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Trapspringer: Ustalav Doll Casket

Trapspringer: Ustalav Doll Casket

The box looks like a fat, heavily pregnant woman with fangs instead of teeth. Her copious belly contains a rather grotesque image of an infant with three heads, each with an open mouth like a key-hole.

No ordinary receptacle will do for treasure in the Land of Gothic Horror.

The infuriating Ustalav Doll Casket is not one but five (and sometimes many more) chests fitted one within the other, each of which is dangerously trapped. These traps are made more infuriating by the presence of three or more choices of keyhole for each casket. Furthermore, the colossal weight of these chests makes them virtually impossible to shift — any exploration and lock-picking usually has to be done on site. Each chest comes with a dozen possible keys for each chest, and only the owner is ever told which key fits which lock and which lock is not trapped. Any would-be-thief must make a search check (DC 30) to ascertain which lock is correct to pick and must then pick that lock (DC 30) to avoid setting of the chest’s trap.

Doll Casket Maesters are greatly respected (or more often enslaved) in Ustalav, and spend their lives creating new and more terrible treasure chests for their masters. This is one of their finest.

Sample Ustatlav Doll Casket – The Iron Ustalav Doll Casket of Count Forsk
Hardness 10, Hit Points 60, Break DC 28 (per casket). Total cost (5 casket doll) 16,860gp.

Outer Chest – The Grinning Spectacle of the Dead Ravens
This chest is made of iron, and resembles the figure of a fat bloated pregnant woman. An unkindness of ravens, rotting and worm-eaten, are flowing from her mouth. Her eyes and mouth have keyholes.

Grinning Spectacle of the Dead Ravens Trap: CR5; magical device; location trigger; no reset; spell effect (summon monster IV, 7th level wizard), Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 30, Market Price 1,500gp, 120XP.
The creature summoned, a zombie wyvern, has a skin made of stitched undead ravens, which scream and caw as the creature attacks.

Zombie, wyvern CR 4
hp 94 (MM 267)

Second Chest – The Vile Vision of Birthed Imps
Infuriatingly, a second iron chest fits snugly inside the first. The woman figure is again represented: more wasted in appearance, and birthing three imps. Each imp holds a lamb’s head with an open mouth that bears a key-hole.

Vile Vision of Birthed Imps Trap: CR7; magical device; location trigger; no reset; spell effect (summon monster VI, 11th level wizard), Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 30, Market Price 3,300gp. 264XP.
The spell summons a trio of imps, whose appearance is alarmingly similar to that of the bloated doll woman the chest resembles.

Devil, imp, 3 CR 2
hp 13 (MM 56)

Third Chest – The Horrible Visage of Infestation
And another! This third chest shows the woman stricken by terrible sickness – her skin erupts in boils and her eyes are blinded by warts. Three toads sit on her flesh, each open mouthed with a keyhole within.
Horrible Visage of Infestation Trap: CR5; magical device; location trigger; no reset; spell effect (summon monster IV, 7th level wizard), Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 30, Market Price 1,500gp, 120XP.

The creature summoned, an otyugh, is alive with fecal rot, Lice dance across its back and flies swarm around its mouth. The save DC of the filth fever this otyugh carries is 18.

Otyugh CR 4
hp 36 (MM 204)

Fourth Chest – The Screaming Glory of Immolation
Small shock then that yet another chest is within, this one depicting the woman in flames, screaming as she looks up at you, her mouth drawn in a yell of agony. Three holes are driven into her neck.
Screaming Glory of Immolation Trap: CR8; magical device; location trigger; no reset; spell effect (summon monster VII, 13th level wizard), Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 30, Market Price 4,500 gp, 360 XP.

The creature summoned, a huge fire elemental, has a voice like an insane furnace.
Elemental, Fire, Huge CR 7
hp 136 (MM 99)

Final Chest – The Obscene Pageant of Foetal Content
Here the female figure is melting, and holding up a vile distended devil child with three heads, each of which has a keyhole in its forehead where a third eye is represented.
Obscene Pageant of Foetal Content Trap: CR9; magical device; location trigger; no reset; spell effect (summon monster VIII, 15th level wizard), Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 30, Market Price 6,000gp, 480XP.

The creature summoned resembles a grotesque dead child, its skin cold and blue. Two sightless featureless heads spring from the creature’s main head.
Devil, Erinyes CR 8
hp 68

Other Doll Caskets

Hundreds of doll caskets exist, and though most come from Ustalav, some traders have mastered the art. No two caskets are alike and each bears the cruel hallmark of their creators. Those most feared are the ones created by the infamous trio of Carrion Hill Casket Maester’s – Pireaeas, Voll and Shorgvv. A sample of each of their works is listed below:

The Biting and Severing Doll Casket of Lord Strohl
Created by Maester Shorgvv, the heads of the dolls within this casket inflict terrible severing bites – its final casket, the eighth casket of Strohl, releases a host of severing circular blades which fly in all direction from the casket and sever any limb they hit.

The Living Doll Casket of Queen Shesche
Carved by Maester Voll in 4585 from human flesh, this casket is an abomination. Each fleshy casket is fashioned from devil’s flesh made into revolting horrors that attack, and vomit forth the next casket when slain.

The Infamous Iron Golem Doll Casket of Orlorn
Probably the most infamous of all caskets was made by Otto Pireaeas. This casket was made of interlocking iron golems that resemble toad women. Each golem of the casket has its own unique attack, from the head-crushing merciless vice on the first casket to the diabolic severing claws of Orlorn on the last.

Like this week’s traps? Let us know in comments!

14 thoughts on “Trapspringer: Ustalav Doll Casket”

  1. What a trap! That’s astounding. It makes me want to design an adventure just to include the treasure chest – that hasn’t happened since the mimic. But what would be locked inside a chest like that … ?

  2. I think some fiendish treasures would be glorious, Mr. Pett. :)

    Perhaps you could fetch them from your bottomless well of wonders. Just throw down a bucket and haul them up…

  3. Perhaps have the PCs believe that a lich’s phylactery lays inside, but actually leave the chest empty (or hold a fake) and run a “Purloined Letter” ruse for the actual location. If one is going to be cruel enough to use this, one might as well go all the way.

  4. My Dear Mr Baur – it would be a pleasure to get some fiendish treasure to you – but as it was F.A.R.s idea I think it would be only fair to suggest perhaps a collaboration – F.A.R. please let Mr Baur know if you’re up for that and we can get fiending on 100 fiendish treasure items – I can see mummfied hands with rings on them, whittled undead skulls and tormented small furry things a plenty…
    Rich

  5. Another terrific offering by the master!

    Fairness tells me that after the heroes have burned, maimed, and poisoned themselves trying to get inside these nested horrors, there should be something truly worthwhile inside. Fairness Schmairness! My heroes are lifting the final lid right now. In the pit of the center box stand dolls of the PCs, arranged as they are around the doll casket. One of the dolls has a broken neck.

  6. You are a sick and twisted individual Tim – that must be why I like you so much:)

    That idea of yours just screams the begining of an adventure…

  7. The Ustalav doll casket is truly a work of wonder. The possibilities for the chest are endless and hideous. A must use in a nasty dungeon.

  8. The Lich Queen

    This is going straight into my Virlych campaign. Right before the “paladin” Prince Reneis sets Tar-Baphon free.

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