Monday, September 21, 2020

Let's Build A Dungeon! - Part 9 - The Basement Map Populated

We started building a dungeon. And today we're finally adding monsters to the third and final floor of that dungeon (though technically this is the 'middle' level!) In the interest of brevity, I'll keep this focused on the map itself. This is the 'basement' map for the dungeon we made, the transition point between the surface and subterranean entrances. As per the story of the dungeon the stronghold fell to invaders, but that was in the past. Now it is home for monsters.

Expected Level
In the interest of usability I figured making the dungeon with Level 2 PCs in mind would be a good idea. They can stumble across this early in their adventure - or be hired to check it out. It keeps the monsters manageable, but the PCs should already have their first adventure behind them.

For encounters I expected 4 PCs, but I've included the ratio of Monster:PCs for a Level 2 PC in the monster list. If you have more PCs, feel free to add another group of monsters here and there. Just remember, not every encounter needs to be deadly. 

Disconnected Rooms
When making the map for this dungeon I made seven disconnected rooms from the central map. These rooms were originally intended to be optional additions to expand on the dungeon and have some hidden areas. The idea for that continues here. If you wish to use one of the expanded rooms (numbered 1-7 on the map) they should link up with the main map in the equivalent lettered room. For example, room 1 is accessed through a secret door in room A. Room 2 is accessed through room B and so on.

The Monsters
In the surface level we used bandits, hobgoblins, and goblins with a couple beasts (dogs and aurochs.) In the underground level we used kobolds and several monstrosities. In the middle I'm sticking with undead primarily. The idea here being the trapped spirits of either the original holders of the stronghold, or the people who took it from them, or just someone else. Also, Room 3 has a special boss encounter that may just wipe a level 2 party but shouldn't. Despite the fact a CR 3 monster is rough for 4 level 2 PCs, Action economy is on their side.

Without further ado! The monsters:

  • Zombie - CR 1/4 (2:1 for Level 2 PCs)
  • Skeleton - CR 1/4 (2:1 for Level 2 PCs)
  • Shadow - CR 1/2 (1:1 for Level 2 PCs)
  • Specter - CR 1 (1:3 for Level 2 PCs)
  • Blue Dragon Wyrmling - CR 3 (1:6+ for Level 2 PCs) -- optional

Pure Function
As a note, I did not do any description or story for this. You can add your own descriptions and story as fits your game. Story can be important, but this is a re-usable dungeon and having the story before the build here (aside from the dungeon origin) just feels like a way to lock in things that we want to be mutable.

The Map - Now With Markings

  • A - Four (4) Zombies stand around waiting to feed on anything alive that comes in.
  • B - Two (2) Specters are in B, they try to surprise anyone in room H when they go to check the door.
  • C - One (1) Shadow and One (1) Specter go through an argument they had in life. They are only hostile if rudely interrupted. They can be convinced to reveal secret entrances to other rooms.
  • D - The door to D is locked (DC 15). Inside are the remains of bodies long since decayed. D is easily secured for a rest.
  • E - Four (4) Shadows reside here hiding in the corners from the last vestiges of a burning candle in the middle of the room.
  • F -Eight (8) Zombies are packed into this room. They attack any living creature to come in.
  • G - Four (4) Skeletons guard this room against those who would come in to take things from them.
  • H - A poorly hidden trap door (Perception 10 to spot) hides an empty chest. Anyone investigating the trapdoor or chest is surprised by the Specters in B when they attack through the wall.
  • I - Four (4) Skeletons defend the door into D. They only attack if someone tries to enter D.
  • J - Three trip wires are spaced on the floor and the room is dark making it lightly obscured. A DC 12 perception check spots the wire. Otherwise a DC 13 dexterity save must be made or a rattle alerts the kobolds downstairs and the person falls 10 feet down the stairs taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage. 

  1. Two (2) Shadows and Four (4) Zombies await their next meal near a small altar now cracked and broken with age.
  2. An empty chamber with supplies to make traps. There are still supplies to make/restore two (2) Bear Traps (See Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Simple Traps.)
  3. The treasure hoard for the dungeon, along with a Blue Dragon Wyrmling (optional) making it their hoard. A secret exit (DC 15 to find on investigation) leads out to the surface through narrow passages.
    1. 2300 cp, 800 sp, 60 gp, 2 x Carnelian (50 gp), Sardonyx (50 gp), Star rose quartz (50 gp), Zircon (50 gp), Gloves of Swimming and Climbing (uncommon, dmg 172), Wand of Web (uncommon, dmg 212)
  4. A small office with preserved logs including the original deed for the structure hidden in a locked drawer (DC 14 to open by lock pick or force.)
  5. An ancient store room long since rotten and decayed to the point even the rats and bugs are dead littering the floor with tiny skeletons and carapaces.
  6. One (1) Shadow and Two (2) Skeletons wait in this once beautiful office now rotten and ruined
  7. Eight (8) Skeletons guard in front of a caved in escape tunnel.

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