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Dungeon 23: The End is Near!

Dungeon 23: The End is Near!

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

Dungeon Prompts

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

  1. Electric
  2. Many
  3. Abject
  4. Hanging
  5. Overt
  6. Stripped
  7. Moldy

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

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 Areas 20–26.

Area 20: What-If Crystal

Light scintillates across this chamber from floor to ceiling, bathing it in pale hues that shift from pink to blue to yellow. The source of the light is a cart-sized chunk of faceted crystal in the center of the chamber. Images dance across the surface of the crystal, drawing your eye. 

When entering this area, PCs must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become paralyzed by the crystalline centerpiece for 10 minutes. A paralyzed PC can repeat the saving throw after each minute passes, ending the paralyzed condition on itself on a success. The condition also ends if the PC takes any damage or is removed from the area.

While paralyzed, the PC is enraptured by the room’s crystalline centerpiece. The centerpiece shows how their life would be better if they made different choices.

Two satarre destroyers (see Tome of Beasts 2) and one crystalline devil (see Tome of Beasts 1) patrol this Area every 10 minutes. Roll a d10 to determine how many minutes pass before they return. If all PCs are paralyzed by the crystal, the patrol binds them with rope and escorts (or carries) them to Area 22. PCs can escape their bindings with successful DC 18 Strength (Athletics) or DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks.

The centerpiece has AC 18, 25 hp, damage threshold 10, and is vulnerable to thunder damage. If destroyed, it shatters into small shards and one bigger chunk. A PC can use that chunk as a scroll of hypnotic pattern.

Area 21: Portal Chamber

A tall, two-sided standing mirror dominates the center of the upper portion of this long chamber. A second tall mirror hangs from the northern wall, and a third hangs facing the east side of the central mirror.

Servants of Yskarakta use this chamber to access Areas 23, 24, and 25. While the mirrors in this chamber seem completely mundane, PCs who succeed on a DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check notice that they can see themselves from the point of view of the south wall.

PCs who examine the south wall and succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom (Arcana) check sense an open, invisible portal hanging there. Any PC who touches the south wall is teleported to a space within 5 feet of the western wall in Area 25.

Area 22: Holding Cells

Six alcoves studded with razor fragments of mirrored glass each have a pair of iron manacles affixed to the wall. The alcoves are only large enough to hold a Medium creature. Ominous stains mar the floor of each alcove.

If the PCs are captured and brought to the holding cells, one crystalline devil (see Tome of Beasts 1) maintains a guard over them. Otherwise, this area is empty.

If imprisoned, a PC attempting to break free of the manacles takes 5 (1d10) slashing damage unless they succeed on a DC 25 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check.

PCs with a passive Perception 20 hear the melodious pleas of Ithriel in area 24 if they spend one minute in this Area.

Area 23: Tormentor’s Quarters

Unidentifiable smears, stone chips, and filthy, once-white feathers litter the floor. An untidy pallet holding greasy blankets sits against the east wall, surrounded by piles of moldering organic matter. At the south end of the chamber, five bright coral colored fish arch upward from a dry fountain, their stone forms hiding the now useless fountain heads.

This is the bedchamber of the angel Ithriel’s jailers: a derro shadow antipaladin (see Tome of Beasts 1)and three bored bearded devils. Once they notice the PCs, they are quick to choose violence.

The three devils focus on a single target, favoring spellcasters. The devils fight to the death, cursing the entire time and heckling PCs who miss with attacks.

The derro works in tandem with the devils, casting wrathful smite as a bonus action and using his reaction to cast hellish rebuke against attackers. If the derro starts his turn with less than half his hit point maximum, he retreats to Area 25 as a last stand.

If a PC pours water into the fountain, one of the fish statues detaches and shrinks into a coral shark figurine of wondrous power (see Vault of Magic). The PCs may also find Ithriel’s horn and weapons in the derro’s rucksack.

Area 24: Ithriel’s Torment

A golden-skinned figure wearing a filthy dress kneels on the floor with their forehead resting upon the stone. Their tattered golden wings are folded around them like a cloak. When they hear you enter, they raise their head and sing a single haunting note. Three stone columns with a sheet of gray-black energy pulsing between them surround the figure.

The imprisoned figure is Ithriel, the song angel (see Creature Codex). After their capture by Yskarakta, they were imprisoned by the derro shadow antipaladin. They smell of orange blossoms.

Corporeal creatures can’t pass through the energy coursing between pillars. PCs who touch a pillar or the energy fields between them must make DC 15 Constitution saving throws, taking 4d8 lightning and 4d8 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success.

The PCs can free Ithriel by destroying a pillar (AC 16, 105 hp, and a damage threshold of 10). They may instead suppress the pulsing energy for 1 minute by targeting a pillar with dispel magic.

If freed, Ithriel has 1 hp and has used their spell slots. Regretfully, Ithriel is subject to a geas spell that prevents them from harming Yskarakta. The angel won’t offer to aid the PCs or participate in helping unless the geas is dealt with.

Area 25: Into Darkness

The darkness in this room prevents you from seeing your hand in front of your face. The air is cool and smells of old copper and orange blossoms. It feels as though you are standing on scattered metal utensils.

The derro shadow antipaladin uses this magically darkened room to relax and store tools used to torment Ithriel. The derro can see through the magical darkness, but other creatures with darkvision can’t unless they have an ability like the Devil’s Sight warlock invocation.

The magical darkness can be dispelled by casting dispel magic or counteracted by casting daylight. If the darkness is dispelled or counteracted (or the PC can see in the dark), they see rusted, blood encrusted forceps, knives, scalpels, pins and clamps scattered across the floor. If they spend 5 minutes searching the room, they find a blackguard’s blade (see Vault of Magic).

Area 26: Stygian Gate

Stairs lead down to an onyx slab veined in pulsing crimson. Four niches, two to the west and two to the east, each contain a statue of an erinyes. Three of the four statues hold a tablet inscribed with a pentagram. The statue in the northeastern niche’s hands are empty.

The stone steps leading to the onyx slab are coated with dust. PCs who make successful DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) checks surmise that this route is infrequently used by Yskarakta’s minions.

Designer Insights: The Door to Nowhere
What lies past the door to the south is beyond the scope of this adventure. Here are a few ideas for where your PCs may go after defeating Yskarakta:
* The door leads to the next dungeon level, where a lich concocts a plot to turn the surface Humanoids into fungal servitors.
* The door is a crimson portal surrounded by a heat haze leading to Urgennos, the Luminous Hell of Fire and Sulphur.
* The door teleports users into a cell in Mammon’s citadel. It also teleports the PCs’ coins and gems to Mammon’s vault.

Delving Deeper

In two weeks, the PCs meet Yskarakta, where our dungeon ends. Will it also be the end of the PCs?

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

about Kelly Pawlik

Kelly started gaming after her second son was born in 2012. She delights in worldbuilding and prefers campaigns that contain an abundance of intrigue and romance. Kelly co-founded Dire Rugrat Publishing in 2015 and has worked on many projects with Kobold Press. In 2021 she released the first three novellas in her middle-grade science fiction/horror/urban fantasy series, The Olympic Vista Chronicles.

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