Friday, January 13, 2023

#Dungeon 23 week 2

[Direct from my zine-formatted rewrite/draft.]

0108 Auditorium

No light source. This empty, half-circle chamber descends toward a central dais by means of tiered benches. Sound carries exceptionally well in this room. Three stone buttons are on the wall behind the dais. Pushing them in any combination plays back an illusion, recreating a stored lecture. A three-armed blue humanoid pontificates in an alien language. If deciphered, a listener gets +1 INT after one minute. (A character only gets this benefit once, and the message/effect can’t be interpreted for others. It’s too complex.) The subject is a higher form of mathematics. The listener will see glowing shapes drawn in the air by the blue hands. After 15 minutes of watching, any character who understands the words being spoken must make a WIL check. On a fail, they are filled with a uncontrollable rage and will attack anyone in sight with whatever is in their hands for three turns or until they take half their hp in damage.

Level -1a Grotto of Higher Mysteries

0109 Glittering Hallway

No light source. An angular tunnel of dry, glittery, sandstone leads to a locked, lead-covered door. All the walls in this area (through 0111) are the same and none are parallel to any other within sight! 

0110 Star Entity

A pulsing, crystalline form hovers at one end of the room over a circular black void/hole. The hovering crystal is vaguely star-shaped. When characters enter, the star speaks loudly (!) in their brains: “Those who seek knowledge need only ask!” Conversing with the entity works like a Contact Higher Plane spell (plane 7). If a character goes “insane” it means they slavishly do the star’s bidding. The star will place a geas on them to seek out some esoteric bit of knowledge. Characters may Save vs. Spells once a month to try and shrug off the star’s influence, but until they do they must follow up on any clue that presents itself re: their star-given quest. Example quests: discover the three means of trapping the demon Ventrifurniculus. Tell me what lies at the bottom of the bottomless starry pit. What are the blue mummy’s last words? These questions shouldn’t mean much to players - but clues might be uncovered as the delve continues! If a player manages to find an answer, it is immediately transmitted to the star, which then vacates their brain.

0111 Star Food Cache

One of these rooms a) contains a number of silver globes 8-14” in diameter. They feel solid, but are too light to be actual silver. They are the star entity’s food. Hammer strikes (or similar) will cause them to break open and spew a glittery dust all over the room. Save vs. Poison or have CON reduced by 1 due to having these particles in one’s lungs. Room b) contains a small pool of swirling, opaque gold liquid. It smells like baked apples with hint of cinnamon. This is the star’s drink. It works like acid on flesh (d6 external, d10 if swallowed) but will not dissolve inorganic material. At the bottom of the pool is a glass vial containing a potion of three wishes.

0112 Like a Bridge Over Troubled Lava  

A stone bridge arches smoothly over a running river of lava. There is a 1-in-6 chance that fire imps are cavorting in the lava. If so, they will hurl flaming balls at any who cross and cackle with glee. The fairies can’t be killed but can be driven off with cold or by some other clever means. Hurl fire +3, d6 fire damage and a 1-in-6 chance of catching a resource on fire (e.g. arrows, backpack, cloak, etc.)

Level -1b Priest Dormitorium

Beyond the bridge all walls are of red-glazed brick. Any wandering monster encounter should use this table:

  1. 1d6 Expired Priests (9 total, keep track). These strange three-armed beings are silent, gaunt, three-armed figures with taught bluish-gray skin. They look undead but aren’t - they have just moved into some sort of walking hibernation from which they may or may not be able to recover. They will ignore interlopers until attacked or their things are disturbed. They will not engage in physical combat, but rather cast spells appropriate to the nuisance caused by any campaigners. Flavor their spells as psionic attacks: for instance, Cause Fear should feel like an overwhelming sense of dread and the priest’s milky-green eyes will suddenly seem large and locked onto the player.

    Expired Blue Priest: AC 13, HD 6*, Spell attacks only, Move 90’, Save as Cleric 6, Morale 7, XP 10. Spells: Darkness, Cause Fear, Silence 15’, Hold Person, Cause Disease, Cause Serious Wounds.
  2. 1d6 Bone Servitors (9 total). As skeletons. They are cleaning and moving things around, or just standing in wait. Will not attack unless messed with (e.g. preventing them from putting a thing back in its place) or if the campaigners become unruly and disturb the peace of the dormitorium.
  3. 1 Cleaner Blob (1 only). As gelatinous cube. Actually distorts itself so as not to contact the priests, servitors, or cats.
  4. 1d4 Mummy Cats (9 total). These two-tailed cats are wrapped in stained gauze. They are harmless unless attacked, but their meowing may draw other monsters — roll twice as often when they are in the vicinity of the party. If they are petted, as long as they are petted, they will purr quietly. After a couple turns of petting they will tire of being petted and scratch anyone holding them to get down.

    Mummy Cat: AC 10, HD 1, Scratch 1hp + 1d3 hp per day rotting damage (Save vs. Poison to avoid/end), Move 90', Morale 11, XP 10. They just want to be loved … until they don’t.
  5. 1 Carcass Crawler (1 total). As carcass crawler. See also 0116.
  6. Interloper. Use a monster from elsewhere on this level, improvise, or use another wandering monster table of your choice. 

0113 Library

This hallway ends in an oddly shaped, buy cozy library. Two ever-burning torches light the place with an even, clear light. They can be removed. In fact, one of them has been, leaving the farthest corner from the door dimly lit. There are four bookshelves and a number of cushy, high-backed chairs in small alcoves. Many of the books are written in strange languages, but a few are in languages the PCs will know. Each volume taken is worth d10 x 20 gp. Some exceptional titles include: 

Ratuga Twisken’s Guide to Flim-Flammery: +1 to CHA after a month or more of study, requires an annual refresh.

Sminky’s Spellbinding Solutions: recipes for brewing potions at reduced time/cost: control human, control plant, growth, healing, levitation, speed, treasure finding.

Crumm’s Excellent Exercises: physically-demanding meditations for clerics that, when performed during the daily preparations, grant one extra 1st level spell at the cost of d3 hp.

0114 The Shrine of Xizcolaquamn

In one nook of this room is a statue of a bulky, demonic figure - something like an ostrich with an elephant head and beaver tail, but also not like that at all. It is seated, cross-legged, with it’s eyes shut. In front of the statue is a bowl of flaming lava. If something of worth is thrown into the the lava, the stone eyelids of the statue roll back to reveal glowing green gems that regard the giver. Any item so sacrificed is magically transported to the chest that lies in the secret room opposite the statue. The petitioner is suffused with a warm glow feeling for d6 minutes, but there is no other benefit. (Don’t tell players that though, let them speculate as to how any following events were the result of, or were influenced by, this bit-of-fluff blessing.)


  1. Something about the mummy cats creeps me out in the best way

  2. This dungeon keeps getting better! The star entity, star food, alien lecture on higher mathematics, expired priests, the library (and the books therein), mummy cats, demon shrine -- so many great ideas in quick succession.

  3. Thanks all! I'm having great fun and I think it shows in the work. Glad you are also enjoying it!


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