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Dungeon 23: Corroded Memories

Dungeon 23: Corroded Memories

Throughout 2023, a roster of Kobold Press superstars are working together to create a full dungeon for the Dungeon23 project. Each installment contains a few areas that will stack up to a full delve! Catch up on previous articles here.

Dungeon 23 Community Highlight

On their blog, The Library of Lost Legends, Temmoghen FhoTA is dutifully crafting a dungeon with the intention of testing its survivability for a party of eight characters. Temmoghen is drawing their dungeon on graph paper, which hearkens back to some of our team’s earliest roleplaying experiences.

Dungeon Prompts

Seven words have been created to to help inspire this set of dungeon rooms:

  1. Linear
  2. Redundant
  3. Wooden
  4. Rabid
  5. Deadpan
  6. Wriggly
  7. Abstracted

The author can use any or all of them. See if you can spot where and how these ideas get used!

The Dungeon Map

map by Dyson Logos

This level of the dungeon uses a Dyson Logos map, Wylgarak’s Hole (use this link for a player version without area numbers).

This map offers diverse paths for the PCs to explore while pursuing their adventure hook, which should resolve in Area 18.

This installment of the dungeon covers areas 8–11 of level two.

Area 8: Faded Gates

The sound of hissing, sizzling, and bubbling acid echoes through the chamber. The bridge leads to a section with double bronze metal doors, the metal having a corroded greenish color. The doors are engraved, displaying bearded faces with no eyes staring into a water well at the edge of the bridge.

The bronze double doors are locked but can be opened with a successful DC 12 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools. PCs can also open the door by splashing water onto the faces etched into the door, giving it the water they crave. Either action results in a loud click, and both doors will swing outwards.

The chamber interior has a 15-foot-high ceiling and a checkered floor of bronze metal tiles (the shaded squares on the map) and teal-green tiles (the white squares on the map). At the end of the chamber, two corroded bronze metal doors also have faces etched like the entrance, but there is no well for thme to look at here.

With a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check, PCs notice the bronze tiles are pressure plate traps. If stepped upon, this activates the traps in areas 8a and 8b below.

Area 8a & 8b. The doors to these rooms are bronze statues of bearded figures who hold empty bronze bowls in their hands. If the trap in area 8 is activated, the doors to areas 8a, 8b and 9 swing open simultaneously, and an acid-tasting poison gas fills the chamber.

Each creature in the chamber must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour. The trap can be deactivated if a PC pours clean water into the bowls at each door.

A Secret Door. PCs who search inside the Area 8b locate a secret door with a successful DC 12 Wisdom (Investigation) check. Elves have advantage on this check.

Designer Insights: Acidic Test
Once the team decided that the water on this level was acid, I began tying that theme into my section. I wanted to tie into the effects of acid in with a classic RPG trap. Even after the trap goes off, it’s good to give overly suspicious players the opportunity to find a secret door.

Area 9: Forgotten Keeper Chamber

When the bronze doors open, two braziers inside the chamber light up with magical blue, flickering flames illuminating the area. Steam creeps out from the chamber as the sound of machinery echoes through the chamber.

This chamber is simple: two magical braziers with continual flame cast on them and one single unlocked chest against the back wall. The sole figure in this chamber is a bronze golem (see Creature Codex), which attacks any intruders within area 8 or 9. The Golem attempts to use its Brazen Bull ability to lock a weaker creature inside its chest while attacking stronger opponents. The golem fights to the death, but it doesn’t pursue intruders outside of area 8. The chest contains 575 gp, two healing potions, and a Dawn Shard longsword (see Vault of Magic).

Designer Insights: Keeping The Theme
I wanted to use an iconic golem creature type here, and the Bronze Golem had a unique ability called Brazen Bull that was too fun to pass up. Perhaps the trouble a party goes through to get into this area makes all that danger and hard work worth it?

Area 10: Hallway of Mysterious History

The air smells decayed and dusty. The unlit stone hallway turns, with sets of stone stairs leading up. Numerous stone sconces hold ancient, unlit torches. Ancient wall paintings are sheathed in spiderwebs.

Eventually, this hallway leads to a bronze metal door, a spiral staircase in the nook to the east, and then ends suddenly. Reveal these aspects once the PCs get that far down the hall.

The PCs can view the aged paintings on the walls once cleared of spiderwebs, dirt, and grime. They show shrouded, faceless, bearded figures building what appears to be parts of this dungeon.

The bronze door in this hallway leading to Area 11 is like the one at Area 8, but it is unlocked. At the end of the hall, a spiral stone staircase leads down to the next level of the dungeon, but the entrance is barred. A successful DC 10 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals that a magical key is required to open the door to the third level. A successful DC 18 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals that the key employs powerful transmutation magic. The PCs can’t go beyond this point without a key.

Another Secret Door. The dead end has a section of wall that is a secret door to Area 2. The door can be found with a successful DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check. Elves have advantage on this check.

Designer Insights: Hinting at History
Between monster fights, it’s great to use the environment to help tell some story to the players. Who are these bearded figures who made this dungeon? You don’t need to know yet when you drop this kind of detail in. Let them speculate! Who knows, this might be a prelude for level 3!

Area 11: Safe Chamber

Behind the single bronze door is a simple stone chamber with empty stone sconces across the walls.

This chamber has nothing of value, but it’s secured away from dangers. The PCs can safely take a short or long rest in this room without any disruption.

Designer Insights: A Moment to Rest
When designing dungeons, remember that characters need moments to catch their breath. Unless you’re going hard for a reason, leave rooms free from danger to allow undisrupted long rests. GMs run the dungeons, but we’re not monsters.

Delving Deeper

In two weeks, we venture into the caverns along the western edge of the acid lake!

If you’re looking for a notebook to jot down your Dungeon 23 ideas, check out the Kobold Press TeePublic page!

about Jonathan Miley

Jonathan Miley was introduced to D&D during his high school days when he quickly become the forever DM for his groups. Jonathan’s love for anything fantasy, science fiction, and horror fueled his desire to create adventures and monsters. His first published adventure was A Drinking Problem, where he fell in love with Kobold Press’s Rum Gremlins and created the Gremlin Rum Lord that appeared in Tome of Beast 2. Jonathan has since published various creatures in Tome of Beast 3 such as the Coastline Reaper, Shadow Lurker, and the Forgotten Regent.

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