Saturday, June 20, 2009
Minidungeon: A Cache of Crystal
A Cache of Crystal
This minidungeon is meant to be dropped into an existing dungeon system; perhaps at the end of a long and winding stairwell that gradually became crystal, or behind a glittering panel hidden by a secret door ... The rationale behind the Cache and its contents has been left deliberately untouched, so that individual DMs may create their own rationale behind the strangely glittering intrusion into a nice sensible dungeon environment ;3
All surfaces – walls, ceiling, floor – of the Cache are lined with thick icy-cold crystal. These crystal slabs are not of gem-quality and in fact will dissolve if removed from the Cache, but they do influence the environment around them: all individuals not protected from cold take one hit point of damage per turn spent within the Cache.
On the map of the Cache, 1 square = 10'.
1. “Vestibule”: This oddly-shaped chamber contains a single, locked door. Two heavy iron braziers flank the door, still somehow guttering with faint, milky-white flames that give off no heat. Also present are the bodies of two unfortunate adventurers, who will rise up as ghouls [AC6; HD 2**; hp 10, 12; Mv 90' (30'); Att 2 claws/1 bite; Dam 1-3/1-3/1-3 + paralysis; Sv F2; Ml 9; XP 25] and attack any who enter. The majority of their equipment has rotted or rusted away, with the exception of 23sp, 14gp and a silver dagger.
In the southeastern corner is a niche in which stands a battered marble statue of a lion-headed human in baroque armour. The statue's shattered hands once held objects; its shattered crystal spear lies against the wall of the niche, but the orb it once held is nowhere to be seen at the moment.
2. Bedchamber: Oddly normal-looking for such a place, this small chamber contains a small featherbed piled with four satin coverlets (44gp ea.), a desk with copper washbasin and ewer (6gp the set), and a hearth. The flagstones in this chamber have been replaced with roughened marble.
Two fragile texts on the desk are volumes of an esoteric work titled The Books of the Diamond Sun.
3. Sanctuary: The door to this chamber is carved from a solid slab of glittering, milky white crystal. It is locked, and neither thief skills nor magic will open it; the key, a smooth crystal orb that rests in a central hollow in the door, is in No. 5.
Two more braziers – these burning brightly – flank the inside of the locked door to this chamber. Inside, the ceiling is domed and hung with crystal; against the western wall rests an altar, to all appearances hewn from a single man-sized chunk of frosted crystal or eternal ice. Above the altar is a mosaic in monochromatic glass depicting an avian, phoenix-like creature. On the altar rests Blind Reflection.
Surrounding the altar and apparently fed from unseen springs is a semicircle of perfectly clear, faintly reflective fluid. If the altar is approached two verrun [AC4; HD 4+2**; hp 28, 25; Mv 120' (40'), sw 120' (40'), cmb/fl 120' (40'); Att 2 or 1 Dam 1-8/1-8 or suffocation; Sv F4; Ml 12; XP 275] will rise from the “moat” and issue one warning to leave the altar and its contents alone. If unheeded, or if the party shows signs of hesitating too long, the verrun will attack.
If the verrun are destroyed and Blind Reflection claimed, a circular portal 10' in diameter and ringed in black crystal opens in the centre of the chamber. (The destination of the portal is left for the DM to determine.)
4. Gallery of Blades: This open chamber appears to be empty save for the locked door in its northeastern wall. However, every ten feet crossed in the chamber will trigger the walls to spray a barrage of crystal blades, inflicting 1-4 hit points of damage to any within 5' who fail a save vs. death ray.
5. Annexe: Piled with amphorae containing strange frosty grain, porcelain bottles of icewine (12 ea., twenty salvageable bottles) and long-decayed exotic fruit, this is a very unusual storage room indeed. Other than the strange foodstuffs, the chamber holds two ivory chests (65gp ea.): one is filled with 232gp, the other is stuffed with strange dark-blue furs and four potion flasks wrapped in rough silks.
On the floor lies another body, this one inanimate and still showing signs of blade damage on its tattered clothing. The corpse carries a rusted shortsword, 34gp, a small ruby pendant (45gp) and a set of thieves' tools, as well as the crystal orb that serves as a key for No. 03.