Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"A Place of Thorns"

This is another overland area, directly to the east of the beastman forest in my previous post. Again, it covers an area that can be covered with one day's hard travel. My players pretty much stuck to the west side of the map, where the forest begins, but still encountered a bunch of enemies, before investigating the fire cave, saying no to the fire skull's offer, and going back into the forest.

I present to you...


This is a dried, cracked landscape. An empty, keening wind whistles ceaselessly. A forest of black thorns springs from the plains, far higher than a man's head. 

ENCOUNTERS: Roll d6 every 6 hours

1 d4+1 Golden skeletons of Urizen. These look like Terminator 2 type metal skeletons twice as big as a guy. They're constructed by the Demon Lord Urizen for the same purpose as the terminators. Gold skeletons, HP 60 AC 19 Claymore +12 d10+6, Magic Resistance 50%, at half health releases electricity in a 10’ aura dealing its remaining HP in damage.  
2 A Purple Knight on a Purple Clad horse, demands payment of a single person or one-on-one combat for safe passage. HP 100 AC 22 3 attacks +10 2d8, Strength +10, unable to do dirty maneuvers, when takes 30 damage his helmet comes off and starts shooting purple fireballs 5d6 damage +10. Can only be harmed when fighting 1 person at a time. Has like 12 severed heads on his horse.
3 d12 clouds with horrible human faces descend from the sky and rain swarms of worms.  Each produces a 4HD swarm which deals d4xd4 damage per round, slows and nauseates target.  The clouds hover about 100’ overhead, laughing.  Immune to normal weapons, but 10hp each.  As the PCs take damage they lower long tubes to suck up their juices.
4 11 goblins riding hogs, they can each fire d4 arrows per round, HP 7 AC 12 +8 d6 damage, move 40’, if killed they fly back screaming like 100’ and bounce across the landscape in 100’ bounds.
5 Nada
6 Nothing


2d20 MAN-EATING HORSES — gallop and try to overtake the caravan, bloodstained slavering mouths, bites deal d10 damage, HP 20, AC 12 when 5 or more are killed they flee, screaming horsely curses. 

HEAVY THORNS: A dense thorn forest. Thorns are as big as hands, or longer.




GRAVEYARD: in a hollow surrounded by low hills, dozens of graves stripped by the rain and the wind, at center of the graveyard stuck in a patch of barren earth is a weathered greatsword sword. If the sword is removed, d12xd12 zombies emerge from the earth and it begins to rain. If retained, the sword can be commanded to seek a foe’s heart 1/week, dealing a critical hit (if the attack hits) and if the foe is slain, the wielder will heal the amount of damage dealt. Thereafter crows will gather and watch the wielder closely.

TROLL: Crawls among the gravestones, keening and moaning, a long fat troll, instead of a face it possesses a bottomless pit, it will grab foes and tip them back into its face. 

HP 100 AC 17 Speed 40 2 ATKS in 10’ area +8 2d8+6 dmg, or CHARGE 80 feet and one attack +10 2d8+6 and knock back 2d6x10’; THROW GRAVESTONE 120’ +8 8d6 and then travel in a straight line 50’ 8d6 more damage. THE HOLE!!! — GRAB +8 then GRAPPLE +15 to put you in the hole! everything a player describes gets like another +2 to prevent this. INSIDE is a sickly black void that flashes red, at the bottom 200’ feet down (20d6 damage) is a flickering expanse, a pile of gold d10x400gp,  Regenerates 20 hp/round.

SALT LICK: A mineral lick. At the center of the salt lick, a giant's face formed of salt protrudes. Numerous animals come to lick the salt: boars, chickens, goats, possums, all led by a magic peacock.

Hiding nearby is a party of evil adventurers (in my game, the DEADBOYZ), about to unleash a powerful spell (Fireball or Circle of Death or something) to kill all the animals and harvest their bodies.

FIRE CAVE: shoots fire in a plume visible from miles away, especially at night. It’s like a charred mud cone, ground all around it is thick and black. Up close can be heard endless screaming. Inside there’s just a narrow tunnel that goes down 300’ into a vault. Fire deals 4d10 damage per round, within 10’ its 2d10 damage, feels hot within 60’. 

VAULT: Charred marble walls. Two halves of a statue of a sexy woman.  Skull is a barbarian warrior who slew an army of women “TULRU KARQ” He can provide a skill that’s so complex it works only once! versus woman only — if attack hits, woman will move up to 30’ and attack nearest woman, if hits then chains endlessly. 

"Rumors of Beastmen"

My high level players have been traveling south to a megadungeon for a few months now. I made a dense overland hexcrawl for them to navigate. Basically what I do is for each hex I draw an overland map with landmarks and encounters and write details either directly on the map, or in my notes text file. It's been working really well. I originally intended each map to last for about a session, but D&D being D&D, everything takes about three times as long.

This is a small, creepy forest filled with beastmen. Players, I doubt you'll be back here, I guess you can read this if you want. There are secrets but I guess that's okay. I'll just change everything around.

I present to you...


A thick, old-growth conifer forest. Visibility quickly becomes very short. Owls during the day and night watch from high trees. At the borders of the forest, carved into trees, are beastman runes denoting their territory.

Notes on running this:

The map covers an area that can be crossed with one day's hard travel. In my game this is about twelve miles. The paper is rectangular, but I short-handed it by saying both width and length is 12 miles. This worked alright. Describe that can be seen from the players' location, and/or draw a sketchy map of what they can see. From the ground this is typically three miles, or one quarter the length of the sheet of paper. In this area the players' will have to climb trees or fly to get a good sight of the area around them. In that case, you can use this calculator here figure out how far they can see: http://www.ringbell.co.uk/info/hdist.htm

RANDOM ENCOUNTERS: Roll d6 every 6 hours.

1 GIANT “NAMEROT” cast out of the Fortress of Snow, roaming the wastes in hatred, devouring all it comes across, locked into rage. It can be heard from a mile away and carves a path through the forest.

The Nightmare Paladin of Deirregex the Black Dragon and his adherents came to the Fortress of Snow to utter a decree, that they choose one among them to exile. NAMEROT was chosen as the weakest and smallest, stripped of his clothes and possessions, and forced out into the wastes. He wanders in desolation and anger, killing and eating all he comes across. 

I used the stats from Frostbitten and Mutilated for this giant (his aura destroyed all written material within 100'), except HP is multiplied by 2 and damage is all +2d6 at least. Basically just think of the worst biggest stats you can imagine and send them at the players.

2 d6+10 Forest goblins with moss and ferns growing all over skin, 1 or 2 have wicker cages for kidnapped victims. HP 12, AC 16, Touch +8 cause target to shriek ceaselessly for 24 hours. DEFENSE: when killed with anything but cold iron or live wood, immediately reborn from nearby tree. POWERS: Can cast level 1 witch spells, also ONCE PER DAY (TOUCH): TARGET SHRINKS TO MOUSE SIZE (24 hours). All milk curdles in presence. Always accompanied by: 1 forest goblin with overgrown antlers, can cast witch spells up to level 5. They are searching for eggs and children to bring back to Havith Orr, will try to kidnap BASHRO (a child in the players' caravan) or shrink and kidnap a few people. SNEAK +6
3 d100 lunatic woodsmen, they each have HP 8 and Strength 20, they wield rusty axes +6 d8 damage and makeshift arrows +8 d8 damage, they are screaming and crying and some of them are naked or clad in furs and they are killing all animals they find. If they see the moon, they moan and cry and turn into trees. SNEAK +4
4 A Black Wyrm 100 feet long. HP 80, AC 18, its gaze causes paralysis as long as eyes are locked plus 1 minute afterwards, Wisdom DC 20 per round to break out after, Bite is poison 10 damage every hour and “poisoned”; can swallow anything horse-sized or swallowed given like an hour. Can sneak +10 and will attack stragglers or people alone, if rolled PCs should roll perception, describe a rustling of leaves if they hear it.
5 2d6 owls watch from above, next time this is rolled its 2d6x2, next time this is rolled its 2d6x4 and they suddenly and senselessly attack as a swarm.
6 Nothing


FOREST PATH: Narrow, overgrown, covered in forest needles, crossed by logs, the smell of fungus and leaves.

CRUDE BEASTMAN RUNES OF GOAT ARMY: These disgusting runes cause fear in Elkmen on sight.

3 IMPALED GUYS: Staked through the throat, Cannibal-holocaust style. These were priests. d100 GP. Holy symbols to BELM trampled by hooves at their feet. Divine magic cast here won’t work within 30’ unless the symbols are blessed somehow.

CHEST IN POND: bullfrogs, thick reeds, the chest pokes through the water. Chest contains: eel, d10x100gp, silver dagger.

GOBLIN TRAPPED IN SOAPBUBBLE: can’t be broken from the inside, if popped with a sharp object (like a latex balloon), it explodes and bubbles everyone within 30’ (DEX save 16). Floats around as if 0 gravity. He found the bubble in the ground and poked it. Goblin named GRABBLE, has lion hands and a purple face, if released will tell of a nearby danger. Has d100x10 goblin gold he will not part with.  

BEASTMAN GUARD: a tall spiral tower, beastman on top is keeping watch, able to see over the trees. Has a horn and a bow with 4 special arrows with range 300’, these deal 8d6 damage and impale you to the ground (restrained Strength DC 15, and when you do you take 8d6 more damage). The ancient watchtower anchors spells: any spell cast within 50' of the tower causes it to seek the tower instead.

TROLL UNDER BRIDGE: Ruined, barely holding together stone bridge. TROLL HP 100 AC 17 Regenerates 20 hp/round. Can cast “FORGET THE PATH” in a 30’ radius at will, this causes the map to rearrange (I was just gonna cut it up and tape it back together). Demands payment of 1000 gold pieces to allow passage. Has a pile of gold underneath, just d100x10 left, as he is eating it for sustenance. 2 atks per round +10 2d8 and knock down. Looks like a THIN, BULGING EYED, DRIBBLING man 20 feet tall, he clutches at bars beneath the bridge which give him cover +2, but he can rip them open in 1 round. If angered but not slain he will go to the beastmen.

2 BEASTMAN CAPTAINS IN DUEL: VORKETH THE INSANE (goatman) and BLOODTHIRSTING RASHUL (elkman) locked in duel now lasting a week. Each are 20 level fighters, their duel has trampled a long area, they are both weary and at 10 HP each. VORKETH wields a BONE AXE, RASHUL wields a 9-HEADED WHIP and CURVED DAGGER OF FROZEN BLOOD. Their duel is for obscure old-timey reasons. Whoever wins, the opposing beastman warband must leave the forest. The bottomless pit near them goes down for 300’, at the bottom is a boneless eyeless man who on a successful hit sucks the bones out of a random limb.

HP 200, AC 20, 4 attacks per round, STR +15, BLOODTHIRSTING RASHUL may deliver a FESTERING BITE that deals 20 disease damage every morning, cumulatively increasing by 10 every day (CONSTITUTION DC 20).  VORKETH THE INSANE is immune to all mind-affecting magic, psionics, illusions, and so forth, and may deliver an INSANE BLEAT 1/round (recharge 5/6) which causes all enemies to move and attack their nearest ally (CHARISMA to resist DC 20).

2 WAITING BEASTMAN WARBANDS: They are waiting for the duel to end. Tents of animal skin, great hocks roasted on spits, stench, cannibalism. Each warband consists of 50-80 beastmen. A typical beastman is level 3 (HP 21), can command animals at will, in addition to normal weapon attacks can bite or gore for 1d10 damage. Beasts and animals will not harm them under any circumstances.

LIGHTNING HILLS: Under these hills are buried necromancer siamese twins. Their vile power causes lightning to strike the tops of the hills incessantly and simultaneously.

ELKS: bloodier, savage, impale animals on their horns, cannibal, may eat a fallen comrade to gain full health, speed 50
GOATS: religious for BELPHEGOR, 50% chance of able to cast any 2nd level cleric spell DC 15 once, able to climb any surface and jump vertically 20’


roll d20
1-5nothing + weapon
6-7d10 gold
8skull of beastman’s friend, knows secret about beastman
9jar of grubs, will eat the flesh off a corpse in an hour, devour the bones in another
10soap made from woman fat
11necklace of human teeth
12-15d100 gold
16young pig
17beastman stick figure, will ward against opposing beastman as antipathy spell 8 hours
18green arrow, if target is in range and you know their name, it will seek them as a normal attack and ignore any cover
19bag with cat skeleton inside, name “grinder”
20 d100x4 gold

BIG TREASURE (in leader’s pavilion)

Black panther “JUSTICE” being prepared for biocombination with a BOA CONSTRICTOR “RAGDA”
BRACELET made of GREEN METAL, if slid up onto the bicep it turns the wielder’s ARM INVISIBLE for 1 minute per day (but not anything they’re holding)
d1000xd10 gold


A giant goat, its hind and forelegs bound together, it writhes across the ground making a tormented sound, its head is going to be split in two as soon as they can find a good cleric. Then it's gonna be a two-headed giant goat.
d1000x10 gold

ANCIENT TREE: Covered in crows which see with the eyes of the ancient hag imprisoned in its roots. ‘BAVOR ORAMIS” is her name, she longs for freedom, if freed will grant a level 6 spell. She is wholly evil and was trapped by a good wizard hundreds of years ago, she will immediately return to her evil pursuits of killing all women younger and more beautiful than her, as well as forming a coven.

HUT HAS SKELETON OF WOODSMAN: He is clutching an axe, which 1/day can cut down a tree in a single stroke.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Village of Fishtown

I wrote this town as a starting point for my group of new players. I used to live in Fishtown when I lived in Philadelphia and this place is dedicated to it. It's meant to be a simple sandbox village that's not too big and only dangerous if the players get into big trouble. I sort of intended it to be fun for only a session or two, and eventually less engaging and not very lucrative, so there's good reason to get out into the world. However, my players are obsessed with this place and honestly so am I, so I'm building in ways to change and expand it as time goes on.

I present to you...


The squares are buildings.

The BLACK TREES cluster closely to the edges of the stone city. The trees press against the outermost houses as if trying to get in. Here it is only day-time for SIX HOURS A DAY, and when the sun rises it is a WAN WHITE, but warm. Everywhere under the stone eaves and stone cobbling and sitting upon stone benches and upon the edges of the fountains and perched on the rooftops are the CATS. They live among the people and say nothing — they keep their own secrets.

These are only a small population, the forest is well known for the cats. In the forest they are as common as squirrels and birds, of which there are now few. There are rumors of LUCKY CATS, cats made of SILVER AND GOLD, cats that can FLY, cats that can SEE THE FUTURE. It is thought the Forest of Cats used to hold a city, before the forest overtook it, and the only remnants of the city are its population of cats, and the ruins which still lie under the trees. 


CONVENIENCE STORE: POLLIS MUDGROT bent, old, numb, a smoker, sells gum, candy, liquor, beef jerky, cigarettes. 2 cats: OIL (orange) and MARGARET (fat). 4 old ice-cream sandwiches in parchment paper, 10g each.


PAWN SHOP: TENNRIS RILYA, 1 white cat named CHORT. Tennris can buy treasure and other random junk players might recover from dungeons, almost no questions asked.

THRIFT STORE: TONRUX BELTON, an older gentleman, grey-haired, a little sad. Imagine the sort of guy who used to work at a small town video store. He lives over his thrift store and owns 4 cats: 2 greys, a black, and a siamese.

INN:THE DIRTY DOZEN” Proprietor CORNTER YUN. This place is a little nice. Rooms are 1g a night, and 1g can get you 5 beers. Here they are fond of a dice-game called ROLLING ROCKS, the point is to match 6s and 2s. 2 cats: HATHBORN and TULCH.


Staying here is a rich novelist from Castle Vortaric, BLENSOME OTE. Every day he doesn’t write, an imp comes through his window and scratches him horribly. He put this curse on himself.

WEST BAR: “THE WET WELL.” Bartender VINX OLTOON is pouring heavy. This is a dive bar with a fine back patio. There is a ruined car back here but no one knows what it is. 1g gets you 10 beers. Bands play here on the weekend. Prominent corner table with lamp. 4 cats: BORT, JULIUS, ASHLEY, and CRAB, who always has a real crab riding on his back. Dinner: sausages, mushrooms.


In bathroom: graffiti contains spell of ENLARGE, BUT NOW YOU’RE BLUE.

EAST BAR: “WET BAR” Proprietors KORCHULA LOGAIN and MADISON LANK. 1g will get you 1 drink or 2 beers. A fancy bar. No back lounge. Mounted on wall is leopard fighting snake, hidden inside leopard is gem worth 100g which if dropped into water turns it to glass (10’ cube).  Aquarium holds SEA CUCUMBERS. 3 cats.

CHEESE: ARJAX DROPE sells all manner of cheese. No cats, the man likes dogs.

HOSTEL: VACKNEY MORRIS, a cruel man, is mean to people he befriends. A bed is 2sp a night, but you’re in a room with 4-8 other people. 1 calico cat: PLATOON.

Staying here are a party of 4 CAT-CATCHERS from CASTLE VORTARIC. ANDU, CRAFF, OLGA, and BENTON. They have caught 8 cats, and need to catch 8 more before they can return to the castle. News of them has spread among the cats, and no cat will appear in sight of them. There are 4 of them, all 1st level thieves armed with nets and loop staffs. Every day they go out into the forest and return with d4-1 cats.


The heart-shaped pond is to the east half a days travel. It is surrounded by blue frogs. The silver cat appears only at sunset, as if materialized from air, to hunt the frogs and drink from the pond. It is a familiar to the witch Malice Astarion, who lives in an invisible palace carved frozen night, far to the south east.

The Cat Seeketh: HP 12, AC 14, Dex +6. May jump 30 feet. If anyone touches the cat, they are stuck to it, and then infinite skin chain with permanent duration. Arrows that strike it turn to flowers. 2 attacks: Claw/claw +4/+4 1d4/1d4. If it is stolen, Malice Astarion and her other familiars will seek it relentlessly.

After 4 days the cat-catchers will be attacked by 3 evil panther sisters, and only ANDU will return with his life.

WET WELL: 40’ down is water. Under the water is a wooden door emblazoned with a rose and skull. The door seems stuck, but if you open it (STR 15) it opens inward. Inside is a waterless room, dark and sparkling, as if filled with water. This is the home of the spirit HENWE VLO, who appears as a red skinned man with no eyes. He sits upon the couch, completely still until someone approaches. Comfortable but spare, a couch, a low table, a statue of an owl, a lamp. HENWE VLO says (in spirit language, which sounds like hissing electricity but is nonetheless intelligible): “I have been captured by Ectinel the Warlock! My flesh is put to crude purposes. Do not let me be a slave! Free me!” Henwe Vlo then turns transparent and disappears. In his place is a blue egg, inside the egg is a key that will unlock any door in Ectinel’s tower.

Ectinel’s tower lies three days to the south. 

In the couch: d100 gold. The statue of the owl turns into an owl when exposed to moonlight, and will perform 1 task. The lamp burns continuously, but as long as the lamp burns it cannot be moved. 

DRY WELL: has a stone covering. if you go to the bottom and close the top, a skeleton will rise from the ground and strangle you.  

NAIL SALON: DORDA YENT. Nails: 5g to 50g.


The evil town was called Selfoss. They betrayed each other, stole from nearby towns, tortured criminals, and refused to help those in need. Eventually they started to form raids on Castle Hexx and attempted to take the castle, so Lord Hexx rallied a party and routed the town. Now it’s a ghost town, with a handful of evil merchants, thieves, and monsters.

CAKE STORE: GRUULA LORM creates fabulous cakes, miniature cakes, cupcakes, sheetcakes, cake-bites. Full window display of amazing cakes. Limited supply of cake slices per day. Cakes range in price from 100g to 1000g. Once per year cakes are commissioned from Castle Vortaric for the wedding anniversary of Lord and Lady Moan. 

CAFE: Only serves milks and tea-milks. 1g gets you 4. 1 cat: CHAMPAGNE. Proprietor ORIANG TORCHULA. Must be dressed fancy to attend. Fanciest ladies in town come here to tell secrets.

SCHOOL: A boarding school for girls. No boys allowed. Excessive schoolgirls learning sums, sewing, history, etc. Ballet class, chanting, bullies, menstruation. You could go full Suspiria with this if you wanted. Staffed by nun sisters SISTER AGRATE and SISTER FRET. On moonless nights they take the most gifted girl to a frozen pond deep in the forest and perform loathsome rituals, in order to unlock latent psychic powers.

They worship a creepy Virgin Mary analogue called the GREY LADY, who is severe, overbearing, cruel but claims to be kind, insistent on celibacy, manifests to annihilate her enemies, and worshipped by only women across the continent. Male priests claim this goddess does not exist, while her worshippers claim she is simultaneously the mother, wife, and daughter of whatever god is primary in the area.

Magic girl: YOVA BARU, age 17. HP 3, AC 20 until hit once, and then her power breaks and she has AC 9, Powers: Eyes bulge and she DOMINATES PERSON to bring her sweets and kill enemies, MIND BLAST in a 15’ cone 1d8 damage (Cha save DC 12 for half), ARM ERUPTS AND BURSTS into 2 TENTACLES provides 2 attacks 10’ range +5 1d6 damage and grab

SISTER AGRATE: HP 6 AC 15 (monk-like reflexes) Wavy dagger +4 1d4 and poison, 1d4 poison damage every hour until CON save DC 12. 1 spell: She radiates a sickly moonlight, healing allies within 30’ for 1d8 and inflicting a level of exhaustion on enemies within 30’ (Con DC 12).

SISTER FRET: HP 9 AC 12 Cruel gaze: unable to directly attack Sister Fret while she is looking at you (no save)  Serrated dagger: 1d4 damage and then bleed for 1d4 damage for 1d4+1 rounds or until Medicine check DC 12.

SHRINES: Here are the shrines to the deities of the forest: TORUN (TOTORO) and the GIRL GODDESSES: GRETA (CHIHIRO), LORDA (MONONOKE), and ARGA (PONYO). No cats.

The local deities here are meant to be almost explicitly analogues of the Miyazaki girl heroes. I'd say it's definitely okay if the players recognize this. 

GRETA: She bested a cruel sorceress who operated a bath-house for the spirits, and who was subjugating the mortals of the forest by turning them into pigs. Greta reunited the sorceress with her doppelganger, ending her power. Domains: anti-magic, trickery, domesticity.
LORDA: She allied with the God of Cats and the beasts of the forest against an army of invading humans who sought Its heart. Domains: beasts, nature, war.
ARGA: She came from a secret ocean in the forest and married a human boy, to prevent the forest's destruction at the hands of her father. Domains: magic, water, love.
TORUN: A spirit of the forest, who protects travelers and finds lost things. He was befriended by two princes, who came to the forest after their mother the queen died of illness. Domains: spirits, friendship, travel.

FOUNTAIN: fountain of a fish spouting water. The fish is of an ancient species turned to stone. If turned back and eaten, gain 2d8 temporary hit-poits. 18 golden koi fish. 1 is black. they get 1 bite attack +2 1-2 dmg — this is why the cats don’t eat them.  1 white cat.

GUARD HOUSE: 10 guards, each 3rd level fighters in chainmail, armed with swords, nets, bows. they don’t guard full-time, there’s usually one 1 or 2 on duty, with 4 more on back-up back at the house. CAPTAIN FLENDER GRAVE is a level 6 fighter

JAIL: If you’re caught by the guards for something minor (theft, public nuisance, etc), you go to jail for 7+d10 days, or you can buy your way out early by paying a medium sum (d8x100 or something) . They’re tired of public nuisances and adventurers, so Charisma checks are made with disadvantage.

Bigger crimes (murder, etc) are jailed indefinitely and then transported by armed guards to Castle Vortaric for trial.

CITY HALL: Basically just full of government functionaries during the week, and only open during business hours. Lightly guarded at other times. There's a very small public library, a big echoey public bathroom in the basement, and in the main rotunda are statues of a serpent, a woman, and a two-headed man, under which is hidden THE SECRET GARDEN OF LORD VYRE.

BUS STOP: Just an iron bench and a lamp-post. Ancient. People call it a bus-stop, but don't know what a bus is. If you ask around, someone may tell you a spirit used to transport allies of Torun throughout the forest, and would come to the bus-stop. If players guess it's the cat-bus, you better use your best poker face.

ANTICHURCH: 45 minutes travel south to Fishtown’s gothic-style graveyard. Tall iron fence, 9 cats, claw-like trees burst from the ground and send roots under the stone paths, which were made from headstones found in the graveyard before. At center of graveyard is stairs down to an upside-down cathedral, upside-down saints, upside down candelabras. Scattered chairs where penitents pray for the dead. 

WIZARD: The tower of the wizard Craxus. The true tower is actually in Castle Hexx, but Craxus projects his tower into this one at times in order to do business with the denizens of Fishtown. When Craxus is not projecting his tower into this one, this tower is an empty ruin. I imagine him to be a cruel and myopic man, obsessed with power, condescending at all times, unable to admit fault, and annoyingly powerful. He can assist with anything magic related, but only for a steep fee or an over-involved quest.

Craxus: HP 60, AC 18
Spells: Black Lightning (at will), targets 1d4 targets, deal 3d10 damage with a +8 attack bonus; Hideous Shrinking (1/day): target shrinks to 1 foot tall, but looks like a hideous old man with Str 1, Dex 1, and movement 5; Club Foot (1/day): target limb grows 3x, becomes impossibly heavy, duration permanent; Vomit Spiders: target vomits spiders for 1d4 rounds, takes 2d10 poison damage on the first round, and then the spiders bite you, dealing 5 poison dmg every hour and you swell horribly until you die.

Protected by 2 shadow apes restrained by collars. HP 18 AC 15 Bite +6 1d8 dmg to maximum health. 1/2 damage from normal weapons.

Stuff to steal on his desk:
Glass orb with a spider in it (this contains his familiar demon JORGIT)
Sword with a face on the handle (this is the face of DUKE VLATH, who opposed the wizard 600 years ago)
Green crystal lamp worth 600gp
Spell book (inside the desk; the book is trapped: when you touch it you're launched backwards out the window)


Fishtown's stats are as follows. If the players wanna know if the town has something in particular, just roll d20 under the target stat, or under half the stat if it seems unlikely.

STR 12 (Military Strength) 
DEX 15 (Economy) 
CON 9 (General Safety and Health) 
INT 7 (Books and Smarts) 
WIS 13 (Spirituality) 
CHA 12 (Beauty)


Roll Sleight of Hand vs. Opponents Perception (Base -1 for a drunk idiot, d4+1 for a first level opponent, or +7 at max for a canny thief)

On failure, you're caught. On success, roll d20:

1. nothing
2. d100 copper
3 d20 silver
4-10 d20 gold
11 d100 gold

roll d10 as above, and:

12 scorched black coin with blood drop carved into it, present to a vampire of visigardia and they spare your life for the night 
13 invitation to castle vortaric anniversary party, however it is personally addressed to Naima Salm
14 mouse, dex save DC 10 or bites you 1 damage 
15 butterfly knife with matte black knife and handle
16 expensive salmon-colored handkerchief worth 75 gold 
17 tissue paper wraps a single chocolate enchanted with a spell of protection — next time you take damage, you take none
18 d6 dice
19 house keys with address
20 architectural map of city hall indicates a secret door under statue of 2-headed man, but not what lies beyond

Some other options when you run out:
locket contains hand-drawn picture of very handsome bearded woman
a sleeping kitten

rough map of Vomic Leth indicating location of the lost town SELFOSS


1 Bolura Gren, a fortune-teller, is staying at the hostel. She plans to travel to Castle Hexx as soon as she can hire a bodyguard or four.
2 Cashra Bolt, a mage, has been wandering drunk through the streets and hexing people. The guards are scared of her and need her to go. She can cast Bestow Curse at will. She got broke up with by a stable-boy she loved.
3 Collaldo Mines, a reptile-owner, is staying at the inn. She is selling reptiles: crocodile 200gp, iguana 50gp, bearded dragon 20g, gecko 15g. She is also buying any reptiles or reptile eggs for at least 50g a pop.
4 Grenda Volsh, a carpet-weaver, has moved into town. She is selling fine rugs and carpets.
5 Boldin Breck seeks to open a cat cafe and is going door to door to raise the funds. He needs at least 3000 gold. When he funds, he’ll open a cat cafe / adoption center for cats.

6 Sir Olvey Varn, an aging knight from the woods, has wandered into town and is sleeping in public squares. Plants are growing on his armor and horse. He is lost and needs escort back to the Heart of the Woods, past Castle Hexx.


10,000g SPA 


Roll d10

 -3 A Palace can be seen in the roiling clouds up there.
 -2 A thunderstorm for half an hour at least, lightning streams across the sky, very windy, movement at half-speed. Then roll again at -3.
-1 Pounding rain lasts for an hour, then rain until day-break. Roll at -2.
 0 Overcast, light rain for d6+1 days. Roll at -2.
 1 Humid and misty, everything is shrouded in moisture. Roll at -1 next time.
 2 Mounded, sparkling clouds high in the sky
 3 The stars seem close and bright, spells of enchantment and illusion are at advantage
 4 Foggy and misty, visibility reduced to 100’
 5 Heavy fog, visibility reduced to 15’
 6 A gold aurora streams across the sky from the north
 7 The shards of the Egg Moon are visible in the sky tonight
 8 The Skull Moon sits in the sky tonight
 9 A cold, clear night. A rainbow aura shines around the moon. 
 10 Very cold, persists d6+1 days. Roll at +1. 
 11 Light, sparkling snow, a dusting of sugar. Next roll at +2.
 12 Heavy snow, covers the ground for d6+1 days. Roll at +3 during this time.
 13 So cold the very air seems to be frozen. Words uttered tumble to the ground like crystals. Spells freeze in the air upon casting and must be thrown like snowballs. Next roll at +2 .



1 Calico
2 Tabby
3 Orange
4 Siamese
5 White
6 Black
7 Tuxedo
8 No fur
9 Grey
10 Fat
11 Ugly
12 Red

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Temple of a Forgotten God

This is a small dungeon I made for my level 9-14 players. They are on a long journey south to the megadungeon, and I put this in their way as a potential trap. It's meant to be claustrophobic and constricting and to subvert regular sandbox expectations in an unpleasant way, but despite appearances, its not too big and not very difficult to beat. There is some very good treasure if characters search thoroughly, and some very difficult encounters if they're unlucky.

Players, since you beat the dungeon and can't go back inside, it's safe to read this if you'd like.

I present to you,


This temple rises from the city like a claw grasping at the sky. His last priest keeps a funeral pyre burning at the top of the tallest tower. After the slow apocalypse that emptied the city, the temple continued to collect sacrifices, hold masses, and pray for the death of the outside world. One by one the priests were ritually slain to please the nameless god, and he was pleased, and extended his protection to the last adherents. Pilgrims making their way to the temple were brought to an inner chamber and made to contribute to the last sacrament. Finally, at the end of time, no sacrifices have been brought to the temple for an eternity, and the god’s power has waned, his interest has all but faded. The temple’s last priest maintains the ritual pyre, if only a few more bodies could be added to the pile, perhaps the decline of the city could be slowed.

The priest, over the long millennia of his holy life, has laid a trap for travelers to the city. His unwaning desire has warped the fabric of the city around the temple. Anyone who strays too close cannot leave, any path away from the temple leads them directly back to the plaza containing the pool.

POOL: In a wide Vatican plaza, a long rectangular pool, lined with dead trees. A single long fish swims the pool counterclockwise. It has one red cyclops eye. If eaten, deals 20 damage.

At the base of the hill, the temple already seems larger than it did at a distance. It squats on top of it, utterly still and silent. Dead and crumbling sedge grows out of the rocky shale. It’s a tough climb, or you can take the stairs. As you climb, the temple grows larger and larger, and the city recedes beneath you. It grows to the size of a mountain, the towers stretching as high as a colossus into the sky, though the light of the single fire always remains in sight.

Putting out the fire breaks the spell and allows you to leave. 

EXTERIOR: Like an ant crawling up a human. As you ascend the exterior it grows larger and larger. It’s impossible to reach even halfway up. It’s an occam’s razor type situation. If you try to enter from the exterior, roll 1d10-1 to see where you end up.

TRAVEL INSIDE THE TEMPLE: Moving from one point to another takes about an hour. 40 minutes at a fast pace, 90 minutes at a slow pace. Basically you’re moving through a labyrinth of hallways and cells, in a general direction, and it’s not too tough to find your way back in the direction you came from, though everything is so similar it’s difficult to tell. 

No matter how long you spend inside the temple, when you exit, it has always been 44 minutes.

ENCOUNTERS. Roll d6 every 2 hours. When an encounter is beat, just cross it off. This dungeon gets easier as you complete it.

1. d4+1 Stone spectres. They look like human-shaped sheets of marble floating through the halls. 

HP 30 AC 16 1 attack +8 d20 to max HP, or possess DC 17 to kill or maim self or others. Resistance to all damage except divine magic and psychic damage. Undead resistances. Unharmed by normal weapons. May turn invisible every other round.
2. Two paired black stone hands the size of cars. 

AC 18 Speed 60 HP 120 3 atks +10 for d20 dmg, or grab and crush +6 for 3d20. Perception and Stealth + 7
3. A rush of wind passes down the tunnel, blowing out any torches, Dex DC 12 or fall down.
4. A goblin has been lost here for decades
5. A rival adventuring party, The Deadboyz, also lost in the temple. Exact stats for these blokes are secret, but in my game they are 3 clearly powerful, armed to the teeth adventurers, served by more than double the number of henchmen the players have. 
6 A toll-door is found, instructions state that bleeding 100hp worth onto it will lead you closer to your desire. Skip 1 room closer to your desire in the temple.


ENTRANCES: A series of high arches that all lead up to the same high arched foyer. All exits lead upward to ONE.

1 CATHEDRAL. This oblong cathedral proceeds upward as high as a skyscraper, its heights lost in darkness. Walls are weathered and cracked. Weathered rows of pews face the center in arcs, where there’s a melted stump of stone vaguely resembling a figure. EXITS: 100’ up are stairs leading up to 3. Hallways along the floor lead west to 2.

2 STATUES. Spiral guggenheim-shaped galery. At center is huge Beksinski statue holding a blue veiled figure, along upper galleries are smaller ones. They all look like they’re attempting to carve variations on the same creature. 

Around the huge Beksinski statue flap 4 dots of light wreathed in silvery veils, these are stone spectres. Perception +8. If they see you, they will possess you, and if that doesn’t work they will possess statues.

HP 30 AC 16 1 attack +8 d20 to max HP, or possess DC 17 to perform most violent acts. Resistance to all damage except divine magic and psychic damage. Undead resistances. Unharmed by normal weapons. May turn invisible every other round.

As statues: HP 25 AC 19 2 atks +6 d20, Strength +10, Resistance to all except bludgeoning, psychic, and anything else that can affect stone. When killed, the spectre is expelled and stunned for one round. As a bonus action on its turn, the spectre can switch to another statue within 60’.

If the veil of the held figure is pulled back, there is nothing underneath. However the veil radiates magic, if placed over a corpse, its weight is reduced to 1 pound.

If the box in room 5 is destroyed, all the statues come to life. Assume somewhere around 50 statues total.

3 STAIRS MAZE The stairs from the top of the cathedral lead to a tangle of stairs weaving in and out of each other and changing direction unexpectedly. Various nexuses of stairs are identical and difficult to differentiate. 

Navigation requires an INT check DC 20 (assume anything a player does to help them through the maze gives a cumulative +1-4 bonus), otherwise you travel for an hour and end up at: 1. Cathedral 2. Ossuary 3. Pilgrim Ritual 4. Cistern (how did we get here? no matter how hard you search cannot find way back to 3). East exit is marked by archway of vertebrae, west exit has dark souls 3 style petrified pilgrims bowing towards it.

At one nexus is a chalk outline of a door. This can be found if the maze is carefully searched, otherwise there is a 25% chance of encountering it. Tf tunneled through somehow there is a dead monk meditating amid dead candles, as well as 1000xd4 gold worth of trinkets, and a bell that when rung can do a healing word 3x per day (d10 charges left).

4 SPIRAL TUNNEL. A smooth-bore perfectly circular tunnel spiraling upwards. It’s a hard climb but leads inexorably to a crossroads gallery, west smells of stagnant water, east is marked by dark souls 3 style pilgrims.

5 PETRIFIED PILGRIMS RITUAL. Inside a kiln-of-the-first-flame-type giant yert are rows of men kneeling and bowing towards the center.  They are turned to a kind of crumbling ash, the forms near the center are crumbling away, the forms nearest the exterior are weathered but crisp and their faces are devout and pleased. At the center on a metal stand is an organic-looking stone box with organic holes, like a cube of flesh turned to stone. It radiates evil and transmutation power. The lines of ritual are left on the floor in uncanny design.

This place was used to extract the souls from all the pilgrims who came here. They are being eaten by the box. The ritual can continue, or the souls can be released. An Arcana check DC 20 can show how the ritual can be modified to speed up or slow down the soul extraction, though the details of the ritual are contained in the document in room 11. If the box is destroyed, the souls of the dead are released and swapped back into the corpses. There are 111 in total — HP 1d4+1x10, AC 19, 1 atk +6 d20 or Bite +8 d10 to max HP, Speed 30, All undead resistances, scream wildly, and filled with cunning to perform violent acts. The souls that don’t make it back into bodies are released as d6+5 spectres which try to possess anyone in the room.

If properly prayed to, will transform all within chamber to that stone over the course of 1 minute, Dex DC 20 to resist. Ritual is described in 11. Stairs up lead to 8, east exits lead to 6.

6 PIT. A wide room, at center is pit the width of a football field. Edges are crumbling and unstable, cracks easily visible from a distance, walking on them requires Dex DC 20 or they slide and all within 30’ must save or fall and take d100 damage. Bottom of pit is filled with cracked bones. EXITS: Stairs spiral up outer wall of room, leading to 13. West exit marked with petrified pilgrims.

7 OSSUARY. Rows of galleries of interred remains of monks. Holes stuffed with bones. Eventually towards the top, hallways are formed of bones. Carefully searching vaults for an hour yields d8x1000 gold worth of ancient trinkets. Exit at middle of gallery leads to 9, exit at top of gallery leads to complex of stairs leading up to 15.

8 CISTERN. Stairs up from below shows increasing smell of stagnant water. In this area the tiled floors are all ankle deep in water. It is easy to find a great stepwell filled with water. At center of stepwell is crouched a giant statue, its arms raised out of the water, but missing its hands. This is the source of the evil stone hands. If a spectre enters this statue, it has 200 HP, ac 21, deals 2 attacks for 3d20 damage. same for if the box is destroyed.

Exits from west to east lead up to 10 (, 11 (a faint perfume, the smell of dead flowers), and 12 (door and stairs marked with finger gouges)

9 CROSSROADS MIRROR. At a crossroads is a great polished sheet mirror 24 feet tall. Exit up to 14 is hidden behind this mirror.

10 TELESCOPE. A steep climb leads up to a window where a great telescope stands. It looks at the belltower. It can be swiveled to examine any part of the city in detail. There is also a cube-globe of the earth depicting all the planes — advantage on checks re: geography when consulting the globe.

11 DEAD PRIESTESS. A steep climb leads to a series of rooms filled with tattered curtains, tarnished metal furniture, a penitent’s cell, and a room with a bed covered in sheets and a woman sleeps upon it. She is dead and wears a necklace of twisted stone, this can be used to cast MASS SUGGESTION at 1/week, but you then have disadvantage against psychic attacks and vulnerable to psychic damage until after resting make a DC 20 Charisma save. A small bible describes how to perform the penitent’s ritual to offer the flesh of your body to the god XXXXXXXXXX (name scribbled out), replacing it with ash. Also contains spell FLESH TO STONE.

The bible contains the weird words necessary to trigger the box, if spoken within 100’ of the box in a penitent kneeling position, the souls of all within the room will be extracted over the next minute (during which incapacitated and in excruciating pain) and kept in the box forever, and their bodies are transformed into ash.

12 HANDS. A steep climb leads to a series of room that appear to be gouged out of the stone. Here lives the pair of evil hands, its nails blackened with ancient blood. 2 hands: AC 18 Speed 60 HP 120 3 atks +10 for d20 dmg, or grab and crush +6 for 3d20. Perception and stealth +7. Stacked corpses of other explorers provide a variety of weapons and armors (you name it you got it), as well as d8x1000 gp.

13 PYRE. A steep climb leads to a lonely chamber looking out over the city. Crouched next to a bonfire (literally set upon bones) is an ancient priest, malformed by devotion to his god. Crouched, long of limb and long of arm, twice as tall as a man, his hair as grey and thin as a mane, his teeth are broken yellow shards, he howls at the sky. Long ago lost to insanity, his only task is to tend the fire that keeps his god connected to the city. He has forgotten the god’s name and purpose. 

The bonfire deals 4d6 damage.

At the beginning of each round, his god intervenes to provide aid. The same power will not be deployed two rounds in a row.

1. Two targets of the god’s choice switch places
2. The sun darkens in eclipse. The priest turns invisible for a round and gains a saving throw to re-resist one magic affecting him.
3. One target experiences a harsh buzzing in their head and a malicious presence, Cha saving throw DC 16 or attack self or nearest ally with reaction, this repeats each round until the saving throw is made. 

HP 200 AC 18 2 atks +8 2d10, if both attacks hit he can throw the target up to 40 feet, they fall prone, OR he can savagely bite them with an extra attack +8 2d6 damage to their maximum and current HP, healing him, and they remain in his grasp.

3 legendary actions per round, taken as a reaction either after an attack or after a player's turn: 1. If someone hits or misses him, he may attack +8, and if successful pushes the target 1d4x10 feet. 2. If he makes a successful opportunity attack, he may grab them 3. He throws someone in his grasp up to 40’.

Saves: Str, Cha, Wis +8, all others +4. He may burn d10 HP to add that amount to a save. Twice per day he may automatically succeed on a save.

When reduced to half hitpoints, he begins to pray continuously. His attacks now deal +4 damage. The bonfire explodes, dealing 8d6 damage to everyone within 20’ (including the priest, Dex DC 16), and now deals 6d6 damage to anyone thrown into the fire.   

If the fire is put out, the priest despairs and throws himself out the nearest window. The god has no remaining worshippers, and forgets the temple and the city. There is a sense of a presence leaving, and a sigh. The temple resumes the normal dimensions of an imposing cathedral, and the contents of each room are emptied and replaced with something simple, harmless, and non-valuable. 

14 MIRRORS Every room in this tower is filled with mirrors. You get the spooky feeling you’re being watched. Everyone who enters this tower, their doppelgangers enter the world and follow them, seeking to undo their every action and eventually slay them, harvest their soul, and feed it to their god's pyre. At top of tower is a hand-mirror suspended from a chain with a cloth over it which, goosebumps style, will turn you invisible for an hour if you look into it, though your reflection will stay in the mirror, and if the mirror is shattered during that time, you are killed. The cloth can only be moved 1/week.

The Doppelgangers:

They look like the PCs in body, but are completely unlike in attitude, name, and dress. They are characters of the same level as the PCs, but different classes. I made them all spellcasters with 100 HP and AC 18.

They are spirits of the city clothed in the players’ flesh. Their powers are limited until the PCs die — upon a PCs’ death, the corresponding doppelganger holds up a dirty metal candle to harvest their soul, and their soul alights upon the candle in the form of a false flame in the shape of the PCs body. This causes the doppelganger’s hitpoints to double. They then bring the candle back to the funeral pyre and use it to light the pyre, destroying the soul forever. The soul can be retrieved from the candle by holding the flame up to their body’s nostril.

When they die, they curl up into a greasy black lump of stone, and their face falls off into an ultrarealistic mask with a mirrored back. The candle they carry is keyed to the soul of the PC only, it can't be used to harvest other stray souls.

15 MACHINERY. This tower is choked with dense, unfunctioning machinery serving an unknown purpose. Stone gears, pulleys, wheels, clog the tower, making movement very difficult and eventually blocking access to the top except for a very tight squeeze (about the size of a head). The top chamber  contains a single pull lever, STR 20, which when pulled causes the machinery to reactivate for 1 minute, during which every round Dex save DC 20 or get crushed for 3d20 damage per round. This causes a lens to open, sunlight/starlight to filter in, and a single drop of sparkling sunlight will condense and fall. This may be eaten to provide the effects of a HEAL (90 HP), or thrown to provide the effects of a SUNBURST.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Secret Garden of Lord Vyre

I made this for my first level players, who stumbled into it while poking around the start town and avoiding the other dungeon I made. It's hidden under a statue in city hall, so they have to do a little sneaking or run a scam every time they want to go in. It's not too lethal, there's a moderate amount of treasure, and it's not too big.

Players, please don't read this. Apologies to everyone I ripped off for this, mostly as usual Zak and Patrick. I think there are some new ideas.

I present to you,



Lord Vyre, a ruler of Fishtown just over a hundred years ago, known for his multiple dalliances with lovers and his purported ability with black magic and conjuration. His reign of Fishtown was brief and strange, marked by the appearance of elves, an overgrowth of plants in the night-time, and a lot of romance. Fishtown’s population doubled during his reign and the town’s greatest artists appeared in this time. He spontaneously combusted in public one day (black magic was blamed), and the rulership passed to the next, and eventually was assigned to the city council.

The source of his power was a lover he summoned beneath the town, an elemental woman named Franndis. She is positive energy spirit given human form and her presence causes all manner of growth. She and Lord Vyre were lovers, and he constructed a garden for her beneath city hall. After a time though she became distant and unhappy and, jealous, Lord Vyre created a doppelganger of himself and entrusted the heart of Franndis to her, and locked them both in a secret chamber under the secret garden. After his death (which was simply an accidental byproduct of the power he was incapable of holding) the secret of the garden was lost.


         Lord Vyre’s Doppelganger — cunning, friendly, strange, good-humored, and evil, will under no circumstances allow the elemental’s heart to be released. While true Lord Vyre loved and adored Franndis, this one hates and despises her. He can’t kill her so will settle with imprisonment.

Wants to see Franndis imprisoned forever, interested in knowledge of the outside world
Served by: blue-skinned shadow men (deeper doppelgangers), 
Magic of: copying and changing, altering intentions, illusions

The King of Flowers — a constructed gardener entrusted with keeping the garden safe and outsiders from entering, has fallen asleep in his arbor, but has insanely good hearing and awakens if PCs enter into the flower garden. 
Wants everyone to stay out of the garden
Served by: the dream leopard, the dancing skeletons, the vine hulk
Magic of: artificial growth, pruning, 
Free agents: Franndis, the Prime Elemental (see room 4)
Served by: 3 faceless men with excellent hearing, who she plays chess with
Magic of: Rampant growth, over-healing, fire, inspiration
Aredhel the Elf
Wants: to complete the funerary rites for his dead sister Aredhen
Magic of: empathic connection, crying so much it floods

Black cat “Drawers”
Wants: to hunt the vermin of the garden
Only the first thing he says in any conversation will be true
Knows secret paths and doors, and the nature of all the NPCs in the dungeon

RANDOM ENCOUNTERS -- roll d10 every 10 minutes.

1. The black cat “Drawers” 
Black cat “Drawers”
Wants: to hunt the vermin of the garden
Only the first thing he says in any conversation will be true
Knows secret paths and doors, and the nature of all the NPCs in the dungeon
2. The dream tiger
HP 42 AC 14 3 attacks: 2 claws +5 d4+1 and 1 bite +5 d10, if both claws hit, he can attack twice again. He has Stealth +8 and Perception +8. He can jump into any sleeping person, travel through their dreams, and exit from another sleeping person within 1 mile.
3. If awake: The King of Flowers and the dream tiger
HP 30 AC 12 Within one round the dream tiger always appears, and he can summon the dancing skeletons by playing a flute. The vine hulk will not attack him.
Spells: With one round of concentration can cause something artificial to grow a new similar feature, for instance cause a dagger to grow a second blade, a door to seal over with hooks and barbs, or a false plant to double in size. Cause armor to tangle or break,  Will not work on anything living.
Sleep (at will in 10’ area, causes flowers to grow over you, flowers must be cleared off to wake the person)
4. Aredhen the Elf
5. The Dancing Skeletons (preceded for 1 minute by merry songs which gradually grow closer. They travel in a roughly counterclockwise motion through the garden, taking plenty of time to caper and jig, and turning backwards at any door they can't enter)
A group of 11 skeletons, each playing a different band instrument (trumpet, lute, clarinet, drums, trombone, violin, flute, tuba, and 3 dancers), are doing a jig through the garden. Their bones are painted with flowers, they are joyful and merry, they will kill anyone they come across but are easily distracted: as soon as someone is out of sight, they are forgotten and will go back to their music.
Each one: HP 8, AC 11, 1 attack (instrument) +4 d6 dmg
6. After 1 day: Beruc, Dabber, and Poal, a level 1 fighter, cleric, and thief from the surface, who have stumbled across the garden and are also searching for treasure..
7. d4 faceless men, who ask the players who they serve, and will lead the players to Frandiss if they answer well.
faceless men, HP 7 AC 12 1 attack blue swords +4 d6+1 dmg.
8. Overhead lights in this room malfunction and turn off
9. The vine hulk has wandered away from his hallway. He basically looks like a vine-covered swamp thing. 
HP 50 AC 16 1 attack +3 2d8 damage Speed 20, can charge 40 feet and attack on the first round of combat. Vulnerable to fire.
10. Nothing 


1. The statue of Lord Vyre has two heads, one serious, one with a cunning smile. There is a seam down the middle, the statue can be pulled apart. Stairs carved into the stone descend into the earth, then a long narrow hallway, then a stone door carved with flowers.

2. Here is a garden complete with grass, shrubs, trees. It is trim but very old. A hanging metal chandelier with glowing crystals (worth 100gp total) provides dim light. A metal bench has a plaque. “This garden is dedicated to my true heart, the beautiful Franndis. Please forgive my crimes against you. -Love, V.”

3. A trampled garden. The trees are snapped, the grass matted, dirt wet with blood. Another chandelier, this one has fallen but still glows. At center is a metal grate tightly fitted over a metal spiral staircase, dim silvery light shines from below. It is magically locked with a heart-shaped padlock, the key is kept in room 5.

During the early days of the garden, pagan women from the forest came to rescue Franndis, and nearly succeeded. Lord Vyre used this moment to decide to hide her heart, and cast a spell that dislodged this battle in time. The men are guards, the women are liberationists. The spell is broken if Lord Vyre's doppelganger dies, otherwise the minute loops eternally. Even if the battle is stopped, at the one-minute mark everything rewinds. During combat, all hits always hit (if someone is interposed it hits them instead), and the lantern always falls and breaks in round 5. Everything else is up for interpretation.

If questioned, they will state that it is the Year of the Crimson Jaguar, which occurred over 100 years ago. The women will be happy to discuss their mission, and entreat the players to help, while the guards will ask the players to defend “Lord Vyre’s garden against the invaders!”

Stats— women HP 10 AC 11 Battle-axe +6 1d10+1
Men HP 6 AC 13 Rapier +4 1d8, Net +6 to entangle.

 A group of 4 savage and nude women with battle-axes battle 7 men in medieval finery. The women wield axes and are covered in blood, the men wield rapiers and nets and lanterns. Within 1 minute the following happens:

1. 1 of the men is killed 2. Her murderer is trapped in a net and she is stabbed 3. She is finished off 2. 4. In retaliation, 2 men are quickly decapitated with a single blow 5. A man throws a lantern, lighting the garden on fire 6. A woman catches fire and runs into 1 of the men 7. They both die in the fire and collapse on the grate 8. 2 women remain, 3 men remain — a man and a woman stab each other to death, while the other woman battles the last 2 men 9. She kills one man while the fire closes around them 10. She grapples the man, he stabs her and she is about to gouge his eyes out

Then the fire evaporates, everyone reanimates backwards in the space of 1 round, and the battle starts over. 

4. On a throne of blue stone, carved with butterflies, all overgrown with plants, thick with bugs, the air is sweet and fresh — here is the elemental Franndis, a red-haired white-skinned woman with strange intense eyes. She can show the hole between her breasts where her heart was carved out. Immortal, intense, not unkind but not especially sweet, she has been here since Lord Vyre’s death, mostly unvisited. She would like to leave. If she does, the garden will die. 

“Lord Vyre used me for cruel purposes, though he was kind to me. Truly a two-faced man. Somehow he created, or found, his twin, and gave him my heart, and locked them beneath this garden. I cannot leave without my heart.”

She can tell them that the key is in his private baths. 

HP 40 AC 16 Spells: 1. Flowering plants grow out of your skin and bind you, 2d6 damage and restrained until Str check DC 14. 2. She flashes light, everyone within 15’ is blinded. 3. Regain a spell slot. 

Attack, +6 touch — blistering hot touch deals 1d10 damage.

6 faceless men, HP 7 AC 12 1 attack blue swords +4 d6+1 dmg. A game of chess.

5. Lord Vyre’s private bath. Red tiled jacuzzi, jets are going and spraying water, it’s boiling hot, 2d6 damage if submerged, 1d4 if splashed which will happen even if you just open the door (Dex DC 12 to dodge). On a hook by the far door is the heart-shaped key.

6. The King of Flowers’ Arbor. Under a flower entwined arbor is a fantastic white bed strewn with flowers, upon which sleeps THE KING OF FLOWERS. He worked for 99 years creating the perfect flower garden (ge gave up on the east side), and after no interference outside of the elf, decided to take a long nap. If he wakes, he’ll be pissed to hell, and his hearing is incredible. 

He is a blue robed man, his hands are bright red, he wears a crown of roses. He can hear through any flower in the garden. In his footsteps bloom flowers. If the elemental dies, he dies.

HP 30 AC 12 Within one round the dream tiger always appears, and he can summon the dancing skeletons by playing a flute. The vine hulk will not attack him.

Spells: With one round of concentration can cause something artificial to grow a new similar feature, for instance cause a dagger to grow a second blade, a door to seal over with hooks and barbs, or a false plant to double in size. Cause armor to tangle or break,  Will not work on anything living.
Sleep (at will in 10’ area, causes flowers to grow over you)
7. In a dim blue room crouches the doppelganger of Lord Vyre. He plays solitaire and knocks tunes on a painted and hinged turtle shell, which thumps in heartbeat. His 4 blue shadow-men stand facing the corners of the room, their red eyes sometimes traveling to the back of their head to peek at Lord Vyre, who snaps at them to look away.

The painted turtle shell contains the heart of Fanndis. If brought out, it sheds a scintillating light in a 30’ radius, Knowledge, Art, and History checks made while in the light are always at Advantage. If it takes even 1 hp of damage, Franndis dies.

HP 45 AC 16 Broadsword +6 1d8+1.

With a round of concentration, he can create a copy of any item that differs from the original in only 1 subtle way. The item lasts until the subtle difference is noticed.
At will, he can create illusions of people that his targets have met. These have all the stats of the original and deal damage. If the illusion is dispelled or successfully disbelieved which takes 1 round of interacting/denouncing (Wisdom save DC 14), the spell will not work on that person and all damage they took is healed.
Once per round, he can transfer the damage of 1 attack to any target in sight.

4 Shadowmen: HP 7 AC 12 1 attack +3: an inescapable grip (Strength +10 if tested), they can then crush for d6 dmg per round. Bright light causes their skin to dissolve, but it reforms as soon as the light leaves.

FLOWER GARDEN. Brightly lit by intermittent ceiling tiles.

8. Another garden, this one completely overgrown. Small cat-sized tunnel leads through undergrowth. Only 10’ sq area at center is clear, at edges bloom strange flowers of bone, ceramic, paper, and porcelain, carefully painted but appear to be growing. The King of Flowers can hear through these, loud noise will awake him.

9. Opposite the last room: 10’ sq area at center is overgrown, and four shining flowers of gemstone bloom. They glisten with poison, each is worth 75 gold pieces and has the following contact poison CON DC 14 (enough for 3 doses), which loses effect if separated from the flower: 
Ruby - Hate first person you see (10 rounds)
Sapphire - Numbs the hand that holds it (10 rounds)
Emerald - 1d4 dmg every hour (10 hours)
Diamond - Forget last 10 minutes (Permanent)

North wall is overgrown with veins, door is hidden in center and must be cleared off to be opened.

10. A dark shed: shovel, clippers, hoe, rake, 2 sacks of fertilizer (highly flammable), and 3 small bag of seeds that instantly sprout on whatever they’re cast upon (at minimum, will make an area of difficult terrain in a 5’ square). A lantern with 1 hour of oil.

11. 11 and 12 have a mirrored arrangement of topiary hedges. The topiary are in heavy moveable containers (Str check 10 to move 5’), and moving one will cause its partner to shift at the same time.


Under dog is 20’ pit filled with spikes, fall take 4d6 damage. 

Inside sphere is a half of a silvery figurine of a woman, other half is in room 23. When combined, worth 200gold or can be crushed to heal d6 hp to everyone within 30’.

Lion: Will attack anyone who strays within 5’, Bite +4 1d6 damage.

2 corpses of adventurers slain by the narcissus peacock: d100x2 gold, 2 shortswords, 2 lamps and 3 hours oil, and thin binding rope 10’ (rolls to tie up people at +4).

Monster: A narcissus peacock wanders here. HP 14 AC 11 Atk +4 d4 dmg, Tail feathers Dex save DC 15 or be transfixed until gaze is broken. Will eat victims.

12. Under dog is 20’ pit filled with spikes, fall take 4d6 damage.

Inside sphere is an envelope, inside envelope is a love letter by the true Lord Vyre to Fanndis. “F— Why have you not responded to my recent letter? Every inch of my body is burning with desire for you. Let me know you’re thinking of me too! —V”

Lion: Will bite anyone who strays within 5’, +4 1d6 damage.

Monster: A nightingale sings a charming song, any who hears its song must save Wisdom DC 12 or compulsively whistle the song for 1 hour — hiding becomes impossible. If the nightingale dies the spell ends.


Dimly lit by flickering ceiling tiles.

13. Steamy, ankle deep in hot water. Everywhere are lotus flowers and lilypads. Impossible to see more than 10’ due to steam. After ten minutes in water, Con save DC 12 or d4 damage from heat. Water is filled with blind hot-water eels, if they smell blood they will attack the source, but otherwise will ignore.

North wall is covered over with vines, door to 15 is hidden. If found, the black mold can be seen in the cracks of the door.

Eels: 10’ swarm, HP 20, AC 14 (fast!), d4 biting damage to all in swarm. Blind, but can sense anything in the water, and can smell blood.

14. Here are 3 big raised baths filled with rainbow colored and piping hot-springs water. The water is spilling out and filling room 13. Each bath has a crank on the inside to turn off the water. If all the baths are turned off, room 13 will drain out over the course of 3 days.

South door is rusted shut and can’t be easily opened. A STR DC 15 suffices, but it takes a minute and can’t be closed again.

15. A dry sauna covered over with black mold. Even opening the door causes a Con save DC 13, or take d4 damage to max HP every morning until 2 saves are made in a row. Inside the room is incredibly hot, there is a hot furnace that’s heated with the elemental’s power. There is a small vial containing 1 dose of scented oil, if the oil is heated and inhaled, it will cause mental concentration — all mental saves will be at advantage for 10 minutes.

16. A very dry hot room. Floor tiles are intense and unpleasant, after 10 minutes make a Con save DC 10 or become thirsty, drink water within 1 minute or gain 1 level of exhaustion. Room is filled with like 20-odd giant humming cacti, this makes hiding much easier (advantage), if you touch you take 1 damage and skin is irritated, if fall into then take 1d4 damage and all ability checks at disadvantage until pricks are taken out. The cacti are making a low, quiet hum, emanating from faces that are at the very top of the cacti. They reach out little tongues for water, if properly hydrated, will stop humming and talk about the king of flowers.

South door is locked from the other side. Elven chanting can be heard through it.

17. Under huge jungle fronds rests the dream tiger. When not watched, he smokes cigarettes of scented herbs. He can enter one sleeping person and leave from another. He is a lazy assassin who serves the King of Flowers, and is magically kept alive by the power of Franndis. Anyone who sees him will be stunned for 1 round due to a sense of intense deja vu (Charisma DC 12 to resist, only functions the first time he is seen).

HP 42 AC 14 3 attacks: 2 claws +5 d4+1 and 1 bite +5 d10, if both claws hit, he can attack twice again. He has Stealth +8 and Perception +8. He can jump into any sleeping person, travel through their dreams, and exit from another sleeping person within 1 mile.

Wears gold trinkets worth 300gp. Also keeps a pack of fine herbal cigarettes.

18. Treasure chamber of the KING OF FLOWERS. Chest of 200 gold, 3 random level 1 wizard spell-scrolls, pots of living sweet herbs used to make the tiger’s cigarettes, and a poor map of the dungeon (show players map for 30 seconds).


19. Moss grows on the walls and floor. In a patch of daylight is the tomb of Aredhel’s sister, the elf Aredhen, who committed suicide by staring at a poisoned star for a year and a day. She rests on a stone slab, beautiful as if she had just died. He is heart-broken and has been performing funeral rites for 99 years. Every once in a while the funeral rites require him to walk the dungeon and singing, this is what happens if he’s encountered.

The elf Aredhel is ancient, uncaring, distant, not unkind, and very tall. His skin is the color of fresh snow. He wields the sword Bronwe. He can pause the rites for 5 minutes to greet people but has to get back to it, if further interrupted will fly into a cold rage. He is from the forest, he also personally knew Lord Vyre and can discuss him at some length.

Aredhel HP 40 AC 20 2 attacks with his sword +6 d8+2 He is immune to sleep. He wears silver rings worth a total of 400 gold. He can cast the Command spell at will.

The tomb of Aredhen is covered in candles which don’t burn down as long as they aren’t moved. If the candles are put out, or if Aredhen is moved, her corpse decays within a minute.

The south end of this room is a cliff edge, the door is 60’ down.

20 describes the base of the tree. In this huge room grows a giant tree, its crown brushes the ceiling, its roots cover the floor. The base of the tree is filled with coiling roots and is difficult terrain, if moving at normal speed then Dex save DC 12 or fall and foot is caught. There are 3 mold-covered corpses that crawl among the roots, they are only movement 15 but lie still until someone gets near (Stealth +10, otherwise seem to be a pile of molded leaves). HP 2 AC 9 1 attack: Grab and bite +5 d4.

 Dim light down here. At the base of the tree is a door, inside the tree on a desk is a book of magical botany. This can be used to identify the magical plants in the garden.

The tree can be easily climbed at half speed. If hit, make an Athletics check DC 10 or half the damage took, whichever is higher.

21. Describes the top of the tree. Great branches spread across the top of this 60’ high room. It is thick with flies and moss. Apples grow, and one apple is shining and golden — eating it will heal any poison or disease afflicting the target.

22. This narrow hallway is only 5 feet wide and 7 feet high and choked with vines. A path is trod deep into the floor. The VINE HULK passes back and forth, endlessly, from top, to left, back to right, then left, then top again. 

HP 50 but only heals 1d4 per day. AC 16 1 attack +3 2d8 damage Speed 20. First round he sees someone, he can charge 40’. Vulnerable to fire.

23. Shards of broken pottery. The other half of the silver figurine found in room 11.

24. The bath in here is lined with gold. If you bathe here for 10 minutes, you regain 2d10 hit-points, and advantage to the first saving throw you make. 


Brightly lit, very trim, easy to maneuver.

25. Room is crossed north-south with green hedges. West door is under archway of hedge, east door is also an archway of hedgework but without a door — if pressed on, it clicks open. It cannot be seen or opened from the other side.

26. This is a low hedgemaze. At center is a stone bench. In a secret compartment in a leg of the stone bench is a letter. “Dearest F — I know you won’t forgive my inability to stop the recent intrusion. Those women were trying to separate us. I have found a solution that will keep you safe forever. Yours always — V” 

South-east door has a VERY LIFELIKE snake carved into it. If the door is opened, the snake strikes — +8, 2d6 dmg.

27. This hedgemaze forms a spiral inwards and then outwards. The hedges here reach the ceiling. They can be cut through, but it takes at least 1 minute. At center is a standing mirror, except it always shows your opposite facial expression. Hidden in a secret compartment of the mirror is a note in Vyre’s handwriting. “My mirror's reflection is harmless, the other will not be as kind.”

28. A simple, grassy T-room. Butterflies. No secrets.

29. A tea-parlor. Here the elemental Frandiss takes tea with her faceless men. They make pastries. 

30. Treasure. 1000 gold worth of trinkets and jewelry given to Frandiss by Lord Vyre.

31. Beauty parlor. A lit mirror. Nail polish, lotions, make-up, and other cosmetics. 1 vial of enchanted nail polish allows your hands to grasp and interact with gaseous, incorporeal, or ethereal creatures and objects. Enough to affect 15 nails (must be applied to each nail on a hand to work).


The Shadow-men of Lord Vyre stalk this place, they will try to drown you or bring the giant lizards to you. 

32. The metal stairs descend down about 20’ and then stop. In this tall (80’), very dim room circle 7 large luminous spheres that resemble moons, almost 10’ across. Gravity points towards them, if you get within 10’ you are pulled towards. One can jump from moon to moon this way.

33. Floor is a thick black liquid, 20' feet deep. Swimming is extremely difficult, it is like tar, make a difficult swim check or begin to drown, even then you may only move at 1/3 speed. Projected on the walls from an unseen projector are flickering plants. Only wood and plant-life float on the liquid, but can form a reliable floor.

34. Large luminous flowers the size of men. Neon pink, green, orange, ultraviolet. Liquid inside flowers functions as paint, except the ultraviolet liquid is acidic (1d8 dmg per round until scraped off). Smells amazing, incredibly alluring. Plant-life is twisted black vines. 

Inside the ultraviolet flower can be found partially dissolved skeletons and d100x4 gold.

5 huge black-skinned lizards with glowing eyes crawl among the flowers. HP 12 AC 14 and effectively invisible in darkness when eyes are closed, 1 bite +6 d6 and Con DC 12 to resist poison (compelled to crawl into nearest flower and drown self).

35. A small study belonging to Lord Vyre. On a desk are 3 books— one is a book on local birds (can be used to identify any bird in the forest, gives a +2 outside the forest), a text concerning accessing the plane of positive energy (contains spell Cure Wounds as a 3rd level wizard spell), and a book on exotic botany (+5 to checks to identify plants outside the forest or not native to it). There is also a note in Lord Vyre’s handwriting.  

“It has been seen at night sometimes, over the trees, in the shape of a luminous eyed beast as long as a building, sleek of fur and long of tail. They say that the spirits of the forest are transported within its belly, as well as mortals beloved of Torun. Where does it rest? How might I capture it?”

36. Negative energy chamber. Jewel on spindle, when spun swallows light — all light based spells and effects are sucked into it, creates a growing area of darkness. Southern wall depicts ancient mural of ocean. Guarded by a giant black scorpion with a skull for a head.

HP 60 AC 16 2 attacks +5 d8/d8 and grab, pincer +2 / +6 to grabbed opponent, Con save DC 13 or 4d6 poison damage.

37. Big eyed idol of black stone sits in the darkness, sparks of fire burn in the eye sockets. There is a socket in its belly big enough to fit a limb. If you press a severed limb to the stone, the socket clamps shut and the idol lights up and you are in excruciating pain for 10 minutes and at the end you are able to extract a new arm made of pearly stone.