Archive for D&D

The Forgotten Temple pt. 1: The Well Caves

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2015 by Kullervo

The party landed itself in pretty hot water while exploring the Ulthar Hills, and by hot water I mean up on a barren ridge fighting a pack of griffons at the entrance to their lair.  Casualties were severe.  The survivors fled into the lair (a cave), where they found an old ironbound door, which they managed to get open, get through, and bar behind them.  Nowhere to go but forward and down…

Well Caves


Megadungeon Level One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by Kullervo


Level 1 Unkeyed

And keyed:

Level 1 Keyed

This is the replacement dungeon level I drew after being dissatisfied with my first attempt. you’ll notice that is it bigger, but that the entrance (D1) and the exits (D8 and D19) are in the same relative places. This is because I’ve already planned out where the different connections between levels are relative to each other; one of the big ideas in this dungeon is that each level connects to many other levels (no level connects to fewer than two other levels, and some connect to as many as six).

In this level, the exits to levels two and three are easy to find–this is another characteristic of the dungeon: it will never be hard to find the pathway to go through the levels sequentially. The dungeon was originally meant to be used, after all. On the other hand, many of the out-of-order level connections or connections to sublevels may be hidden.

Quick rundown of the different areas:

The D areas are just generic dungeon. Not much treasure ebcause they’ve basically been picked clean, but also not much in the way of really challenging monsters. Maybe a scavenger or a wandering monster or two. The big exception is D20-D26, which was once the lair of a tribe of kobolds, before they were driven out by the goblins in the G areas. Not much is left in terms of loot, but the whole area is still booby trapped like crazy. D16 is a large cistern/reservoir, with underwater tunnels leading to the S areas. Watch out for the water rats.

The B areas were originally barracks (you can see the fighting pit in B7). There’s a mess hall (B11), a drill floor (B2), offices and quarters for officers (B3-B6), an armory (B8), a smithy (B9), and a kitchen at B10 with a secret passage into the larders. These areas are mostly inhabited at present by a gang of brigands, with their loot.

The L areas are the larders, which are now completely infested with dog-sized bloodthirsty carnivorous chickens. They are mean, and extremely territorial, and that’s just the hens. The rooster is the size of a horse and pure evil. The whole area is basically buried in chicken shit, and the level’s other inhabitants avoid it. That said, the larders were not only stocked with foodstuffs–the whole area is riddled with secret rooms where there are still valuables left for the taking.

The S areas are full of grates to water tunnels below and weird machinery. They are difficult to get to, and used as the lair of a bunch of really big giant water rats. There’s also some decent treasure in there though, so it’s worth trying to find.

The K areas were once kennels. The hounds are all dead, and the area is haunted by a gray ooze, that can slip through the locked and rusty bars.

The G areas have long been used as the lair of a goblin tribe, led by a self-styled king, with a decent haul of treasure. It’s not clear what the rooms were originally used for.

The X areas are mostly abandoned, because an extremely dangerous predator lairs at X4. The only other inhabitants are a mixed group of human and goblin outcasts, hiding out at X8 and planning revenge.

Notable Treasures and Relics

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , on May 13, 2014 by Kullervo

The Nautilus Shell
The Coral Flute of Sebiddu
The Master Brewer’s Golden Ale
St. Osric’s Fingerbones
The Twelfth Toe
The Dark Orrery
THe Gown of Dust
The Bottomless Chalice
The Death-Shroud of the Rat King
The Mummy of Del Rabeen
The Wet Knife
The Merman’s Head
The Ogre King’s Iron Crown
The Ghoul King’s Sceptre
The Purple Mask of Bhool
The Oil of Heom
The Trinket of Quish Flaad
The Yellow Eye

Free Hand-Drawn Dungeon Map for You

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by Kullervo

I drew this a few days ago and decided I wasn’t actually going to use it after all, so feel free. I had 10′ squares in mind. The map was intended to be the first level of a twelve-level dungeon. The entrance is through a shaft in the roof of the lozenge/diamond-shaped room in the bottom right corner. Exits to levels 2 and 3 are by stairways in the bottom right and top left. There should be no choke points, and a lot of different ways to loop through the dungeon.

Spare Map

This is pretty representative of my current mapping style. The downside is, not that many cool features or really unusual rooms, which I used to do better at.

Balor’s Tomb: The Lair of the Hunting Toads!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2013 by Kullervo

I’m working on getting at least 3 or 4 levels of Balor’s Tomb detailed for the game that I am running tomorrow (it’s a megadungeon-in-a-hexcrawl setting, and Balor’s Tomb is the tentpole megadungeon–I’ll go into the details in a future post), and for the most part, I am mapping out a level, putting in the important/significant monsters, humanoid factions and set-piece traps and tricks, and then filling in the rest using the random dungeon stocking tables from the Rules Cyclopedia and the AD&D 1e DMG (I am not super consistent about which one I use, and I am okay with that). Then I do my best to sort of smooth it all over and make sense out of it, and a lot of the time that winds up leading to more interesting stuff than what I would have just come up with on my own.

Here’s an example. This is the map of the area I was working with:

Bandits' Lair

Area A came up empty/no treasure. So I decided that it would be overgrown with fungus, because fungus is fun. And then for good measure I tossed in a Shrieker because hey, why not? I decided that the secret door is only secret by virtue of being heavily overgrown with shelf fungus and such. Totally normal, functioning door, just not readily apparent because of the mushroom problem.

Area B has a statue in it (it started out as a rectangular room but I realized the level had too many 20’x30′ rectangular rooms and I was getting bored of them, so I lopped off the corners and put a statue in it). I rolled monsters with no treasure. I don’t remember if I rolled for the monsters on a chart or if I jsut picked them out, but the end result was 1d4 Giant Toads. So, four Giant Toads. Okay, I thought, since they don’t have treasure anyway, I’ll say this is their toady lair, and maybe they eat stuff in the fungus room.

Area C came up with monsters and treasure. I think I rolled Bandits on a chart, and having a Bandits’ lair seemed like a good idea–there’s a Bandit problem on the suface in the hexcrawl anyway, and I was planning on putting Sir Walter’s son, Sir Herevard of Ellesmere, in the dungeon somewhere, so maybe this is a Bandit camp where they took Sir Herevard and are holding him, hoping to sell him to the Cult of Balor or maybe to the Saxons, but in any case he’s secure in the dungeon. I gave them a couple of wolfhounds (Wolves re-skinned, duh) as guards and pets, and filled out the room with rotting tapestries and wooden benches and gave them a stash of treasure in a burlap sack.

But then I realized I had a problem. This layout was stupid. How do the Bandits get past the Giant Toads? Wouldn’t they just, fight them, kill them, and be done with it (or vice versa!). Maybe the Bandits eat roast Toad? Still doesn’t solve the problem of getting past the potentially hostile and man-eating Giant Toads every time the Bandits want to get in or out.

And then it dawned on me. Not wolfhounds as pets and guards. Giant Toads as pets and guards. Giant Toads with metal collars on chains, and these Bandits use them like a pack of hunting animals. Hunting Toads! Hot damn.

So now there’s an obvious cage in area B for the Toads to live in, and I have added “Bandits with pack of Hunting Toads” to the wandering monster chart for the level. These are filthy outcasts from the Bandit gang on the surface, dressed in slimy rags and using Giant Toads as hunting animals and companions. And they have Sir Herevard bound and gagged!

Balor’s Tomb: The Disarmed Dart Trap

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2013 by Kullervo

dungeon area 14

The player characters enter through the door at a. The wall at b, 20 feet from the door (and fully visible from the doorway by torch) is covered with dozens of relief sculptures of faces, all of which look like they are blowing air with their mouths, which obviously appear to be little holes.

At c is a pressure plate; when stepped on, a storm of poisoned darts shoots from the mouths. Any creature in front of the mouths out to a distance of 30 feet that is not comepltely behind cover is attacked by 1d6+1 darts which attack as 1-HD monsters. Each dart does 1 point of damage, plus save or be paralyzed for 1d6 turns, cumulative (i.e., if hit by two darts and both saves are failed, the paralysis lasts 2d6 turns).

At d is a lever that arms or disarms the trap. When the players first walk in from a, the trap is disarmed.

D&D Classics Is Live! Hot Damn!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Swords & Sorcery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2013 by Kullervo

Hot damn! Wizards of the Coast has pdfs for sale again! I can’t tell if the price point is the same as when it was all taken down in 2009 (I seem to recall a lot more $4.99 products and a lot fewer $9.99 products), but it all still looks very resonable, and in any case cheaper than what you have to pay on the secondary market.

Honestly, I had stopped buying anything from Wizards of the Coast awhile ago and I had basically written them off (played 4e and liked it but didn’t love it; have no interest at all in 5e/Next; am now only really interested in older editions), but it looks like they’re back in the game. This was pretty much the only way they were going to get me to give them my money again, and they’ve done it.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go demonstrate with my wallet that this was a sound business decision (on the other hand, I promise you right now that my productivity for the day is just shot to hell). To start with, I think I shall purchase…

C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
HR7: The Crusades Campaign Sourcebook
Manual of the Planes (AD&D 1e)

But I have a bunch of other stuff in my wish list that I’ll be getting in short order–lots of classic modules and 1e hardback/sourcebooks. Oh, and I fully intend to buy every single Planescape pdf they release.