Saturday, December 17, 2022

Location: Halls of the Curséd Queens

This dungeon is, surely, the first of many from all over the blogosphere that will redress the issues mentioned by Anne Hunter on her blog.
Ludvik Skopalik

Centuries ago, a cruel king set aside his first wife, wronged the second, and slew his betrothed. As he did, the nation of each in turn rose to answer the insult with war, but as is usually the case evil confers a sort of spiteful puissance, and the three nations in turn fell. To mark forever the folly of his foes, the king interred his three queens in the same tomb, along their allies and friends. To this day, a curse hangs over the land.

Reasons to enter the halls
  • You've heard there's treasure in there
  • You want to repatriate the bodies of the queens to their homelands, where they can be consecrated and set to peace.
  • There is a question you desperately need answered that only the first wife of the cruel ancient king can answer.
Encounters in the Halls
  1. 2d4 Undead Footmen (HD 1, ring armor, 10'+ polearms). Will march in tight formation, unable to attack anyone right next to them but trusting the next rank back to defend them. Those who try to run past the first row of weapons incur "attacks of opportunity." Find tight corners difficult. Consider most modern people the children of their foes. If surprise is rolled against them, the party is approaching them from the back of the formation.
  2. Pissed-off Unicorn (HD 4, unarmored, horn as lance) May weep over a friend to heal 1d6 for each level they possess. A ground-up horn can heal any disease or curse. Disillusioned by most things it sees, and beginning to suspect you're being aggravating on purpose.
  3. Swarm of Screech-Owls. If combat occurs, roll an immediate wandering monster check due to noise.
  4. Scorpion-Rhinoceros (HD 6, hide as plate, horn as two-handed sword, scorpion tail as save vs death). Cannot turn in narrow hallways, turns slowly otherwise. 
  5. Worms of Canna (HD 3, unarmored, touch as flaming oil, half damage from weapons) Fat and stout worm clumps wiggling, glowing like steadfast lanterns that creep across the dark. In combat prefer to consume the beautiful. It were better if they preferred to consumed the wise.
  6. 1d4+1 Foreign Visitors (HD 3, variable weapons and armor) Come to pay fealty to the queens, or to gloat from a safe distance. Always looking for credulous brutes to hire. Swear their coins count, despite the odd weight.

Hallways, First Level

1. Entrance to the tomb, passing under the legs of a muscular male statue and down a root-covered staircase. Here, the walls are covered in a chalky violet ectoplasm. If approached, hands form in the ectoplasm and grasp at characters, who must save vs paralysis or seize and shudder for as long as grasped. Those who fail the save lose 2d4 Wisdom while in the dungeon, but this is restored by 1 point per hour each time they leave. Periodically, they will utter strange proclamations with an imperious woman's voice upon encountering strange things in the dungeon.
The ectoplasm does not recur on future delves if at least one party member has encountered them before.

2. Walls here are covered in murals depicting the descent into the underworld. On the floor are two shattered polearms and strands of horsehair.

3. Steep staircase. Along the wall are three mournful masks. Once ever, one will offer to answer a question you pose it, one will ask you a question about the state of the world, and one will offer to sing a song to buoy your spirits. During this song (up to 20 minutes), roll no wandering monster checks).

4. Walls full of internment niches. The dead are inserted feet-first and seem to stare up at you as you pass.

5. Plain sarcophagi stand or lean against the walls.

6. Plain sarcophagi stand or lean against the walls. Two headless ghasts confer, shaking as though weeping. One holds a +1 dagger with a comb for a hilt. Both wear the faded finery of a queen. Overflowing in urns around them are 545 gold coins and 4,812 silver coins

7. Ten distorted bronze mirrors line the hallway. If a character touches a mirror, they find they can move through it, finding themselves in a world that contains only that one mirror. They themselves will be brazen, which distorts them when they take more than 10 damage at once but allows them to get beaten back into shape to recover 1d6 HP per day and negate injuries like broken bones.
They cannot return to their original world, but play continues in the new world, as other than the hallway of bronze mirrors all details, including the presence and disposition of the other PCs, is the same.

8. Steep staircase. Along the wall are three grinning masks. Getting within ten feet of each will cause them to trigger. The highest screams, causing a wandering monster check. The middle one juts out of the wall to bite for 2d6 damage. The lowest will offer to answer a question you pose it, giving a misleading and malicious answer.

9. Walls full of internment niches, each containing a dead servant or courtier. A formation of 8 Undead Footmen can always be found here.

10. Hidden behind the mural of an old woman sitting contentedly in a natural scene (Her cane serves as a handle to pull open the wall). Within is piled a trio of incredibly lifelike statues, a trove of 9999 silver coins, 800 gold coins, and a sack of small diamonds worth a total of 650 gold coins. Preserved in a gilded case worth 100 gold coins is a spellbook containing the spells Curse, Goldsight*, Phantasmal Force, Claw of Ebsi*, Hold Portal, Magic Missile, Rolling Coin*

Rolling Coin (1st) Whisper a wish for reuniting to an object and you can see it through all objects and across all distances for the next hour.
Claw of Ebsi (2nd) Your unarmed attacks are magical and deal 1d8 damage. Holy symbols repel you. Lasts 1 Turn.
Goldsight (3rd) You can see objects within 5' of gold as though it gave off red light. Lasts 1 day.

11. Walls here are covered in murals depicting an ascent from the underworld.

12. Headless undead medusa, (HD 3 scales as scales, garrote as mace) the forgotten mistress of the cruel king. Surrounding her are the remnants of a great trove of cosmetics, finery, fabrics, and art. The remainder is worth only 500 gold coins. Hanging from a gold hook in the corner is a shifting silk sack which contains her head. Looking upon it provokes a save vs paralaysis or become stone.

Hallways, Second Level

13. Walls full of empty niches

14. The undead First Wife. (HD 5+1, unarmored) Those who look upon her in her humbling gown and finery must save vs spells or become insubstantial and slow until she leaves sight or attacks. She knows every spell from the spellbook in area 10 and can cast each spell twice, which she will employ creatively and mercilessly to defend the valuables which not even her husband could take back from her. Her trove contains 2,800 gold coins, an ambern amulet worth 600 gold coins, a soteriological treatise worth 500 gold coins, a religious icon worth 200 gold coins, a masterfully crafted labras worth 600 gold coins, a taffeta girdle worth 400 gold coins, and 300 gold coins' worth of miscellanious gems. She wears a wedding ring with a counterfeit diamond worth 15 gp.

15. The two ghastly heads of the queens from area 6. (HD 1+1, unarmored, bite as axe, eyebeams as crossbows that target two nearby creatures) One wears the matching piece to the comb-knife from that area, into which the comb-knife can be concealed as a hairpiece.

16. Beautiful gilded mural of a saint reproving rapacious nobles. The frame of the mural conceals a swinging blade trap at two and five feet high, which will spring and slash across the corridor if weight is put on the mural for 3d8 damage on a failed save vs breath (only 2d8 if for some reason only one would possibly hit.) Ignoring that, scraping off the gold would take 4 man-hours with some kind of reasonable tools and would offer up 100 pounds of gold (1,000 gold coins)

17. Exit tunnel leading out to a nearby valley, concealed by a waterfall. In the tunnel is a discarded drinking gourd containing a dose of beauty potion, conferring various roleplaying effects as well as +1 Charisma.

18. Walls glisten with condensation. A flayed mermaid (😰, HD 2, armor as scale, punch-dagger as dagger) flops against the wall to keep from drying out.

1 comment:

  1. So are the rooms empty in the way hallways tend to traditionally be? This is neat, may be the most keyed hallways in any adventure I've seen.