Archive for the ‘ Dungeon Delves ’ Category


So it’s been just over a year since I started this website. In that time I’ve put up over 44 unique encounters, all with stories, maps, new monsters, combat hooks, and, hopefully, some cool ideas to inspire your game. Not exactly the 1 per week quota I was aiming for, but close enough I suppose.

I’ve thought several times about abandoning the site, since the traffic is nothing impressive and I wasn’t sure people were finding any use from the content here. This was originally supposed to be a year-long experiment, and I have other projects to take up my time. That being said, I’m going to try and keep it going and add to the encounters and class designs. I have plans to start an epic, long campaign in the next few months, so it’s possible that the content might follow a larger story – with a new addition each week or so – level by level. I’ve yet to decide exactly what to do. Until then, I’ll do my best to update regularly.

Now, on with it!

Timeless is a short adventure designed for five 6th to 8th-level players. The Tower of Temporus is under attack from within by a chronomancer’s rogue apprentice, Huductis. The players must enter the tower and put an end to the chronomancer’s plans, traveling through time as the fight progresses.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Time has always been the one immutable stricture of the world; the one truth on which all others gain purchase. Even the sun must obey the power of time, rising and falling with rigid consistency; indeed, nothing escapes the grasp of passing days, months, or years. However, some disagree. The brave few, familiar with dire need and urgency, know better than to trust the rules of the world, and declare–with absolute certainty–that time is instead a fickle beast, pandering to chaos and unrest. When most desired, it evaporates into nothing–gone in an instant–leaving behind regrets and missed opportunities. If willed to pass, it mocks with a cruel ubiquity; time slows its pace to a near halt. Some speak of relativity, of an unchanging phenomenon experienced by stressed minds­, but others know better than to accept such a simple explanation for lost moments and lost lives.

Exploring these mysteries of time is an order of chronomancers called the Ageless. Such mages are found within the Tower of Temporus, a magic structure that is able to contain the temporal anomalies within its impossibly ancient walls. Here, the Ageless bend the rules of time and space to peer into the future and, sometimes, attempt to correct the past. Such acts can have disastrous consequences; a conservative mind and steady will are irreplaceable for time mages looking to breach and transcend beyond the invisible limits of the universe; a seemingly meaningless mistake can ripple throughout history in less than an instant. Because of this, those wishing to learn the secrets of chronomancy must under the most rigorous tests and trials­—if even one malicious apprentice gained knowledge of the order’s magic, kingdoms would fall and lives would cease to ever exist.

Though they do their best to defend against evil intentions, any member of the order would say that time is, at its heart, a wait for the inevitabilities of life. As if to prove their point, an apprentice of the order­—a particularly powerful and ambitious chronomancer named Huductis—suddenly unleashed a serious of attacks on the other mages in an attempt to seize control of the tower. Though suffering heavy losses, the Ageless was able to eventually fight off Huductis and, sealing the young chronomancer in a temporal prison deep within the tower. But Huductis, not to be forgotten, retained control of many of the order’s most powerful artifacts and been growing in power; he has begun breaking down the chronomancers’ spells, threatening to tear the tower and the Ageless apart with his escape. It appears, ironically, that it is only a matter of time before Huductis is released, and there’s no telling where­—or when—he will unleash his wrath.

The Golden Hand

This week’s post is a 3-encounter adventure based on the first post I made here back in January. I’m a little embarrassed by the writing/mechanics/damage errors I made before, so I had been planning to update this one for a while. Enjoy!

The Golden Hand is a short adventure designed for five 9th to 11th-level adventurers. The city of Macetol is a paragon of peace, a shining example of justice and order. But beneath its golden streets lies a terrible secret; a violent past that threatens to reclaim power and return the city to tyranny.

The players will descend below the city to stop the ghosts of an order of fanatical knights, fighting off restless souls, a cabal of conspiring clerics, and finally the spirits of the knights and their zealous leader.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Led by a dedicated order of paladins following the will of Bahamut, the city of Macetol is a paragon of peace, justice, and order in a world rife with chaos. But things were not always so calm inside the golden walls. Long ago, during a period of civil unrest, a paladin named Arturius was given absolute power to deal with the rampant crime and corruption.

Calling themselves the Order of the Golden Hand, Arturius and his council of knights decreed a state of martial law upon the city, believing the only way to bring back peace and order was through controlling the population and destroying those that opposed their rule. Serving a perverted sense of order, Arturius and his knights ruled from an ornately decorated table, perfectly round­—indicating that all men are equally accountable to the laws of Macetol.

The Order of the Golden Hand ruled the city without tolerance; those accused of dissent and sedition were executed, and the smallest crimes given excessive sentencing without a trial. After years of oppression, the denizens of the city fought back against Arturius and his council, subduing them. As a punishment for their atrocities, a group of wizards bound their souls to the round table, imprisoning Arturius and his council within. The temple itself was buried, and a new temple of Bahamut built on the remains.

Centuries passed, and the people of Macetol began to create a fiction in order to forget their darkest hour—a virtuous story of Arturius and his noble order, who defended the city during its golden age and now rest in a sacred chamber beneath their beloved temple. There are few left who know the truth of Arturius, and they dare not mar the memory of the city’s greatest hero.

But now, the past threatens to return. After a devastating earthquake, the entrance to the temple below was unearthed, the table broken, and the knights released. Those brave enough to investigate have been lost, and those above speak of a dark presence—whispers heralding the city’s return to true order.

Mind & Iron

I ended up expanding A Life, Deconstructed into a full short adventure of three unique encounters for my own group, so I thought I’d fix it up and share–I’m really happy with how this came out. Also, this is the second 3-encounter adventure in two weeks, which means I’m caught up with my missed weeks. Hooray, self-imposed quotas!

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Mind & Iron is a short adventure designed for five 7th to 9th-level adventurers. The rural farming village of Casai was not prepared for Movasi and his Magnificent Mechanicals of Mind and Iron, automated mechanisms that have begun replacing the villagers, one by one. The players will fight off a pride of hungry lions, then follow the clues to Movasi’s shop, where they will fight some of the new mechanicals he has created, then confront Movasi himself, fighting him in the heart of his factory.

I won’t post the story again, since you can find it in another post, but here’s a summary of the adventure’s encounters:

Though they are presented in a particular order, the encounters can vary or be used wherever they might fit within your narrative. There are several hooks provided to move the adventure along, and each encounter includes flavor text to transition into the next area.

Encounter 1: The Plains of Casai
The players stumble upon a small pride of lions that have just killed a young girl; the beasts attack the intruders to defend their prey.

Encounter 2: The Showroom
The players enter Movasi’s shop, and are attacked by an assortment of mechanicals from the artificer’s display area.

Encounter 3: The Assembly Line
The players corner Movasi in the assembly line of his shop, and must defeat him and the mechanicals defending him.

How to Train Your Golem

I missed last week, so I’ll be working on putting two shorter encounters up next week to make up for it (blame the Detroit Red Wings, if they would win in fewer than 7 games it wouldn’t be an issue). These latest two have been three-encounter adventures and they’re quite time-consuming, but both ideas only seemed to work as a series of encounters.

Also, not that I’m not proud of my other adventures, but I am less proud of them than this one. I think I’ve finally started to get a feel for levels of complexity and detail needed to keep players entertained without overwhelming them – this week’s adventure has just the right amount of stuff-to-worry-about and stuff-that-doesn’t-matter, and I hope it’s more enjoyable for both the DM and players.

How to Train Your Golem is a collection of three short encounters designed for five adventurers of 12th to 14th level, taking place on the small and remote island of Brak. After arriving on Brak, the players will be tasked with training a golem with the skills necessary to defend the island’s inhabitants from dangerous dragonspawn. First, the players will train their golem to move against small and quick dragonspawn. Then the players must teach their golem to fight, practicing against a pack of larger, more volatile dragonspawn. Once the golem has been properly trained, the players will test it out in battle against a cunning group of lurking dragonspawn.

Isolated from higher society, the island of Brak sits alone, its erratic weather and currents deterring most passersby who would trade or visit. Some settle on the island for this very reason, seeking solitude and peace—an escape from the overcrowded cities and selfish wars found so often on the mainland. Here, the inhabitants find simple lives, enjoying the calming tranquility of Brak’s lush valleys and pristine shores.

Although free from the petty squabbles of kings and countries, Brak is not without its problems. Surviving on the island can be difficult; weather is harsh, monsters are large, and lives are short. Left alone for centuries, several species of dragonspawn have made Brak their home, breeding and thriving. The creatures have no fear of humanoids, seeing them as nothing more than a convenient food source. These dragonspawn—found in nearly every shape and size—frequent the settlements of Brak looking for an easy meal, hoping to find a full stomach.

To combat this threat, the island’s residents turned to an accomplished artificer named Cuciph, who, limited by Brak’s few resources, brought the terrain itself to life as stone golems. Controlled by magical amulets, these constructs are big, sturdy, and powerful, and should be more than enough to defend the settlements—once properly trained, of course.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Deathdusk Passage

Sarah Darkmagic and NewbieDM have kicked off their downloadable delves, found right here. I wanted to contribute something that could work as a full dungeon delve instead of a single encounter, and here’s what I came up with.

Deathdusk Passage is a collection of three short encounters designed for five players of 1st to 3rd level, taking place in an ominous underground tunnel that connects any two locations of your campaign. After entering the tunnel, the adventurers will become trapped in a hallway where they must fight off oozes and attempt to escape. Next, they will discover a dangerously deep pit; while attempting to cross, monstrous bats will descend upon them and attack. Finally, as they near the exit, statues surrounding an ancient gate come to life, attacking the players as they try to make their escape.

Appearing at first glance to be the entrance to an ornate, stone crypt, the Deathdusk passage has existed for centuries as a shortcut for those willing to brave its darkness. Its craftsmanship is of dwarven origin—no other stonework would have endured so long—though the purpose of its construction remains a mystery.

Just inside, stairs descend into the darkness, masking the presence of hungry monsters, just waiting for a party of inexperienced adventurers. What lies beyond the entrance in uncertain; few have seen and survived the dangers of Deathdusk passage, and they refuse to speak of what lies below. But even without credibility, stories surrounding the passage are plentiful. Tales of endless pits, deadly traps, and forsaken travelers, now waiting in the deep to embrace new adventurers and pull them into the dark.

Whether from fear of such stories, or just simple superstitions, most people ignore the passage entirely, choosing instead to follow the slow and winding mountain trail to their destination. Such a choice is wise, and those who make it nearly always reach their destination unscathed; those that enter Deathdusk passage, on the other hand, are more likely to disappear than reach the other side. Most sneer at the few who dare to attempt the tunnel and lose their lives, but to some, those brave, adventurous few—the journey itself has always meant more than the destination.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Waves of Fate

I was reading Michael Crichton’s book Pirate Latitudes (posthumous), and was surprised that he wrote such a shameless pirate adventure. He doesn’t bother wasting words on depth, character development, or complications, preferring instead to focus on the sweetness of ship battles, muskets, and general pirate trickery. I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises for people looking forward to the book, but there is absolutely no pause in all the mayhem: if one paragraph details their escape from danger #1, the next paragraph introduces danger #2, and so on. Anyways, I felt inspired and wanted to translate that kind of hectic, unapologetic, swashbuckling atmosphere into D&D, so here we are.

Waves of Fate is a collection of three short encounters, all taking place on a boat, designed for five characters between the levels of 5 and 7.

The open sea is a dangerous place ruled by giant beasts, unpredictable weather, and fickle tempers, but those adventurous few traversing its many passages and hazards wouldn’t have it any other way; chaos is a small price to pay for the thrills, freedom, and fortune one can find between the waves.

Pirates, merchants, and couriers navigate the water with their own inclinations, but all carry the same understanding: each ship in the blue is at the mercy of Melora and her servitors, and carried by the raging waves and currents into a future that, if nothing else, is often unexpected. So gather your belongings, prepare the rigging, and keep your eyes on the horizon—for there’s no telling where the waves of fate might take you.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)