Deadly Dungeons 11: The Midas Chest

PocketDimensionChest_AThe walls of this rather large room are painted a bright shade of green, with zig-zagging purple stripes running horizontally around it. It’s apparent that this room appeared festive, once upon a time. But in the eons since then, the paint has chipped and the wall’s many stones have eroded and shifted enough that the pattern is more haunting than happy.

On the north wall there is a massive iron door with no handle or hinges. Every edge of the 10ft high, 7ft wide door is covered by the walls, and floor. Embossed on the door are two daggers, one pointing up and one pointing down. At the tip of each dagger is a line which curves away from the blade. This door is sealed with powerful, ancient magic, and will resist any attempt to open it. Even through the use of a knock spell.

In the center of the room is a small square platform 3 steps off the ground. Atop the platform is a large, ornate archway. It is engraved on both sides with a detailed depiction of a battle between humans and demons. Each army starts at the floor, and is depicted marching up the sides of the archway, until they meet. The humans seem to be winning, as they have pushed the demons back from the center of the arch. Aside from this ornate carving, the archway appears to be a simple structure of stone with no magical properties, or any purpose beyond simple decoration.

Despite this, any who walk through the arch will find themselves magically transported to a different, though obviously similar, room. This room apparently has no doors whatsoever, and the archway is in a recess 3 steps below the rest of the floor, rather than on a platform above it. This room is also in much better repair, with bright red walls, and evenly spaced spots of purple. Observant players may also notice that while the carvings on the archway are very similar in this room, there is a notable difference. On this version of the arch, the demons are winning by a significant margin, and have pushed the humans far down the side of the arch.

PocketDimensionChest_BFor ease of reference, I will refer to the room the players enter initially as Room A, and the room they travel to through the arch as Room B.

Moving back and forth between the two versions of the room has no ill effect. However, it is not possible to simply stick one’s head or arm through the portal. Once any part of a person or object moves under the arch, it is quickly drawn to the other side by an irresistible force.

If the arch is examined carefully, players may notice two subtly placed slits in the carving. One on each “side” of the arch. In Room A, the slit is on the leading demon, while in Room B, the slit is on the leading human. These small spaces are perfectly sized for the blade of a dagger or sword. When a blade, or similar pieces of metal, is placed in the demon slot, the secret door slides open. If the same is done with the human slot, the large iron door slides down into the floor. Note that if these weapons are removed, the doors will close again.

Within each of the hidden areas is a large, closed chest. If opened, the chest in Room A contains 500gp worth of golden vegetables. Lettuce, potatoes, carrots, and rutabagas. If they are pieces of artwork, then they are highly detailed and extremely true to life. They even have golden dirt on them. The chest in Room B is, apparently, empty. In truth, however, the two chests are magically linked.

Whenever something is placed within the chest in Room B, and both chests are closed, those objects will immediately be transported to the chest in Room A. As part of this transportation, the item in the chest will undergo a magical transformation. The nature of that transformation is random, and can be rolled on the chart below. (Roll 1d12. If the players use the chest more than 5 times a day, switch to rolling 1d6). Once a transformation has been performed, it is permanent.

1. Transforms into a deadly poison gas which will be released when the chest is opened.  (3d6 con, using my Simple, Deadly Poisons rules).

2. Crumbles into dust.

3. Is given a horrifying, unholy life. Potatoes will be little screaming balls of flesh, rapiers will be starving creatures wailing for food. A living creature would suffer some dreadful transformation, such as gaining a second head which is not alive, or something of that sort.

4. Transforms into a lovely perfume, which will be released when the chest is opened.

5. Transforms into a basic weapon or piece of armor (sword, mace, staff, shield, helm). It has no special properties, but will take on the appearances of whatever it originally was. A copper coin might become a copper shield with the face of someone important on it. A spear of asparagus might become a literal spear of asparagus.

6. Shrinks to 25% of its original size, and becomes silver. The transformation is crude, and could not be passed off for fine craftsmanship.

7. Transforms into a very fine painting of whatever it was, set amongst appropriate surroundings. (A pitchfork would be depicted leaning against a barn, or held angrily in the hands of an angry mob). Likely of good value as an art piece.

8. Transformed into a quiver of arrows. If these arrows strike a creature, and that creature fails their save, then they will turn into a pile of whatever the original object was. If a spider is placed in the chest, then whoever is struck by the arrows will become a pile of spiders. Note that the weight of the victim determines how big a pile they will be transformed into. So a dwarf will turn into a dwarf-sized pile of spiders, while a titan will turn into a titan-sized pile of spiders. (If a coin receives this result, titan hunting could become a very profitable venture).

9. Whatever is placed in the chest becomes a creature of roughly dog-size, with a dog’s intelligence, and a dog’s loyalty for whomever owned the object placed in the chest. This works even if the object placed in the chest was inanimate. A dagger will become a dog-sized dagger with strange metal legs and eyes.

10. The item(s) double in number. If a cat is placed in the chest, two identical cats will appear. If ten cats are placed in the chest, twenty cats will appear. Note that if the chest in Room B is more than halfway full, then the doubled amount will take up more space than the chest in Room A has. In this event, the doubled items will not be damaged or harmed in any way. However, the moment the lid of the chest is cracked open, it will fling open, and the newly doubled items will fly out as though the chest were under pressure.

11. The only thing in the chest is a small circular medallion with a perfectly realistic painting of whatever was placed inside the chest within it. Whenever this medallion is held firmly in the hand, the wielder will be able to detect the presence and direction of such an item within 100ft. If a book is used, then the wielder will be able to detect all nearby books. This detection ability does allow the wielder to differentiate between distinct objects. So if they are holding a book in one hand and the medallion in the other, they will still be able to detect a different book 60ft away on the other side of a wall.

12. Turned to gold. Retains its shape perfectly, but will likely not retain any of its original function. A golden sword will break easily, a golden crossbow simply will not work, and a golden squirrel will be dead.

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One thought on “Deadly Dungeons 11: The Midas Chest”

  1. This is nifty, definitely getting some play. Though I probably will make the slits in the arch a little more obvious. Cheers!

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