Entrance (1.1 - 1.12)

The area near the surface provides some clues and an introduction to the perils awaiting deeper in the dungeon.

1.1 - King's Vale

Automatic
A small wooded valley three miles from the town of Fenlay containing the entrance to the dungeon. A rough-hewn passageway descends into the hillside.
Easy
There are tracks of humans and ruts from the wheels of a cart.
Moderate
The tracks show humans coming and going from the entrance but only one set of cart tracks.
Hard
There are footprints of one or maybe two goblins which are almost obliterated by the human tracks.

Exits:

  • A dark tunnel heading deep into the earth [1.2].
  • Return to the town of Fenlay.

1.2 - Entrance

Automatic
A wide, crudely cut sloping passage leads to an doorway standing 15' high and made of large stones with engravings. Beyond it are a series of natural caves.
Easy
The stones forming the doorway are of a completely different rock from the corridor and the quality of the stone work is very good.
Moderate
The symbols on the pillars are old, partially eroded demonic runes proclaiming this realm to be under the control of High Priestess Korvak.
Hard
The pillars were probably built for another place. At some point they were moved here and the engravings added.

Exits:

  • A tunnel sloping up to the surface [1.1].
  • Deeper into the caves beyond the entrance [1.3].

1.3 - Hole

Automatic
In a series of natural caves a large chamber contains a hole in the floor. The area is littered with small bones, some of which look fresh.
Easy
The bones are from cave rabbits, albino creatures that live off fungi and other cave vegetation.
Moderate
Some bones are only a few days old and show signs of being stripped clean by something with pincers.
Hard
Nearly all the bones are cave rabbits but the freshest bones are from normal rabbits which are not found in caves.

The Hole:

Automatic
The hole drops 20' down a narrow shaft to a pile of jagged rocks.
Easy
The shaft appears easy to climb with plenty of handholds.
Moderate
The hole is not a natural collapse but has been created to look like one by highly skilled craftsmen.
Hard
The pile of sharp stones at the bottom conceals a trapdoor.

Climbing down the hole is very easy. The shaft contains numerous suspiciously well positioned hand and foot holds that look natural. Should anyone fall (or be pushed) down the shaft, they are attacked by 1d6+1 per 10' fallen plus 1d6+1 for the stones at the bottom.

As the characters investigate the hole, large centipedes attracted by the noise will swarm in from all directions and attack. Two 1d6+2 mooks (Centipede, Lesser Giant Burrowing) per party member.

Exits:

  • Deeper into the caves [1.4].
  • (Hidden) Down the shaft [1.10].

1.4 - Stairs / Corridors Junction

Automatic
A short flight of stairs connects natural caves and well-made corridors. At the top of the stairs, a handcart has been abandoned.
Easy
The handcart is a perfectly ordinary unremarkable cart almost certainly made for and by humans.
Moderate
The stairs are well constructed but crude and the corridor is extremely well-made though the stone shows cracking and signs of age. The stone surfaces show no signs of tracks or recent activity in the area.
Hard
In the back of the cart there is dirt and mud. A handprint has been left in it which is smaller than a man's, and is probably a woman's or a child's.

Exits:

  • A corridor with various doorways and bends [1.5].
  • An uninterrupted corridor goes south [2.1].
  • Head towards the caves and the surface world [1.3].

1.5 - Archway

Automatic
A 5' high and wide glowing archway forms a bottleneck in the 10' wide and tall corridors. The archway is of a distinctive white stone with glowing runes etched on every inch of its surface.
Easy
The archway is magical and the runes are in an unknown alphabet.
Moderate
The magic is hard to decipher and is clearly ancient but the arcane power within the arch is very weak.
Hard
The magic relates to detection though what it is meant to detect cannot be discovered.

The archway is an ancient Fay device designed to alert them of any non-Fay creatures entering or leaving this part of the dungeon. When any intelligent, living creature goes through the arch a loud, almost deafening noise sounds. The characters are attacked by 4d6+4 of noise which inflicts a Confused status effect.

Game Leader Notes

The archway and the status effect have little practical effect on the characters as there are no creatures nearby able to take advantage of the confusion. However, the characters do not know this and the archway and the noise are opportunities for the Game Leader to encourage paranoia in their players.

Exits:

  • A passageway with various junctions and bends [1.4].
  • Follow a long, straight corridor [1.6].

1.6 - Bricked-Up Opening

Automatic
In an otherwise featureless good quality corridor, a 10'by 10' opening (a large doorway or side corridor) has been crudely bricked up using rough stone and mortar.
Easy
The mortar is crude and easily crumbles.
Moderate
Some effort has been made to completely fill the opening, leaving no gaps at all.
Hard
In the mortar are impressions of the fingers and hands which made the wall. From the shape they look like goblin handprints.

The chamber beyond the wall has mostly collapsed and is now filled with wet, loose earth populated by a thriving ecology. The moment a brick is removed from the wall and light enters the rooms, a mass of tiny flying beetles swarms and flies out of the hole. Two Beetle, Venomous Swarm attack the characters.

Exits:

  • Continue along the corridor in either directions towards [1.7] or [1.5].

1.7 - Teleport (Alpha & Beta)

Automatic
In an otherwise unremarkable room there are two doorways filled with a pale blue shimmering light. Each doorway has unknown writing or symbols above it.

See Fay Magics for a description of the teleport doorways.

Exits:

  • A smaller but maintained corridor [1.8].
  • A long wide, straight corridor [1.6].
  • Left-hand doorway [1.11].
  • Right-hand doorway [4.11].

1.8 - Narrow Passage

Automatic
The corridors are narrower (5' wide) and the rooms smaller in this part of the dungeon. They generally seem abandoned but there are signs of heavy use in the past.
Easy
The passageway has been used heavily, there are parts where the stonework has been worn down and polished smooth by the fall of thousands of feet.
Moderate
The floor is polished smooth over its entire width, not just in the centre where people normally walk. This is odd.
Hard
The first couple of inches of stonework at the bottom of the walls has also been smoothed.

The strange wearing on the floors and walls comes from an ochre jelly and its acid. The slime creature has been living in this section of corridor for some time. As the characters explore the area it will attempt to ambush them, using its Slime and Silent advantages to resist against the characters' prompted awareness actions. It always starts combat 15' from the characters but if they failed in their awareness actions it will have the initiative. If the characters attempt to flee the jelly will give chase and it is surprisingly fast. Game Leaders should note the corridors are narrow and the characters may get in each other's way.

Exits:

  • Follow the narrow corridors [1.9].
  • Head towards the wider corridors [1.7].

Anyone running from the ochre jelly will automatically end up lost in [1.9].

1.9 - Maze

Automatic
After reaching a dead end and back-tracking, the characters realise they are lost. However they are confident their mapping and navigation was good, so something must have changed as the characters are now in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike.
Easy
There is very little dirt in this area.
Moderate
Any chalk marks and similar aids to navigation used by the characters have been wiped off and there is no trace of footprints, tracks or other signs of the characters' passing. — The whole area has a slight magical ambiance.
Hard
Parts of the tunnel walls are illusory.

The maze was designed to protect the tomb of a wizard, combining a natural maze of tunnels with illusions. The entrances of some tunnels are hidden some of the time, and which tunnels are hidden or visible randomly changes every few minutes. To confound things, a Wood Golem patrols the tunnels cleaning up, removing footprints and marks left by the party. It also collects the bodies of dead creatures and disposes of them respectfully.

There are a number of ways the players can begin to understand what is happening. Sitting and watching the tunnel junctions is the most direct way. Sooner or later they will see one tunnel disappear and another become visible. Game Leaders should allow the players to think through the problem and use their advantages in narrative actions to discover the magical nature of the problem.

Once they have identified and studied one of the illusions hiding a tunnel entrance they can learn to spot them. Each illusion seems solid and real even if the characters know it is an illusion. Dispelling one requires a suitable action overcoming a resistance of 3d6+3. This is only a temporary effect and the illusion will reappear at some later point. Combining this knowledge with their original maps the characters can carefully retrace their steps and work out a route back to where they entered the maze ([1.8] or [2.6]).

Alternatively, being in the passageways will inevitably lead to a meeting with the Wood Golem. If the characters make a mess, it will come sooner. The golem is mentally slow and thick-witted, it has a job to do and will simply get on with it. However, that job also involves guiding friendly creatures out of the maze. Simply talking to it and asking to be shown the way out is all that is required. The golem will not start combat but will stand and fight if attacked because it lacks the mental capacity to understand how much danger it is in.

Game Leader Notes

This location is a great way to confuse the players. Repeat the same language about little twisty corridors and emphasise how hard it is to keep one's bearings underground. However, this can quickly become frustrating for players. Nothing they do will really make a difference and it is very much in the hands of the Game Leader to decide when they escape the maze. Do not let this scene drag on. Once all the fun of the puzzle and the novel situation has been had, let the party discover the golem or the illusions. If the players end up in the maze a second time, let them quickly spot the problem and find their way out with ease.

1.10 - Chamber of Peace

Automatic
The walls and the low ceiling of this oval cave are covered in crystals which glisten and sparkle as they reflect the light. In the centre of the cave is a particularly large, flat-topped crystal with a red tint.
Easy
The cave and its crystals are a natural formation and the way the light plays across the crystals is relaxing and peaceful. — On top of the central crystal there are the stubs of candles.
Moderate
The type of crystals have little or no value by themselves but it is rare to find a cave with so many. — There is no magic in this chamber but the crystals do react to arcane energies, amplifying them.
Hard
This cavern is a geode, a natural rock formation which is said to be the home of earth spirits who become enraged when they are disturbed.

Lighting a candle on top of the central crystal will cause the whole chamber to be illuminated as light reflects and refracts around the room. It has a calming effect, inducing a trance-like state of mind which improves healing and aids the use of magic. All recovery actions and magic use gains a 2d6+0 bonus in this chamber.

Exits:

  • The cave narrows and descends [1.11].
  • A trapdoor in the cave's low ceiling [1.3].

1.11 - Tomb

Automatic
A large natural chamber contains a stone sarcophagus with intricate carvings around the base. There is a faint glow from the distant end of the cave.
Easy
The sarcophagus shows no signs of damage or of ever being disturbed. Around the base there are carvings of a knight wielding a sword and a staff.
Moderate
The carvings tell the story of the knight's life. Near the end he is fighting what appears to be a priestess and a devil. — There is the sense of a restless spirit nearby.
Hard
The engravings end with the priestess in chains and an image of four doors.

The sarcophagus lid is a large stone slab that is set into the body of the tomb. It must be lifted to remove it, an extended action with a resistance of 20 and a target of 20.

Ever present in this cave is a Poltergeist, the disembodied spirit of the Knight of the Rod, one of the Three Knights. Unless angered it cannot be seen, but it can hear and understand anything that happens in the chamber. If the players talk amongst themselves about robbing or smashing the tomb they will annoy the poltergeist who will take it out on the most loud-mouthed character. Starting with small annoyances (belt becoming undone, objects going missing etc), it will eventually become angry, manifesting and attacking if the characters do not leave the tomb alone.

Conversely, if the players are respectful, or try to speak with the spirit in a meaningful way, the poltergeist will help the party. It cannot speak or write but it can draw pictures in the dust on the floor or on any parchment the party think to offer. The knight's knowledge of the current state of the dungeon is limited as few creatures come through here and his spirit cannot leave. He can provide limited guidance to the temple [2.9] and the cells [4.4].

The tomb contains the remains of the knight, a rusting set of armour and a sword, plus a wooden staff. If the characters explain their mission and the possible connection to Korvak, the poltergeist will raise the lid to the tomb and allow the characters to take the staff.

The faint glow at the far end of the chamber is a teleport doorway. See Fay Magics for more details.

Exits:

  • Ascend a narrow natural passageway [1.10].
  • Through the doorway [1.7].
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open/oneshots/demon_strata/level1a.txt · Last modified: 2016/08/02 23:25 by WolfKen
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