Beyond the archway is a short stone staircase descending 4ft into a large room filled with water. The water is three and a half feet deep, and all but the first step are submerged beneath its surface. The water does not flow, and a thorough examination of the room will not reveal any point at which fresh water comes into the room. Yet strangely, the water lacks any of the stagnant murkiness one would expect to find in still dungeon water. It is crisp and clear, allowing anyone standing at the stairs an easy view of the stone floor beneath the water’s surface. There are no deadly creatures lurking in this water, it appears to be nominally safe.
The main features of the room are the four large sarcophagi. spaced roughly 12ft from both the walls, and from each other. The lid of each sarcophagus is level with the water, such that it is obvious water will not pour into them the moment they are opened; but even slight movement would cause ripples large enough to splash the bodies within. Each of the sarcophagi is adorned with a large stone depiction of an object. Atop one is a large stone book which lies open. The writing on the exposed pages of the book is magical, and can only be read by casting Read Magic. The stones function as a Scroll of Knock which can be used unlimited times. Any attempt to remove the book from the top of the sarcophagus will cause the runes to crack, and become unusable.
Another sarcophagus bears a large stone depiction of a sword, while a third is topped with a massive stone rat who appears feral and hungry. The final sarcophagus is topped with an elaborate feast of stone. It depicts a roast bird, several piles of fruits, a large of wine, and a large fish on a tray.
The room is constructed of simple stone, and the ceiling is 15ft above the floor. The only other obvious feature of the room are three metal rods–one of gold, one of silver, and one of copper. Each is 3ft in length, and they hang down from the center of the ceiling in a triangle pattern.
Anytime one of the sarcophagi is opened, the copper rod in the ceiling will send a lightning bolt down into the water. Anyone standing within the water or who is anywhere near the rods is subject to this damage. [In pathfinder, 10d6 damage, Reflex save DC: 20 for half; in OD&D 6d6 damage, save v. wands for half].
Within the sarcophagus with the book on top of it, there is the dessicated body of a woman. On the underside of the lid is a fist-sized dial. When it is turned, a previously unseeable seam will appear amongst the pages on the stone book. The page will turn, revealing a blank page with three very thin strips of metal embedded into it. The first is silver, the second is copper, and the last is gold. If, for some reason, the stone book’s pages are up against the wall or another hard surface, and cannot turn, then the player will also be unable to turn the dial on the lid’s underside.
Within the sarcophagus adorned with a statue of a feral rat, there is the dessicated body of a man. Immediately upon being opened, a blast of blue-grey smoke will be released. The cloud will force anyone within 5ft to make a saving throw. (Pathfinder: Fortitude, DC 16; OD&D: Save v. Poison) Failure causes the victim’s muscles to become limp and unresponsive for a turn (10 minutes). If they fall into the water, they may drown if they are not rescued.
The sarcophagus with a sword atop it is deeper than the others, and packed tightly with bones. They have been neatly stacked according to their type (femurs with femurs, ribs with ribs, skulls with skulls…). There are exactly enough bones here for 8 human bodies. The bones are not undead. They do not have any aura, and will not react to turn undead. However, if the lightning bolt is ever activated while this crypt is open, the bolt will angle off to the side, striking these bones rather than the water. At this point, the bones will leap from the sarcophagus and form into 8 undead skeletons, where each bone is bound to the others with a tiny arc of electrical static. These skeletons fight as standard skeletons do, but have an additional 2 HD, and deal additional electricity damage in addition to their normal damage (Pathfinder: 2d6; OD&D: 1d6).
The sarcophagus with the feast atop it contains the dessicated remains of a woman. If the players choose to search for a false bottom, they will discover that beneath the body is a stairway which leads to the next level of the dungeon.
The rods on the ceiling can be removed easily enough. Once they are gripped, a simple quarter turn will release them, and allow them to be pulled easily from the holes they’re mounted in. However, the lightning will activate if the rods are not removed in the proper order. The proper order is silver first, followed by copper, followed by gold. Once removed from the ceiling, the rods have no magical properties. However, the copper rod is worth 50gp, the silver rod is worth 200gp, and the golden rod is worth 800gp!