wouldn’t want to go in without a reliable cleric.
 

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