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.
Seven words were created to help inspire this set of dungeon rooms:
The author can use any or all of them. See if you can spot where and how these ideas get used!
The Dungeon Map
The final dungeon level uses Dyson Logos’ map, The Statues of the Thrall Gods. (This link provides an unkeyed version of the map.)
This installment of the dungeon covers only Area 13. It’s a doozy.
Area 13: The Hallways and the Crypt
|The hallway curves ahead in the low light, and numerous chambers run off both sides of the hallways. Bones are fastened with rope overhead of each chamber, and small, glittering trinkets hang from the bones. The darkness wicks away light into the open chambers of the dead. Their decomposing corpses smell of rot, and acrid clouds hang heavy in the air. Through dim light, you see each chamber more decrepit than before, and the moans of the dying, unable to save themselves, echo across the wet stone walls.
This snaking hallway connects an open-air crypt of dying and dead satarre destroyers (see Tome of Beasts 2). Each chamber on the hall holds at least one satarre. Most are corpses, but eight chambers contain dying satarre.
The living lack the capacity and will to fight, as Yskarakta is draining them of their life essence to fuel his machinations in Area 28. PCs who make successful DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) checks recognize these rooms as a fueling station and can thwart Yskarakta’s cunning plans by removing the satarre from their chambers before they die. (The satarre cooperate with any PCs who try to remove them, and they expire peacefully moments after their removal.)
The two highlighted chambers are notable for the lack of dying satarre. The highlighted chamber to the south is filled with valuable treasure (see the table below). The chamber to north contains somberweave (see Tome of Beasts 2). This spider-like creature is half in the Shadow Realm and half in the Material Plane, useing her web to entrap victims and transport them to the Shadow Realm.
The somberweave’s web can be identified without stepping into the chamber with a successful DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) check. However, the somberweave attacks as soon as it identifies a PC entering either chamber.
The somberweave’s chamber contains a portal to the Shadow Realm beneath her web, hidden by the bones of her past toys. If she starts her turn with 39 hp or fewer, she tries retreat to the Shadow Realm via this portal. After spending a round in the Shadow Realm, the somberweave recovers 20 hp. This ability is usable once per short or long rest.
If the PCs flee, the somberweave is unlikely to separate from her web. She pursues any interlopers still within 60 feet of her chamber unless she has fewer than 20 hp.
Using the Portal. If the somberweave is defeated, PCs who make a successful DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check can learn how to open the somberweave’s portal to the Shadow Realm.
The Treasure. The chamber is to the south is filled with treasure. Among the trinkets lie 1d4 + 1 x 100 gp coins it holds valuable items that might prove useful later in the battle against Yskarakta. Roll once on the Treasure Table for each PC who searches the chamber.
|A sack of rare gemstones worth 1,000 gold. A creature can use its action to scatter the gemstones on the ground, serving as caltrops that deal 3d10 piercing damage and reduce an injured creature’s walking speed to 5 feet.
|Enchanted Knitting Needles (2). If you spend 10 minutes weaving these needles into a weapon that does piercing damage, these needles deal an additional damage die of piercing damage. The needles break after 10 minutes of use.
|Skin of a Walker. This oil is infused with the cure for necrosis. After spending 1 minute to apply the oil to their skin, the creature is immune to necrotic damage for 1 hour.
|Mirror of Reflection. When you are targeted by a spell attack or spell effect, you can use your reaction to reflect the spell back at the caster as though it originated from you, turning the caster into the target. The mirror shatters after its use.
|Crown of Zhuothlop. This icy thorn of prophecy (see Vault of Magic) is adorned with amethysts. Once per short or long rest, you can use your reaction to reroll a saving throw against a magical effect.
|Winged boots. These boots also increase the wearer’s walking speed by 15 feet while worn.
|Altruist’s Feast. You can use this scroll to cast heroes’ feast, but you must willingly sacrifice your attunement to a magic item. You can’t attune to the magic item against until you have completed a long rest.
|Cloak of Protection. Once per day, the wearer can use a bonus action to boost the cloak’s bonuses to +5 for 10 minutes.
|Babelindom (see below).
|Daylight Ring (see below).
|Enchanting Lute (see below).
|Sword of Snuljjven (see below).
Wondrous Item, Common
This plain, pewter necklace is inscribed with an unknown script. When worn, you can speak and understand Void Speech, Deep Speech, and Abyssal.
Ring (Rare), Requires Attunement
This ring has 3 charges, and it regains 1d3 expended charges daily at dawn. While wearing the ring, you can use an action to expend 1 to 3 of its charges create a continual beam of daylight for one hour.
Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)
This lute has 6 charges, and it regains 1d6 expended charges daily at dusk. As an action, you can expend 1 charge to cast sleep. For each additional charge you expend, you can increase the spell slot by 1. You may instead expend 3 charges to cast suggestion or expend 6 charges to cast confusion.
SWORD OF SNULJJVEN
Sword (Shortsword), Very Rare (Requires Attunement)
Cast in the finest forge known to living beings, this +2 shortsword mutes magical energy from those it strikes. The Sword of Snuljjven has 3 charges, and it recharges 1d3 charges at midnight while heated in a fire. If you hit a creature with the Spellcasting feature or trait with it, you can use your reaction to expend one charge to force the target creature to make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the target can’t cast a spell until the end of your next turn.
|Designer Insights: Scope
Because this article is a single area within a much larger map, it needs to really count, and not just because of magic items. By showing mercy to the satarre in this area, the PCs also weaken foes later. If the PCs skip this area, it’s harder (but not impossible) to succeed later in the dungeon.
Sometimes, when your scope is large, you struggle to put meaning into every corner. With a narrowed scope, you must make every nook and cranny count. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with a narrow scope.
In two weeks, we proceed to the northwest portion of our dungeon map.
If you’re looking for a notebook to jot down your Dungeon 23 ideas, check out the Kobold Press TeePublic page!