Below are the notes I promised in yesterday’s post. If you haven’t read that post, they will doubtless seem sketchy and incomplete. Long story short: my new method of keying dungeons is to describe them on a single line of notebook paper, with one additional line each added for Monsters, Traps, Secrets, and Loot. These notes are meant to provide a starting point for the imagination, so the GM can come up with more detailed room descriptions during play.
This is going to be quite lengthy, but a few notes first:
1) If you are playing in my D&D&LB campaign, do not read any further than this line. I don’t think any of those players actually read my website. But on the off chance you see this post, do not read it. It’ll make the game pretty damned boring for you.
2) If you’re interested in how this system works, I’ve already played two sessions using this very dungeon. And I’ve finished a play report for the first of those sessions.
3) The rule-set I’m using is a hideous bastard child of OD&D, and my own rulings. You’re better off not trying to make sense of things, because I’m making a lot of it up as I go. Though if you’re curious, monsters which show up commonly have their stats on index cards, which is why most don’t have listed stats.
4) Courtney of Hack & Slash recently pointed me to a post of his where he described a method very similar to the one I’m using here. I’m certain his ideas will work their way into how I prepare my own dungeons in the future.
5) Bear in mind these are my personal gaming notes, transcribed word-for-word from my notebook. They’re not pretty, and perhaps this will not be interesting to read. But it’s okay if I post something that isn’t interesting to read sometimes, because there’s just gonna be another post up soon anyway!
And with that out of the way:
Ironbone Tower Dungeon: Sublevel 1
Room 1: Stone room, simple wooden doors. Piles of refuse in corners. 3 skeletons worth of bones scattered around.
T: SE door is locked.
1-W1: Tables to left and right. Chairs on north and south. Dead goblin in center with arrow in head.
T: Square 10×10 pressure plate in center of room. Crossbow bolt from ceiling. THAC2: 17
1-W2: Four rough chalk circles are drawn on the stone floor. Hay and scraps of cloth are piled in the corner like a bed.
M: 3 goblins wrestle with one another in one of the circles. Weapons are nearby.
L: In one of the hay piles is a small leather purse with 40 silver coins.
1-W3: Two bookshelves. Floor covered in torn books. Large piles of charred books 2ft high. Was bonfire.
L: Under charred bonfire pile is an intact scroll of cure light wounds.
1-W4: Room is filled with counters and broken class. Two cabinets against the wall.
T: Right cabinet shoots a crossbow bolt when door is opened. THAC2: 16
L: Right cabinet. Potion of +1 attack for 1 turn. Ruby worth 20gp.
1-W5: Crates block the entrance. Goblins have made a tiny fortress of crates here.
M: 10 goblins w/ swords and bows.
T: Tripwire 5ft from the entrance causes crossbow above door to fire. THAC2: 16
L: Chest with 40 gold coins, 3 rubies worth 20gp/ea, & wood cat worth 100gp
1-W6: A well stocked alchemical lab. Extremely dusty. Single long counter with chairs around it.
L: 2 cure light wounds potion, 1 invisibility potion.
1-W7: Torture chamber. Iron maidens, thumb screws, racks, southern wall lined with cells.
L: One of the iron maidens has a body in it. Clutching jade statue worth 120gp.
1-W8: A small room with hay and a tin plate on the floor.
M: Skeleton. Only animates when secret door in 1-W9 is opened.
1-W9: Completely bare stone room.
S: Stone wall is mounted on a wooden door. Slides away if trigger in 1-W11 activates.
1-W10: Used as storage. 2 crates with rotted grain, moldy rope.
1-W11:Stone cell. Chains & manacles mounted on the wall.
S: Pulling chains on wall opens secret door in 1-W9
1-W12: Bare stone sell. Hay in the corner.
1-W13: Four suits of full plate are on display here, each holding an axe.
T: If the armor is jostled, axe will swing. THAC2: 17
L: Each of the four has an emerald worth 50gp behind visor.
1-W14: Targets set up near the entrance. Arrows all over the floor.
M: Two goblins with shortbows up on the catwalk.
1-W15: Small armory. Simple swords, boxes of arrows, some bows. Spears on a rack across from the stairs.
T: First step depresses. Rack angles down, and all 4 spears shoot at the stairs from behind. THAC2: 15
1-W16: Workshop filled with stonecutting tools. Life sized statue of a woman in the center.
L: In a box on the shelf are 2 sapphires cut to look like eyes. 60gp each.
1-W17: The outside edge of the hallway is straight. Inside edge is rounded.
S: Pressing on a stone at foot level on the door marked S opens it.
1-W18: An active smithy. Anvil in center. Forge on west wall. Racks & raw materials.
M: 3 goblin smiths. Will spill molten iron on the floor.
1-W19:Fountain against north wall. Dry, but small bit of standing water at bottom.
1-W20: Small altar on south wall. Broken pews fill the rest. Torn drapes cover stone walls.
T: 5x5ft pressure plate north of the altar. Flame from above. Save V. Breath, 1d6+1
L: Behind torn drape is small alcove. Gold holy symbol of bloody jaw. 30gp standard/100gp collector.
1-W21: Small table and chairs on right side of the room.
M: Two goblins play cards at the table.
1-W22: South door is iron. Faded mosaic of bloody jaw above door. Circular carpet.
T: Poison needle trap on door handle. Save V. Poison. Fail: 1d2 con per turn, 5 turns.
S: Under rug is a pressure plate. It is very small, and must be pressed intentionally. Opens 1′x1′ in east wall.
L: Secret alcove in east wall contains chest. 60gp in there.
1-W23: Four statues, one in each corner, all depict a woman. Each is a different age. All are defaced.
T: Each statue’s pedestal can be opened. If opened, the statue comes alive.
M: Four faceless statues. HP 7, AC5, DR: 3, THAC2: 16
L: Statue 1,2,3,4: 200gp, +1 short sword, Diamond worth 100gp, Scroll of Fireball
1-W24: A library apparently filled with ancient text, in an old dialect. (Tongue Before The Fall)
S: Texts are religious worship of Neve Canri, though never mentioned by name. One contains a “Hymn of Release”
1-W25: A formerly elegant bed chamber. Torn apart by goblins. Defaced paintings, rotted mattress, etc.
M: Two giant snakes under the bed. AC: 6, THAC2: 15
L: In the snake’s nest is an exquisitely carved silver crown worth 300gp.
1-W26:A faded mural covers the walls of this room. With an empty pedestal in each alcove.
S: The part of the mural over the S door shows a woman in profile. Her eye strangely looks directly out into the room. Press eye, open door.
1-W27: A sword in the center of this small room.
S: Sword can only be removed with the hymn from 1-W24
L: Longsword. Deals +1d6 damage v. undead.
1-W28: Vestebule. Racks for clothing, but empty. Double doors to the south.
1-W29: I apparently forgot to add 1-W29 to the map. Whups.
1-W30: Statue of a kobold with a scythe. Head is smashed off, on the ground. Door is barred on this side.
1-W31: Stone stairs down into darkness.
1-W32: Cathedral. High ceiling. 3 altars. Statue of a woman, lich, and demon. Dry fountain in center w/ dark stains on it.
M: 10 goblins. 3 goblins +1.
T: Statue pedestals open, have poison gas inside of them. Save v. Poison 1d6 Wis damage/3 rounds.
L: Under demon: Ruby worth 200gp, Under Lich: dagger +1, Under woman: spellbook with 4 random level 2 spells.
1-W33: Side chapel. Large frame on west wall with tatters of canvas on edges.
T: When leaving the room, door has needle trap. 1d6 str dmg for 2 turns.
L: Strapped to the bottom of a pew is a silver dagger.
1-W34: Opulent, trashed, bedchamber. Bookshelf north, bed south, fireplace east, dresser west.
M: Ash monster in fireplace. Activates if ash disturbed. Killed w/water. THAC2: 16
L: In fireplace, obsidian orb worth 60GB. Bookcase: Scroll with Wizard Lock
1-W35: Dormitory. 3 Bunkbeds. Fireplace on east wall.
L: Bag of gold under top mattress on 1 bed. 40gp.
1-X1: Large fountain in center. Mirrors on angled walls. Fountain has stagnant water.
L: Press on the SW mirror. Clicks & swings open on hinges. Box w/20gp behind.
1-X2: Kitchen. Tables, knives, rotting food. Large counter down center.
M: 2 Zombies
1-X3: Storage room. Boxes filled with rotted grain. Barrels of old wine.
1-X4:Weapons storage. Rock of swords, spears, bows, shields.
L: One longsword is silvered.
1-X5: Guard room. Table & chairs, piles of bones.
M: Bones form into 2 skeletons when people leave the room.
1-X6: Painting of a noble warrior hangs on wast wall. Broken bed.
1-X7: Slabes which are meant for dead bodies. 3ft wide walkspace between each.
M: 6 zombies. Have difficulty moving between slabs.
1-X8: Alchemy lab. Shelves & broken glass. Rug on the floor in the center.
T: Rug covers a pit 10ft deep w/ spikes at the bottom.
L: Bookshelf has wand of magic missile on it. 3 charges.
1-X9: Bodies hang from hooks on the ceiling. Magic circle in center.
L: Bodies each have some gold. 10 bodies, 40gp total.
1-X10: Dirt floor, dead plants. Room is lit very dimly from above magic spell. Dry fountain to the north.
1-X11: Mirrors on every wall, except walls w/doors. Pillows & couches.
M: 1 Skeleton
S: Press on mirror on S wall. It swings open to reveal a door.
T: Press on any mirror aside from S mirror. Spear launches from behind mirror. THAC2: 15
1-X12: Parlor, couch, chair, fireplace on east wall. Sword hangs above fireplace.
T: If sword is removed from hooks, flame shoots from fireplace. Save v. Breath, 2d6
L: Sword is +1 v. goblinoids. Says “Goblinbane” on blade.
1-X13: Dusty wineracks with only 4 bottles remaining.
L: Wine is old & very fine. 50gp for each bottle.
T: Snake living behind winerack. Poison bite deals 1d2 con damage for 6 turns.
1-X14: Toilet area. Very dirty.
T: Crossbow bolt activated by sitting on toilet. No save.
1-X15: A small, hidden armory.
L: 1 set of silvered full plate armor, 3 vials of poison (1d6 str for 3 turns), Crossbow w/ Bayonet & 30 silver bolts.
1-X16: A small library with a few shelves of books written in old common.
L: One of the books is a spellbook with 3 first level spells, and 4 second level spells.
1-X17: A large dining hall with 3 long tables. Tapestries cover the walls.
M: 3 Skeletons
L: Tapestries are worth 100gp each. 4 of them total.
1-X18: Room is filled with tables stained darkly. Large cleavers present.
M: 2 zombies.
T: East door has needle trap. 1d2 Con for 6 turns.
1-X19: Chains on wall & floor restrain long-dead bodies. East has shrine to demon.
L: Demon’s eyes are obsidion gems worth 50gp each.
T: If eyes are removed, all 15 bodies animate. Still chained, though. Zombie stats.
1-X20: Statue of woman w/ wings dominates center. She points with spear at entrance of room.
S: Statue can be turned. Point at S door, and it opens.
M: 2 Zombies behind S door.
1-X21: A clerical workspace. Symbol of bloody jaw all over. Books, and kneeling bench.
S: If you kneel on the bench, a small door opens in the wall, revealing box.
L: Box contains +1 dagger w/ ruby in hilt.
T: If box is removed, trap door opens beneath. 10ft down, rusty spikes.
1-X22:Large, pool-sized bathhouse. East door is locked.
M: 3 Zombies are wandering around under the water.
L: A locked safe fell into the water. Contains amazing silver cup worth 170gp.
1-X23: Music hall. Couches face a large organ. Broken instruments scattered about.
M: A wight sits at the organ, slamming hands on keyboard.
S: Playing song from 1-X24 on organ opens trapdoor in floor.
L: Trapdoor contains 100gp, Scroll of Lightning Bolt, 2 potions of Cure Light Wounds, Key to 1-X26
1-X24: Room is filled with papers & scattered music notes.
L: One piece of paper has a complete score on it, signed by Vastug Stutt, famous composer. Worth 300gp.
1-X25: Storage. Cleaning tools for the organ, other rusted and broken instruments.
1-X26: Stairs lead up to an empty throne. Statue of woman on one side, lich on other.
T: Sitting on throne causes spikes to come out of it. Drain life. Turn player into zombie. No save.
1-Y1: Small anteroom of simple stone.
1-Y2:Mural covers wall. Faded. Figures staring angrily into the room are clear.
T: 10×10 center of the room is a plate. Drops boulders from ceiling. No save.
1-Y3: Junk covers the floor in big piles, most is soft.
M: 3 dire rats are nested in this room, protecting broods.
T: SW Door is locked.
1-Y4: Toilet is here. Very dirty.
1-Y5:Torture chamber. Racks, iron maidens. In the stocks is half eaten body.
M: 2 dire rats are under the racks.
S: Opening one of the iron maidens reveals a lever among the spikes.
L: Pulling the lever opens small alcove with 15gp stashed there.
1-Y6: Tapestry on the wall. Rug on the floor.
S: Behind tapestry is small circular button. Opens S door.
1-Y7: Tapestry on the wall. Rug on the floor.
T: Rug covers 10ft pit filled with spikes
1-Y8: Shelves have glass bottles on them. Jeweler’s work bench in center.
M: Large snake hides in this room. AC: 6 THAC2: 15
L: Shelves have 3 cure light wounds potions. Bench has necklace worth 100gp.
1-Y9:Bed chamber. Statue of halfling on west corner. Fireplace in east corner.
M: Dire bat lives in chimney. Doesn’t like to be disturbed.
1-Y10: The room’s purpose is difficult to determine. Wall has collapsed, opens into cavern.
1-Y11: Large cavern. Extends high. Some openings back into manmade areas.
M: Ever 10 minutes, 50% chance of being attacked by 1d4 dire bats.
1-Y12: Foyer. Couches and a painting of a wealthy family on E wall.
M: A dire spider hides behind the stairs.
L: A diamond is under the stairs, worth 200gp.
1-Y13: Hallway with nice carpet on the floor. 3 Paintings hang on the wall.
L:Each painting is worth 50gp.
T: center painting holds down a pressure plate. THAC2: 14
1-Y14: Bedchamber. Still in decent shape. Armoire, safe.
T: Save has needle trap. Poison is dry, but deals 1 damage.
L: Armoire contains 2 fine gowns worth 100gp/ea. Safe contains land deed to “North Tower.”
1-Y15: Parlor. Fireplace on the west wall. Bookshelf of rotted books on south wall.
1-Y16: Miniature bath house. Shelf filled with scented oils and bath salts.
M: Large water snake in the fetid water. AC: 6 THAC2: 15
1-Y17: Bedchamber, well furnished. 2 dead dire rats. Stripped.
L: Under bed is a case. Contains 100gp and a glass orb.
T: Needle trap on case’s latch. Save v. Poison. 1d2 con for 3 turns.
Glass orb: If you stare into it you see blackness. It is linked to an orb on sublevel 2.
1-Y18: 3 cages hang from the ceiling. 2 have skeletons in them. 1 is open & empty.
T: If there is weight in the cage, it will close and lock.
L: One of the skeletons is hiding a gold pendant worth 80gp.
1-Y19: Stinks. Bed, table, rat carcases on hooks. Several crates.
T: Door locked.
NPC: Prisoner escaped from 1-Y18. Put here for food for orcs below. Been here 6 months.
1-Y20: Narrow stairway leads down side of cliff into large dark cavern below.
T: First stair flips up when weight is put on it, flinging w/e is on it off the cliff.
1-Y21: Parlor. Empty pedestals in corners. Statue in the center with arms out, palms up. Floor covered w/ rug.
T: Right hand has dagger pointing towards fingers carved on it. If pushed down, fire from statue eyes, Save v. Breath 1d6
S: Left hand has dagger pointing towards wrist carved in it. If pushed down, S door opens.
1-Y22: Stone hands are mounted on the wall. They hold a warhammer.
T: If the hammer is taken, statue in previous room comes to life. HP6 DR2 THAC2:16 AC:8
L: +1 warhammer. For a cleric it is +2 v. evil. Hammer is engraved and bejeweled.
M: 1 dire bat flies out of the room when it is disturbed.
1-Y23: A dining room. Large table, chairs, fireplace on south wall.
M: Four dire rats have a nest under the table, and will scurry out if the room is disturbed.
L: Silver plates and goblets worth 300gp (total) adorn the table (6 plates, 6 goblets)
1-Y24: A kitchen. Counters, icebox, racks, knives, cupboards.
L: In icebox, jar containing red spheres. Rare spell component worth 500gp. Only lasts 4 hours out of ice.
1-Y25: A very simple bedchamber. Corner of the room collapsed.
L: Off ledge, a bag of 25gp fell. Rests 8ft below, on lower ledge.
1-Y26 Sitting room. Rotted couches, fireplace on North wall.
M: Giant centipede lives in couch. AC: 7, THAC2: 15, Poison: 1d6 con/ 4 turns
1-Y27: Study. Shelves w/books (ancient common. Law books) Large oaken desk.
S: Locked drawer on desk. Drawer has button to open S door.
L: Drawer contains bag of 40gp, small hand held crossbow, vial of poison (1d6 con/4 turns)
M: 1 dire rat is under the desk.
1-Y28: A storage space. Very dusty. Cleaning tools, old clothing, all moth eaten.
1-Y29: A small shrine with a pedestal. Atop it is an ancient bust of Neve Canari
T: Lifting the bust from the pedestal Freezerburns exposed flesh. Will drop. 60% chance to break.
L: Bust is worth 1000gp.
1-Y30: A sculptor’s workshop. Chisels of different sizes, half-formed humanoid shape.
L: On a shelf is a small box of assorted gems worth 200gp.
1-Y31: A large room with a dirt floor, and a pentagram made of salt.
1-Z1: A large open Plaza area. Troughs of sitting water & dry fountains w/ benches.
M: 6 beetle people are on patrol here. They all hold spears and crossbows.
1-Z2: Nesting chamber for guards. Cloth & pillows. 3 chests with personal items.
L: One chest has a false bottom, hiding 40gp.
1-Z3: Armory. Swords, spears, shields, 2 chests on west wall.
T: Chests have needle traps. 1d2 con over 6 turns.
L: Chests contain mundane leather & chain armor.
1-Z4: Secondary armory. Anvil and forge here, but not in use. 2 Chests.
T: Chests have needle traps. 1d2 con over 6 turns.
L: Chest 1: Silver shield 2/ Spike. Chest 2: 4 silver ingots worth 100gp/ea.
1-Z5: This room is filled with dirt, and stones, and water. An artificial environment for growing moss & algae for food.
1-Z6: Guard post. Barricade in center.
M: 4 Beetle People guard here. All have crossbows.
T: Space in front of barricade (center 10×10) activates flame. Save v. Breath, 2d6.
The ‘Z’ wing of the dungeon isn’t yet finished. If this post proves to be of interest, I may post the rest of the Beetle-People’s caverns when they are finished. Otherwise I think the four completed wings of the dungeon above get the point across sufficiently!