This is a full one-level dungeon for my Five Free Cities setting. This version of the adventure is for ACKS, but I’ve run this for Dungeon Crawl Classics with almost no changes.
Click to view the map!
Link to a bigger version:
About the Dungeon
The city of Viskan, near the free city of Gwaethyr, was once the capitol of the Viskani Empire. Fell things are afoot in the ruins, and a band of adventurers and ne’er-do-wells are sent to flush out the menace.
I do not claim to be any kind of a genius dungeon architect! This campaign is one of the first where I’ve really seriously tried to make my own dungeons. This one has been pretty fun, but questions or suggestions are always welcome.
The city of Viskan was the capitol of an empire that spanned the continent of Eparra. The Viskani were evil humanoids, pale and cruel, versed in necromancy and demonolatry, but now they are no more. Or so it is believed.
One of the most revered Viskani gods was Mukram the Bull. This minotaur deity lived in mazes, and one rite of his worship was to navigate a trap-filled maze (the devil you say, sir!). The postulant was rewarded with magical implements of great power, while failures were torn to shreds or eaten alive.
The Viskani empire collapsed, but their ruins remain. A portion of the Viskan city temple of Mukarn collapsed in the earthquake that destroyed the city, allowing easier access. And now, mysterious figures have been seen, coming and going from the temple …
Viskani Writing and Dialects
From place to place, the walls are inscribed with Viskani. The Malthiri tongue that serves as a common tongue is derived in part from Viskani, so characters can usually piece out what the Viskani script says with an Intelligence throw 11+. The High Viskani is a little different, though, and was limited to mainly clerical and sorcerous user. It takes an Intelligence throw of 13+ to figure out High Viskani.
The temple’s design goal is that each of the rooms and traps would convey an important idea about Viskani society and religion, and specifically about Mukram, to the initiate. Reading the inscription isn’t enough; you have to think about what it would mean to a Viskani.
Previous Expeditions, Current Inhabitants
Traces can be found in some places of previous expeditions. A mage and alchemist named Frabdan Wald led an expedition into the ruins long ago, a trip that drove him insane and led to his apellation as the Cackling Conjuror. His bodyguard’s apprentice, a lad named Ghent, is now a notorious drunkard in Gwaethyr as a result.
Wald knows that there are treasures in the temple, and he’s been sending thieves hired from the Ratwalkers (thieves) into the ruins to retrieve articles of Viskani magic that are valuable to him. The Seal of Red and Black (assassins) has learned of this and is about to get involved, because (1) they’re rivals of the Ratwalkers and (2) they’re led by a half-Viskani, who wants all their secrets for himself.
A few living creatures have taken up residence in the ruins, although the traps and demonic guardians make their lives interesting. A nest of Rodements lives in the outer corner entrance, for example.
And after checking out the temple, learning what they likely will, the powers-that-be in Gwaethyr will probably want the adventurers to go investigate the Tower of the Cackling Conjuror, out in the Trackless Forest …
Broken Wall Entrance
There are two ways into the Temple. The easiest way is the “broken wall entrance”, Room 1, a portion of the maze that broke away in the earthquake that destroyed the main temple complex. This entrance circumvents some traps, but requires the adventurers deal with a big clutch of Rodements right off the bat.
Temple Staircase Entrance
Adventurers that scout through the temple complex ruins can find a staircase down without too much difficulty. This is the “temple entrance”, Room 13, the entrance that Viskani postulants would have entered way back when this was a functioning Temple to Mukram, the minotaur god. This provides the characters with a fairly safe and easy resting place inside the temple-maze, but the staircase is long and steep, and the rubble is fairly rugged, so if the adventurers need to beat a hasty retreat from some dire threat it will definitely slow them down.
The Temple Complex
The Labyrinth of Mukram is only one part of the original temple complex. There was a painful and cruel set of trials devoted and appropriate to each of the Viskani gods. Postulants of Iskanix had to brave dozens of poisonous reptiles and scorpions, postulants of Ajalti had to compose beautiful poetry while standing on burning coals, and so on.
Most of the other temples are difficult to reach, buried under rubble or overgrown with trees and vines. Nevertheless, it’s possible that foolhardy adventurers might return to the temple of Viskan and find more of the ritual trials, or other great and terrible edifices of the Viskani tormentors.
The Promised Reward
Magister Nurreold from the Fraternal Order of Cinnabar (wizards’ guild) talks to Reave Noland, and asks him to investigate the figures and lights up on the hill. Nurreold promises 15 gold to each of the peasant conscripts.
The other major movers and shakers in town, such as Father Egelmort of the Shrine of Nature (druids, the dominant local religion), Brother Dalthes of the Church of Sun and Moon (clerics and paladins from Malthireon), and Solveig Keen-Eye (secret leader of the local Ratwalkers) are aware of the expedition. Any survivors that prove themselves by surviving the Temple, and are ready for training, will be offered the opportunity to train up in the profession of their choice for a nominal fee.
Room 1: Avalanche Entrance.
Inscription (High Viskani): None.
The entire temple was once underneath a steep, stony hillside, but the earthquake that destroyed much of the city tore a hole in the temple. Within a cave entrance, the characters can see worked stone walls, with an entrance to the north, and another to the west.
Danger – Chance (70%) of Rodement Guards (1d3, Alert): There are usually a few Rodements are stationed here guarding the entrance. Failing that, 1d4 Rodements will pass by here every 10 minutes or so, passing from Room 2 to Room 5.
Art credit: original artist unknown; if you are the artist and would like this image removed, please contact me. Thanks.
- % in Lair: 80%, Dungeon Enc.: 3d4, Wilderness Enc.: 2d4.
- Alignment: Chaotic, Movement: 120’, AC: 9, HD: 1d8+1.
- Attacks: 2, Damage: 1d6+3 (spear) or 1d6+1 (claws), Saves: R1, Morale: -1.
- Treasure Type: B,A, XP: 25.
- Special Powers
- Immune to all non-magical disease, +5 to all saves vs. poison.
- Keen Sense of Smell.
- Extremely Stealthy,able to remain undetected 50% of the time.
- Madness: Each clutch of Rodements rolls once on the Anguish Table (http://invulnerablog.imperfekt-industrees.com/?p=772).
- Mutation: Rodements are all severely mutated by magical experimentation tainting their bloodlines. Roll for two random Mutations on the Mutation Table (http://invulnerablog.imperfekt-industrees.com/?p=925). The entire clutch enjoys, or suffers, the same Mutations.
- Description: Rats are the best things to experiment on. They breed fast, they’re reasonably human-like, and they’re everywhere. The Viskani performed hideous, terrible tortures on the rodent-like race they created, refining their cruel techniques until they were ready to use on escaped slaves and blood magic sacrifice victims. Rodements are about as intelligent as a two-year-old, but they’ve been twisted both mentally and physically until they’re nothing but a ball of hatred toward all other life, even other Rodement clutches.
Loot: Inside the west entrance, to the north side, is a stone box with 1d6 stone-tipped spears that the Rodements use when patrolling.
Room 2: Rodement Nest.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Remember where we came from, and where our destiny lies.”
A small clutch of Rodements have made their home inside the entrance to the east.
Inscriptions on the wall show spheres and starbursts; characters knowledgeable in astronomy might piece out that the Viskani came from another world. The room was originally trapped, but the destruction of Room 1 obliterated the mechanisms for this room.
Danger – Rodements (2d4, Resting): Several Rodements can be found in this room at any time, resting and grooming one another.
Room 3: Necroid Post.
Inscription (High Viskani): “My vigil is eternal.”
A single Necroid stands here. It moves to block the hall to Rooms 10 and 4, but takes no other actions. There’s a small bench here against the east wall. The Rodements are terrified of the Necroid, and never go past this point.
Danger – Necroid (1, Alert): The Necroid will attack until it’s attacked first, or unless someone starts to move past it. If the players wait for 2d6+1 hours, the Necroid will fall inanimate, and the characters can move past it in any direction.
Art Credit: Alex Negrea on Deviantart https://goo.gl/gQWT1E
- Necroids (Constructs)
- % in Lair: 50%, Dungeon Enc.: 2d4, Wilderness Enc.: 1d4.
- Alignment: N, Movement: 35, AC: 5, HD: 3d8+4.
- Attacks: 2, Damage: 1d8+4 arm-blade slash, Saves: F4, Morale: +4.
- Treasure Type: None, XP: 215.
- Special Powers
- Immunity: Necroids are unliving machines, immune to disease, poison, and mental effects, such as charm, sleep, and hold spells.
- Description: The Viskani loved to build a metallic skeleton, cover it with weapons and gadgets, sew on the bulkiest muscles from a variety of murdered slaves, and animate the contraption, turning it loose to guard magic stockpiles or hunt down slaves. Necroids are hideous to behold, and fearsome opponents, much faster than most other constructs.
Room 4: Discernment Is Key.
Inscription (High Viskani): “The wise save their wisdom until it is needed.”
Some thirty keys hang on the wall in this alcove; gold keys, black steel keys, silver keys.
Danger – Electric Shock: Anyone touching any of the 30 keys instantly must make a Petrification & Paralysis save or take 1d4 electrical damage. The keys do nothing; there are no locked doors in the maze. The shock is actually triggered by lifting the weight off of the key hook; clever characters that really want those keys could try to find something non-conductive to obtain the keys if they wanted.
Room 5: Rodement Carrion Pile.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Seek the Eight Treasures of the Gods, one for each age of the world. Prepared for battle, the gods and their disciples cannot fail.”
A pedestal sits in the center of the room, and beneath it, a shattered minotaur statue. The original test here was to outfit the statue with the proper deific accoutrements to unlock the room’s doors (and stop the room from filling with toxic gas), but since the statue toppled, the rooms are locked open, and s different toxic gas fills the air now.
This room is filled with rotting carcasses of beasts (and a few sentients) that the Rodements have dragged here. This is, basically, their larder. Flies and the stench of rotting meat fill the air.
Danger: Stench. Anyone entering the room must make a Poison & Death or begin gagging, losing 1 point of Constitution. Anyone attempting to root through the pile of carrion must make this roll every round.
Room 6: Rodement Shiny Stash.
Inscription (High Viskani): “The gods prize purity in their worshipers, above all else. Enter here and be cleansed in a healing baptism of ichor.”
Rodements drag any coins or other shiny loot into this room. They like to keep their pretty treasures all in one place; besides, if they don’t, any treasures left in Room 5 will gradually creep into Room 7, because of the latter’s strong magnetic fields.
Boon: Anyone that stands in the enchanted circle in the center of the room voluntarily sheds 10 hp worth of blood loses one disease, poison effect, or Mutation they’re currently suffering. They can also lose physical defects like deformed limbs or bad eyesight. The room cannot remove problems issuing from old age or injury. Non-Viskani who benefit from this effect suffer Confusion, as per the spell (ACKS pg. 73), as the room attempts to wash away non-Viskani thought patterns from their mind.
Loot: Most of what’s in here is useless crap. Broken bits of colored glass, lead spoons and shattered mirrors. However, there are 3d6 gold pieces, 1d6 pieces of jewelry, each worth 1d10 gold pieces, the hilt to a sword (iron pyrrhite, but wrapped in copper wire) worth 10 gold, and a small wooden box with brass hinges that the Rodements could never get open. Inside is a handful of papers belonging to a merchant from some 30 years ago, and a note good for 30 gold from a banker in Bhairsin.
Room 7: Magnetic Maelstrom.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Providence is a loan. The gods may test the faithful by withdrawing their boons, so trust first in your own strength.”
The ceiling of this room is strongly magnetized. The Rodements don’t like this room, as it makes their bodies tingle and they get confused by the magnetic effects, so they rarely go past this point.
Danger – Magnetic Trap: Anyone that wants to retain their any metal weapon needs to make a Strength throw 15+ (may gain bonus from Dungeon Bashing proficiency). Generally, sheathed weapons will stay sheathed, although they rattle. The roof is 10′ high, so it’s very annoying to try to get the weapons back.
Secret Door: Anyone searching the room will find the secret door to Room 9 here.
Room 8: See No Evil.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Seeing is believing. Believing is not real. Bloodshed is real.”
A hideous creature, a ball of eyes and mouths, wailing and apologizing and cursing and babbling, hovers in the middle of the room.
Danger – Voyeur (1, Alert): One Voyeur is trapped here in a magic circle, carved into the stone of the ground. The Voyeur attacks immediately. Voyeurs are treated as Spheres of Many Eyes (Monsters Optional Rule download at http://www.autarch.co/downloads). This one is young, with only 3 HD, saves as Fighter 3, has 11 HP, and inflicts 1d6+1/1d6+1/2d6 damage.
Room 9: Stop! Thief!
Inscription (High Viskani): “The solidity of stone, the concrete world we see, is the root of all power.”
The room is mostly empty, but an alcove to the east portrays a huge minotaur face, frowning disapprovingly. Strewn about the room are solid blocks of stone, some of them strangely rounded off.
A thief from the Seal of Red and Black is rooting through a number of boxes and chests that he’s dragged here. He will try to cut a deal that lets him go free, but failing that, he will escape through the secret door to room 7 and command any Rodements in Rooms 7, 5, or 2 to attack the PCs. He will then escape into the ruins and promptly disappear.
Encounter – Bandit (1, Alert): The thief is named Drasser Shleel, and he has a handful of Viskani scrolls he just looted. The documents outline the Viskani doctrine of the Eight Ages, and are written in High Viskani (this scroll would be worth a good 50 gp to the Fraternal Order of Cinnabar). Drasser is dirty and unkempt, but charming. He has 2d20 gp to bribe his way to freedom, if necessary.
Loot (Secret): An adventurer that looks carefully at the stones may be able to figure out that they can be assembled, like a puzzle, to form a stone globe. Assembling the pieces will be exhausting work, but when complete, the globe will fall apart and briefly, the minotaur face’s eyes will glow. Hovering where the globe’s center was, will be axe consecrated long ago to Mukram, named Garganos Karn.
Image credit Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda).
- Garganos Karn, The Axe of Mukram
- Garganos Karn, or “Bearer of all Might”, is a mighty battleaxe crafted by the priests of the maze-god Mukram for their deity’s greatest champion. The axe is puissant, and amplifies the bearer’s strength, at the cost of making them as cold and unfeeling as stone. Garganos Karn acts as a +2 battleaxe.
- The bearer of Garganos Karn gains +2 Strength and Constitution some 24 hours after taking possession of the weapon. The bearer is affected by the curse of Mukram; as the god of stoic reserve as well as stone and strength, the bearer no longer feels any emotions whatsoever. The character’s alignment becomes Neutral, and their Charisma score drops by 1 per day until it becomes 4.
Secret Door: Anyone searching the alcove to the east will find the secret door to Room 7.
Room 10: Acid Pit Trap.
Inscription (High Viskani): “The elements will be your master, if you are not theirs.”
The floor falls away beneath whoever’s in front, and they fall into a pit.
Danger – Trapdoor Pit (40′ deep): Whoever’s in front must make a Blast & Breath save or fall 40′. Fortunately, the pit is only 5′ square. Humans and Elves can jump across without rolling, but Dwarves and Gnomes need to make a Dexterity throw at 12+.
Per ACKS page 93, characters that fall take 4d6 damage. Each 6 means a broken bone (this is a rule borrowed from DCC). The bottom of the pit is dusty, but it’s not ordinary dust; it’s powdered acid. The acid will sting their eyes a little, but it only causes 1 point of damage per round, until washed away with water.
Danger – Pipe Ladder: The third, eighth, and thirteenth rungs on the ladder up are actually loose pipes filled with water, and will come loose and gush all over any character that puts any weight on them. The powdered acid will become the liquid acid most characters are familiar with, and begin eating away at the character and all their gear.
Room 11: Blood Sacrifice.
Inscription (High Viskani): “The gods are fed by blood, and repay their debts richly. Guilt is a sin of the weak.”
A man stands in the hallway, shackled to the floor. Behind him are two scything blades, just inches behind him. The man is starving and mad, begging to be set free.
The prisoner is named Lashas Brimivert, a murderer from Bhairsin. He was sent to Jenseen to toil at hard labor for the rest of his life after killing a man for a loaf of black bread, after he was blacklisted from the fishing ships for drunkenness and laziness. The Seal of Red and Black freed him, to drag him here to sacrifice. In the end they found the secret door in Room 16, and so they
Danger – Prisoner (1, Alert): Use Brigand stats from ACKS (pg. 183).
Danger – Scything Blades: A PC might be able to jump between the scything blades; they need to make a Dexterity throw 11+ to make it through. Dwarves get +1, and Gnomes get +3, because of their smaller sizes. On a failed roll, the character suffers 1d8 damage. The blades stop scything the moment a sentient-sized figure is trapped in the blades (usually by being sliced to pieces).
Room 12: Initiate Robes.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Shed your skin and become something new and terrible, something to end a world and make it anew.”
Tattered robes fill the room, the remains of Viskani initiate robes. Nothing is left of the robes but rotted fabric, although there’s about 2d10 gp worth of minor jewelry that no one bothered to loot so far.
Loot: Hidden among all of these is Seolsha’s Tricksome Rags, brought here before the fall by a slave, who tricked his way this far but was murdered by Viskani for presuming to invade the sacred space. There’s a big pile of rotted cloth, so it will take a good 2d12 minutes to find the Rags, but any magical senses or spells will pick it out instantly.
- Seolsha’s Tricksome Rags
- These rags have an enchantment on them that allows them to transform into any kind of clothing instantly. Seolsha made the Tricksome Rags for a chambermaid to sneak into a palace tower and visit her highborn lover; the Tricksome Rags also instantly revert if they taste blood, for the maiden was discovered and murdered, and the Rags still grieve.
- The Tricksome Rags transform instantly into any form of clothing. Any bit of cloth torn from the Tricksome Rags, for any reason, turns back into filthy rags. The rags will revert back into rags when they touch blood, until cleaned. The rags are made of a strange substance that is resistant to fire; fire damage is reduced by 5.
Room 13: The Staircase Down.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Prepare thyself, for thy trials have begun.”
In the center of this room, a staircase leads down from the ruined temple above. The entrance is perfectly servicable, although the stairs are long and steep (this floor is some 100′ below the temple proper) and the ruins are rugged once you step out.
Room 14: Remains of Wald’s Camp.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Gird thy loins, for death awaits, the death of your pathetic former self.”
This room seems once to have been an armory, long since looted. In the meantime, adventurers made it a base of operations. A shattered lantern, remains of a small cooking fire (a slight wind carries the smoke to Room 13), bent forks and spoons, and the bones of some porcine beast can be found, speaking of a hasty retreat.
Loot – Ghenth’s Journal: Tucked beneath one weapons rack, but easily found, is an ancient log book, now falling apart. Dozens of pages are missing, and more are smeared to illegibility, but a basic narrative can be found.
It’s a journal belonging to Ghenth, and townsfolk from Gwaethyr may remember a drunkard in town named Ghenth the Unsavory. This journal dates back to when he was a boy. It describes his apprenticeship to a warrior named Thymoole Kars, the personal bodyguard to a member of the Fraternal Order of Cinnabar, Frabdan Wald.
The expedition went badly; there were many casualties, and although they recovered many Viskani artifacts, Frabdan seemed to be looking for something, some ancient spellbook or bauble or something the survivors have thus far failed to find. The journal describes how Frabdan has gradually become more unhinged as they’ve combed through the temple complex, pushing the weary survivors ever harder, into more and more dangerous territory. Finally, it describes how Frabdan became completely unhinged one morning, and for his own safety, Kars knocked him unconscious and dragging him away. The final note says that Ghenth hopes Wald won’t be too mad, and that he’ll understand the expedition is ended for his own good.
Providing the journal to Ghenth back in town jogs his memory immensely, and he becomes a much more valuable source of information to the adventurers, as well as devoted to them personally.
Room 15: They’re All Out To Get Me!
Inscription (High Viskani): “Reliance on others is a weakness, for they will always fail you.”
As soon as the last adventurer enters, the door the adventurers entered slams shut. The room is cursed; it creates thoughts of betrayal in mortal minds, and then performs simple trickery (teleportation, telekinesis, and hypnotic suggestion) to reinforce these feelings of betrayal.
Sure, Iskanix is the god of conspiracies and secrets, not Mukram, but dealing with betrayal is an integral part of Viskani society. Besides, Mukram was the god of strength, and the trial is about if the initiate has the strength to carry on despite betrayal, the strength to seek revenge.
A dozen or so skeletons of the rat-people from outside lay about the room, picked clean by scavengers.
Danger – Traitor’s Tricks: There is no saving throw against the thoughts of suspicion. Each round, randomly choose one PC, choose a character belonging to another player, and roll 1d6:
- “Clearly (random character) has been stealing from you. Why, he’s taken your weapon! It’s there, in your belt!”
- “You whirl around to see (random character) with their weapons/spells ready, about to attack you from behind!”
- “You hear the clinking of coins, and look, (random character) has your coinpurse, and is counting your hard-scavenged coins!”
- “You hear them whispering behind you. ‘Let’s slit her/his throat as soon as he/she passes out’, they say. You whirl around and see (two other randomly chosen PCs) conspiring together!”
- “(Random character) is crouching in the corner, silently putting a large gemstone in their bag without telling anyone! They look around to make sure no one saw … and they lock eyes with you!”
- “You’d forgotten all about that time that (random character) tempted your sweetheart to infidelity, but it’s all flooding back to you now! You caught the two of them, alone together, flushed and giggling like children, their faces inches apart … You won’t be mocked in this way!”
The room can’t do more than create images and shuffle things around; it can’t actually make the characters harm one another, just put illusions in their minds, and trigger instinctive reflexes (like grabbing for weapons).
The Rodements are stupid, but even they will eventually figure out a room is dangerous. After a half-dozen Rodements entered the room and slaughtered one another, they started avoiding the room, especially since they often travel in pairs.
Room 16: Refreshments, Anyone?
Inscription (High Viskani): “Reliance upon one’s own strength has limits. Fear is unknown to Mukram, as it should be for his chosen.”
On a small stone table in the center of the room lies a nice, neat stack of fresh fruit.
Boon: Enough fresh fruit here for three meals. Feel free to hint darkly that something may be wrong with the fruit. Once eaten, the fruit magically regenerates in 12 hours, delivered by tiny, plane-shifting Servitors under geas for all eternity. If they appear and are asked, they are happy to light up a smoke, kick back, and complain about their job.
Secret Door: Anyone searching the room will find the secret door to Room 21 here.
Room 17: Out Of Stock.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Death stalks us every moment in the maze, but failure comes only from improper preparation.”
This room once held potions for the Viskani initiate, to gird themselves for the trials ahead, or heal themselves on return from the trials of the maze (but not both – the Viskani weren’t all that kind or sympathetic). The bottles were broken and the potions mixed together, creating a sort of unholy lifeform that just wants to consume.
Wary adventurers may note a few Human bones on the ground outside the door, and some shattered glass, as if something inside dragged the broken glass out, and then returned back inside.
Danger – Black Pudding (1, Alert): One Black Pudding. The creature approaches slowly, oozing down the walls, giving the PCs a full round to flee, if they wish. The ooze does not pursue, but blocks the room against later incursion for the next 3 days before it withdraws back up into the ceiling.
Room 18: Tentacled Terrors.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Yesterday’s enemies died or bent the knee, and today’s adversaries shall do the same.”
Three inhuman skeletons are shackled to the wall by black plant tendrils.
Danger – The Throng (3, Dead): Three members of the alien race known as the Throng hang on the wall, held in place by a Tendril Trap. Each has 1d6 gp worth of alien ornaments, that don’t fit comfortably on any Human, Elven, or Dwarven appendage.
Once, the temple complex had its own birthing pools for members of the Throng, so they could be raised just to be slaughtered in the initiation rituals like this one. That room collapsed long ago. Living members of the Throng treated as Tentacled Brainsuckers (Monsters Optional Rule download at http://www.autarch.co/downloads).
Room 19: Love Hurts.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Do not mistake the urge to dominate and possess for the pitiful urges that our slaves call ‘love’. There is no love, only power over what is beautiful.”
Several shattered statues stand arrayed around the center of this room. They look like once they were some perverse tangle of limbs and organs, but the earthquake (that which brought an end to the city of Viskan) shattered them to powder. The original enchantments on this room caused the statue to radiate an unholy beauty and attack entrants, who were helpless to defend themselves. Mercifully, this is not a danger any longer. The Viskani, they were sick puppies.
Loot: It takes a good 10 minutes or so of rooting through the rubble, and at least Strength 13, but each of the 1d4 statues was animated by a gemstone worth 1d10 gp.
Room 20: Weird Water Trap.
Inscription (High Viskani): “In times of agony, tears fall like the rain. In times of joy, tears recede like the sea. The initiate of Mukram is unmoved.”
The room begins filling rapidly with water, and horrid fish-men enter through locked grates, attacking the adventurers.
Danger – Water Trap: The room fills with water, but as long as the PCs don’t move (they can attack but their feet must remain stationary), they cannot drown. Per ACKS pg 113, drowning creatures die in 10 rounds.
Danger – Deep Ones (Varies, Alert): Number = half the number of PCs +1. The fish-men move to slaughter the adventurers. They’re well aware of the curse on the room, and will do their best to knock the adventurers off of their feet.
Image credit Nori Tominga
- Barracuda Beasts (AKA Deep Devourers, Deep Ones)
- % in Lair: 75%, Dungeon Enc.: 2d4, Wilderness Enc.: 3d4, generally only near the ocean and saltwater lakes.
- Alignment: Chaotic, Movement: 20’, or 40’ underwater, AC: 9, HD: 1d8+1.
- Attacks: 2, Damage: 1d4+1 claws, Saves: F1, Morale: +2.
- Treasure Type: D, XP: 33.
- Special Powers:
- Breathe Underwater: Deep Ones are most at home under the waves. If they can, they will grab surface victims and drag them into the ocean, allowing them to drown.
- Infravision: Deep Ones can see in the dark perfectly.
- Resistance: Deep Ones take half damage from cold and poison.
- Description: Vile stinking fish-men that worship long-forgotten, best-forgotten deities in sunken temples, Deep Ones prey upon surface dwellers for sacrifice, food, and sport. Some humans are revealed as Deep One hybrids, transforming over the course of several days into these abhuman abominations.
Room 21: The Finest Trash.
Inscription (High Viskani): “The god presiding over the lesser races is Blaash-ke, the lord of filth and excrement, as he cares for his own.”
Strewn about this room are various treasures of Elven, Human, and Dwarven civilizations. The far room will not unlock unless the adventurers take each of the treasures, place them in the pyre, and set fire to them.
Loot: The treasures strewn about the room are each worth 2d10 gp. All of them are flammable. Roll 1d10:
Roll 1d6, then 1d4.
(1 to 3) Human Treasure
- Beautiful rug woven by Onyx Desert nomads.
- Bolt of red silk from the Lantern Isles.
- Pepper and other spices from the distant Spicewind Isles.
- Ornate emerald-studded sword scabbard.
(4) Elven Treasure
- Quarterstaff made from ancient oak, inscribed with celestial signs.
- Tapestry portraying the legendary romance of Ithillia Stars’-Hand.
- A bottle of the very finest Elvish greenberry wine, 2d10 *10 years old.
- Glowing potion bottle, contains moonbeams from the sacred grove of Ravensvale, closed to only the Elven High Druid.
(5 to 6) Dwarven Treasure
- Beautiful wooden plaque depicting dwarven runes.
- Rugged boots from the leather of deep frogs.
- Ornately carved battle axe handle, once owned by King Firehair.
- Dwarvish beer from the legendary brewmaster Fralki Irontoes.
Secret Door: Anyone searching the room will find the secret door to Room 16 here.
Room 22: Falling Walls Trap.
Inscription (High Viskani): “A fool moans about what befalls; a conqueror passes through destruction, and makes it his slave.”
Ahead you see a series of walls falling from empty slots in the ceiling, slamming to the ground with a thundering “crunch”.
Danger – Falling Walls Trap: Characters make a Dexterity throw 12+ (bonus from Acrobatics proficiency) to pass through the series of falling walls without taking damage, or take 1d8+1 damage.
The third falling wall has a Viskani magic emblem on the far side, glowing about the middle of the wall. If any adventurer can make a Dexterity 13+ throw, they can double back and hit the emblem with a melee weapon. If they do so, all the walls instantly retract into the ceiling for 30 minutes. On a failed roll of 1 or 2, though, the character is hit by a falling wall, and takes the normal 1d8+1 damage.
Room 23: The Spoils of Victory … or Defeat.
Inscription (High Viskani): “A conqueror deserves a reward. Failure deserves the utterest scorn.”
If ALL of the characters got through the falling walls trap, everyone’s safe.
If ANY of the characters got hit by the falling walls, gouts of sewage shoot out from the wall.
Danger – Viskani Wine: Viskani wine is rich and potent. Characters that drink Viskani wine must make a Poison & Death save or lose 1d4 Dexterity for the next 6 hours.
Danger – Sewage Jets: Characters make a Dexterity throw 18+ to pass through the sewage splattering out from the wall without getting coated. The sewage does no damage unless any characters have open wounds that haven’t been bound; these characters must make a Poison & Death save or sicken, losing 1d4 Constitution.
Room 24: The Weapons Room.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Trust is the greatest weapon. Do not be afraid to wield it.”
Standing in the room is a weapon rack, mostly looted. Remaining is a fine-looking sword, a heavy crossbow, and a battle axe. These weapons look finely-balanced and ready to use.
Danger – Sabotaged Weapons. Although they look perfectly intact to casual inspection, each of these weapons has a 50% chance of breaking any time they’re used. They will break on any odd die roll, and on a roll of 1 or 3, the character may hurt themselves or a fellow party member.
Room 25: The Perilous Pit.
Inscription (High Viskani): “The threat of death is better than certain death. The promise of transformation is worth braving annihilation.”
The bridge begins retracting from the characters’ side and retracting toward the far end. On the far end of the chasm waits a Screaming Flailer demon, and a lever to stop the bridge from retracting.
Danger – Pit with Retracting Bridge (40′ deep): The bridge retracts 5′ every 2 rounds, so the characters have 2 rounds to make up their minds before they need to jump to reach the bridge. This room drops off to a 40′ deep pit after a 5′ ledge. The bridge is 10′ wide, and the chasm is 20′ across.
Per ACKS 93, characters that fall take 4d6 damage. The bottom of the pit is a shallow, fetid pool, and the walls are slimy, making it almost impossible to climb up unaided.
- Screaming Flailers (Demons)
- % in Lair: N/A, Dungeon Enc.: 2d4, Wilderness Enc.: N/A.
- Alignment: C, Movement: 20’, AC: 14, HD: 4d8+4.
- Attacks: 2, Damage: arm-flail +6 melee (2d6+2), Saves: F4, Morale: +2.
- Treasure Type: G, XP: 190.
- Special Powers
Penance Scream: Once per round, a Screaming Flailer can shriek at a single target in 60′, shattering their nerves. The target must make a Petrification & Paralysis save or suffer 1d6 damage and drop anything in their hands. If they roll the worst result on the save, they also fall prone
Terrifying Teleport: Like a slasher in a horror movie, Screaming Flailers can teleport up to 120′ as long as no one is looking at them, or looking at their destination. They love to attack in crowded ruins.
- Description: The devout and holy sometimes flagellate themselves to drive sin from their bodies and show their penitence. Some, however, harm themselves to gain the appearance of penitence when they’re not truly sorry for their wicked deeds. These latter may find themselves, on their deaths, transformed into Screaming Flailer Demons. The Viskani will also not harm one whose heart has completely and totally been given to wickedness and corruption; there’s no point in punishing them, they cannot learn.
- A Screaming Flailer’s skin is stripped off, and their hands are replaced with huge, barbed flails. Anyone whose heart has sin they haven’t repented of may be scourged by a Screaming Flailer. The Viskani often summoned Screaming Flailers to patrol their temple mazes.
Room 26: The Terror is Over (?)
Inscription (High Viskani): “Arms and magic are the bitterest betrayers. Endurance and courage will never forsake you.”
There’s nothing in this room but some benches to rest on. Viskani magical writing lines the walls, but there’s no way to tell what it means, if anything.
Danger – Potion Reversal Charms: Magic runes line the walls that reverse the magical potency of any potions. Healing potions cause damage, instead of curing it (half normal amount), while poisons slowly heal (full normal amount).
Room 27: The Plundered Scriptorium.
Inscription (High Viskani): “Wisdom is our ultimate goal. Wisdom undermines our enemies’ power. Wisdom exalts us to the heights, until the end of the Eighth Age.”
This small room is filled with bookshelves, once filled with the sacred texts and magical treatises of the Viskani.
Loot: The scriptorium has been heavily looted, but 2d12 books remain, each worth 1d20 gold pieces. Lying hidden and disregarded in a corner is a Mage’s spellbook with 2d4 randomly-determined spells.
It’s obvious to look around that the scriptorium was looted recently, but the thief left in a hurry. If they left behind this many books, they were probably looking for something specific.
There’s a scrap of paper here, commanding a member of the Seal of Red and Black to loot the temple for Frabdan Wald, the Cackling Conjuror of the Trackless Forest. Any literate person from Gwaethyr (there are only 6 or 7 of them) will recognize the handwriting as belonging to Seklarus, a shady character who hangs out at the Spiteful Serpent Tavern. Time to go collect, and interrogate someone …