For a long while I’ve wanted to use Papers & Pencils as a means to share dungeon stuff, but I’ve never quite been able to figure out how I wanted to do it. The first Deadly Dungeons post was my attempt to convert the World of Warcraft dungeon Scholomance into a tabletop dungeon. Aside from the fact that I never finished the project due to the overwhelming amount of work I created for myself, I now view even the results I did produce to be undesirable. My second, much more recent attempt to make the Deadly Dungeons series work was just last month, when I posted the GM notes for The Ironbone Tower. Ultimately I don’t think that was a very good post either.
Unsure of how to post this kind of content in a useful way, I set the Deadly Dungeons series aside again until I could figure something better out. Then, while reviewing my archives to find things I could build upon, I stumbled upon to some unexpected inspiration while reviewing one of my least favorite posts ever. Instead of trying to post entire dungeons, like a moron, why wasn’t I simply posting modular dungeon rooms like a smart person would?
So that’s what I’m doing now. Deadly Dungeons will be joining Colorful Characters, Magical Marvels, Merciless Monsters, and Lively Locals as one of the regular Friday posts. I hope you enjoy!
The Blastdoor Room is a circular stone room, which the players enter via an archway. A multitude of doors are spaced around the rooms outside edge. Each door is of simple wooden construction, but is sturdy, mounted on excellent hinges, and banded with iron. The stone floor of the room slopes slightly towards the room’s center, where an 18″ diameter hole is placed. It is dark within, but if the players bring a light source to bear, they will discover that the interior of the hole is very smooth, and less than 2ft down it turns off to the side. They are unable to see further.
Upon closer inspection, the players may notice that between the doors, there are areas of the wall which seem much more dilapidated than the rest of the room. They are cracked and dented, with bits of gravel on the floor beneath them. These damaged areas of wall are only about 3ft square, while the walls around them appears to be in much better condition.
Behind every door in the room is a cannon, which is loaded and prepared by a sophisticated mechanism behind the walls. The doors each hold down a spring mechanism mounted on the door’s frame. A moment after a door is opened–even if it is only opened an inch–the cannon will fire. The cannonball will travel along the dotted lines indicated, and smash into the wall directly opposite the door. The walls are extremely sturdy and will not break, but observant players will notice that each of the damaged sections of wall mentioned above has a corresponding door on the opposite side of the room. After striking the wall, and perhaps bouncing on the floor a bit, the ball will gradually roll along the slope of the floor, and fall into the hole at the center of the room, where it will be returned to the loading mechanism behind the walls.
Characters standing in the path of the cannonball will take an amount of damage appropriate to the game being played. (OD&D: 2d6, Pathfinder: 6d6). If the door was not fully opened, then it may be destroyed by the cannon’s fire. If this is the case, characters within 5ft of the door are subject to damage from the wooden shrapnel. (OD&D Save V. Breath, 1d6 damage; Pathfinder Reflex save DC: 18, 2d6 damage). Note that the cannon will not fire continuously if the door is destroyed. The spring switch must be depressed between the cannon’s firings.
If the characters take the time to match sections of damaged wall to doors, then they will discover that every single area of damaged wall is directly opposite from a door. However, there is one door which is not opposite from a section of damaged wall. This section of wall is constructed of the same materials as the rest of the room, but lacks the special reinforcement that the other walls have. If the door opposite this section of wall is opened, then the cannonball will blast through the wall, revealing a secret hallway.
Depending on the dungeon, there may or may not be creatures who will replace broken doors and broken walls. Players who enter the secret hallway may return to find their way back has been bricked up!