Location- Atop a distant mountain that seems to vary in height by up to 100 feet day by day.
1-The Constellation King sought to explore the sky, but died of old age and was buried atop his favorite stargazing hill.
2-There used to be giants in the mountains who ruled over the nearby human settlements, but they went into decline over the years and now they're gone. Granpa Henders used to play chess with one before he died.
3-There used to be a gem mine, but it was overrun by rock monsters and now nobody can find the entrance.
4-Strange lights have been seen in the night sky over the mountain, and people go missing those nights.
5-The ruins atop the mountain used to be an observatory built for people far larger than humans.
6-Flutes and drums can sometimes be heard as echoes. Those bold townsfolk who investigated are all missing.
Premise-Dungeon to be vertically traversed and spatially reshuffled to allow bypassing challenges and to provide scary moments where wandering monsters block off retreat to encourage leaping before looking down the nearest pit. I think the most interesting starting arrangement is Alpha Beta Gamma Epsilon Delta because that shows off deep multilayer pits immediately and lets the players build up a grudge towards the astral slavers before finding their ship.
Key Concepts- Each level has 3 rooms that let players change up the dungeon- Rotaters, which rotate the associated layer 90 degrees left or right, Elevators which move the associated layer up or down one position in the stack, and astral shunts which either activate or deactivate the existence of a different dungeon layer. The methodology varies, but the terminology is for easy reference. Holes at the bottom of the stack always lead to Alpha- if Alpha is at the bottom, they are just 10 foot deep pits.
There's some mention of where holes lead in the 'default' or likely configurations but this will quickly become useless as so you'll have to do a lot of peeking at cut-out printouts or stack images with transparency atop each other in a digital environment.
Wandering Encounters- Both common, and important to keep the place dangerous. I'd roll every exploration turn for a 1/6 chance,
every room, every hallway.
1-One Gem Bear (Sapphire, Onyx, or Emerald)
2- 2d20 Acid Slugs (creeping along the ceiling, more of a green slimish trap than an 'encounter')
3- 2d4 Astral Slavers (+2d6 if they've been alerted and are hunting a gembear or the players)
4-Astral Snoutmaw (trace a line to a random pit, that's the length of the snoutmaw)
Unattended items (like ropes to traverse the pits) have a 1/6 chance to be eaten by Acid Slugs, stolen by curious gem-bears, or looted by slavers.
|The first image will show what glimpses of lower levels are visible|
|the second image has transparency in those white spots, allowing lower layers to show through.|
Alpha- Staircase to surface via the arrow. Alpha (or whatever layer is on top) has a smooth, intact ceiling inset with fools gold to resemble the night sky.
A1-SHUNT A circular toom with a dry fountain the size of a christmas tree. Fun for climbing about. It is engraved 'Beta Shunt'
A circular valve at the top of the fountain can be undone, which shunts Beta if unscrewed and recalls beta when closed. Water will generally flow through the dungeon and down the nearest hole, and water offends gem bears.
A2-Flutes and sheet music. Playing it lulls Gem Bears to sleep sometimes. Corner of the room has a hole leading down to B1, or G1 if Beta is shunted.A Space Whalebone ocarina is here- it plays music only in a vacuum thanks to weird pressure valves.
Either way, to cave-burrows of Gem Bears. Grunting snores can be heard below, and a few gemstones in the walls sparkle below.
A3- Basically just a crumbling ledge looking down onto... somewhere to go, depending on what's shunted. But barring rotations, leads to a lower level.
A4-ELEVATOR- Room- Pointy triangular pillars with torches on the pointy bits and a hole in the far side of the room. In the center, there is a triangular quartz prism on a pedestal which needs light from 4 sides to be shown on it. Spinning it on its pointy end and then shining the missing torchlight makes it go down, otherwise it will rest pointing up and that's the direction it will move Alpha.
A5-ROTATER Room- Lever in metal tracks set into the wall allow free rotation of Alpha, but have a 1/6 chance of breaking due to corrosion and acid-pitted crumbling stone. Most weapons with wooden hilts can be used as replacements but always break.
A6- Acid Slugs crawl the ceiling here. They are easily avoided if one looks straight up, but the hasty or unwary or the pushed may fall victim to them.
A7- Hole drops to B5 and continues to G1 assuming default configs. Astral Mancatcher defends narrow ledge past this pit, will use mancatcher to send the unwary plummeting to their doom.
A8- Astral Slaver Treasure. Crystal coffin with in-stasis adventurer nude save for golden rings worth 800 coins and will likely join party for revenge, inventory recovery, or as replacement for dead party members.
A9- Hole to B6 and all the way to Epsilon 5. Room itself has Acid Slugs happily eating abandoned ropes and unidentifiable scrap.
B1- Sapphire Gem Bear Lair. Unless woken by water or something, there will be a sleeping one in each chamber, including the immediately visible one in the square room. If it awakens and roars, 3 more will burst through walls nigh instantly. Sapphire Bears return here with stolen goods/people and there are 3 mancatcher poles, probably the naked adventurer from A8's equipment, and bonus gems worth 2500coins. Encounters here are always bears coming from the rock.
B2-ROTATER Hole all the way down to epsilon 4 has destroyed half the Rotation mechanism. The other half functions but can only turn Beta Clockwise and makes a hideous, random-encounter check inducing screech.
B3-SHUNT. 6x6 Grid of square floor tiles. First tile in the room has a symbol of a Knight from Chess on it. Hopping from tile to tile must obey knight-pattern movement or the trap is triggered, and the tiles click slightly when landed on. Made complicated by Astral Slavers and Acid Slugs lurking on ceiling above choice tiles. Astral slavers always look up before they leap to make sure they don't jump under an Acid Slug.
The Trap- 1 unoccupied tile for every occupied tile flips over, revealing clockwork Pawn that advances 1 tile at a time swinging a club at the 3 squares in front of it. Flips back under after hitting a wall.
The Astral Shunt- A lever on the bottom left of the room. Shunts Gamma, or recovers it. Lever also resets hidden 'knights tour' tickings, allowing it to be solved starting from the lever square.
The Super Secret Treasure- If a player legally hops to every square (or illegally manages it without triggering the trap somehow) the Shunt-tile flips over to reveal a chest with a Wondrous Chesspiece- essentially a summonable 4HD knight. Collect the whole set for a minichess army and do battle against a rival adventurer who assembled the other set. This sort of puzzle is Called a knight's tour.
B4- Huge stone coffin. Monolithic stone coffin that requires giant strength to open, but a Gem Bear could bust through. Small holes down. Coffin reads 'A knight who visits my 36 square acres, once each and once only, is worthy to seek my kingdom'
Giant tomb contains magic arms and armor sized for someone 20 feet tall and a 20 foot long dead king. Jewelry is huge copper crap worth its weight in weight of copper pieces.
B5- small hole to G1. Lesser tomb here are being looted by Astral Slavers. Tombs are for family pets- weird mummified dogs and cats with copper jewelry. Slavers disappointed, will take it out on you.
B6-ELEVATOR Sequence of 3 small circular rooms. First two rooms are linked like scales and will rapidly unbalance and make traversing rooms impossible unless weight is balanced. 5 foot hallway between the 'scale' rooms has a lever on the wall that could be pulled up or down and causes elevator movement, but only operates if scales are balanced. Also hole to E5 in furthest broken chamber.
G1-ELEVATOR Not a circular hallway around an enclosed room, but rather a big room with a contained church looking building.Avatar of Greed guards entrance and treasure hoard and Elevator device within the church, demands payment from every party member for Elevator Access. Can only be seduced, intimidated, or sweet-talked if every single party member contributes to the effort. Has 1HD but immune to damage, spells, etc unless successfully struck or affected by everyone in sight at once, and has Platemail. Strikes with the Claw of Greed, a 15-foot long glaive-pike fashioned from the claws of an ancient dragon that makes attacks against all targets, friend or foe, in range.Astral Slavers venerate the Avatar and it watches over a hoard of 15 mancatcher polearms, 5 suits of chain main, 10 masterwork boots, 5 frilly undergarments, 3 paintings of starscapes, 1500coins, a Potion of Mutation, a Potion of Healing, a Potion of Fire Elemental Form, a Potion of Animate Dead(feed it to a corpse) and a apprentice spellbook with a random spell. And some low-quality adventurers bound and gagged if you need some replacement PCs or more henchmen.
G2- ROTATION Lever is on wall-track that can be pushed around, but is over hole in floor and hard to reach.
G3-SHUNT Broken chess room. Every step spawns killer pawns. There is another wondrous chess piece under the Epsilon Shunt-Lever but force or thievery mechanical fiddling is required to get it.
G4- Small room with a big drum summons a random encounter to investigate the noise, but soothes Gem bears. Drum rattles- there's an Adamant coin inside that can be traded to dwarves(or whoever) for a big favor. They won't tell you what the coin means beyond that and refuse to listen to where you got it.Other Side room drops to Epsilon or even Delta.
G5- A sequence of urns in small catacomb-like chambers, and a fallen-out floor in the middle. Cremated ashes and black bone fragments in urns conceal blackened, twisted jewelry that isn't worth much but has weird enchantments.
Anklets of Upside Down Levitation- Levitates your feet, leaving the rest of you dangling awkwardly. Only goes strictly up and down. Will cut you if you walk in them due to their melted shape and they won't fit over clothes.
Tiara of Illusory Face- a twisted band of black metal that goes on your head and down to your shoulders. Makes your face look like a woman of exotic ethnicity who had a face that fit a giant's body and makes you look like a bobblehead.
Giant Marble Tooth Of Well-Done Meat- Tooth is the size of a thumb. Cooks meat it pierces.
Needle of Recording- Embroidering messages into fabric makes the fabric speak the message when squeezed, then unravel.
G6- Onyx Gembear Lair- As Sapphire Gembear Lair but with black gems.
E1-ROTATION Horseshoe ravine- A drop to lower levels shaped like a horseshoe. Rotation lever track very hard to get leverage and use due to lack of floor and position in the wall at the far end of the loop.
E2-SHUNT- Small Chapel- Has been robbed of everything but a silver candlestick by Astral Slavers with bags of silver loot (3000c worth) Silver candlestick is a lever that shunts Alpha when pulled and unshunts it when lit.
E3-Very small room with a skeleton with a bell over its head. Skull inside is malformed and mutated, bell is a relic of chaos that does nothing but force a save vs mutation each day carried, and a save vs mutation in all who hear it if rung (it has no clapper currently but banging on it with a mace works) Scratching on wall spells out 'they came from the stars. I must change my body to go with them'
E4-Pit down, across pit will be Astral Slavers with ranged weaponry. Will fire if confronted, or whoop and run away hoping to flank PCs and capture them.
E5-ELEVATOR- Another spinning-crystal torch affair complete with pit and missing torch sconce, but the crystal prism is missing. Emerald Gem Bears got it.
E6-Emerald Gem Bear Lair. As other bear lairs but green and has a quartz prism for the E5 elevator.
E7-Collapsed Jail cells. Final one is intact, contains vampire contained in crystal coffin and adorned with finery. Has been conscious throughout entire imprisment and is insane and bloodthirsty but will recover self control if it eats someone. Can provide history of the small human servants such as himself who built this tomb/prison and how his experiments with necromancy caused him to be locked away. Can raise undead and prefers their company to that of the living.
E8- Astral research chamber- contains ancient diaries about duplicating and manipulating space. Useful for wizards looking to bend space. Pages somewhat scattered by bumbling gembears and marred by muddy paw prints.
DELTA- This isn't a dungeon layer, it's the astral slavers astral slaving ship, drifting between the layers of this space and allowing for deep dungeon raid without actually having to walk through dingy halls. The holes are more like escape tubes that the slavers crawl in and out of with their hauls.
"SSS Stelliferous Delta" (SSS stands for slaver star ship)
D1- Reactor Core- A throbbing heart of a star, shining with power. Sealed behind an iron door in a great vault. Destroying/releasing it makes most the Astral Slavers powers useless and breaks the ship. The heart sings, as stars do, and it will reform as a small star if rescued.
D2- Engineering- Tubes and chains run into and around the reactor vault. Breaking a tube will result in some form of fiery death, mutagenic star radiation, or clouds of steam.
D3- Piloting- A telescope looks out at the Astral Void and a ships wheel provides steering. The Captain is probably here. A map of the world is here, with various places of interest and how to align the astral ship with these places.
D4- Slave Stasis- A bunch of captured adventurers and mutants dangle from chains here, held aloft by ring piercings and in crystal coffins for viewing. They can be awoken and are grateful for rescue.
D5-Slave Guard- Astral Slaver set to guard the slaves in stasis. Isn't expecting trouble but has 3HD and two rolls on the slaver equipment chart so is a little tough.
D6- Captains quarters- An exotic pleasure slave manacled to the four poster bed. Astral sea-charts for treasures, good raiding targets, and logs of activity and profit. The captain will be ogling the slave here if he isn't at the wheel or yelling at lackeys.
The Pleasure Slave is a Magenta Shade, and is an incorporeal astral being with no particular form, but it can bend light to create magenta hued illusions and read minds. It gives +1 to all saves if you keep it around and feed it by experiencing nice feelings in its presence(it feeds on particular brain waves). It serves as translator and pornography for the tongueless captain, and totally isn't a fancily reskinned Ioun Stone. When not trying to get biological beings to get attached to it, it appears as a magenta square.
D7- Access tunnels lead to the ships exterior, which is in an astral void but shows the huge feathered wings that flap the ship around. You can also see the kilometer-long astral leviathan that is the source of the Snoutmaws. Cannonballs fired from the ship won't kill it but will piss it off. It looks like a jellyfish, more or less.
D8- Crew quarters. Apart from bedding and clothing, random trash can be looted from foot lockers.
D9- Armory and Storage- Forge and crates of all manner of garbage here, but also everything they've looted from the dungeon.10,000c worth of gems per player sounds about right, but it will take hours to separate it from the other junk.
D10- Gunner Ports- 2 Cannons with chairs, shot, and powder in alcoves. Cannon infused with space rending magic aimed at wall. The cannonballs fired will only exist properly after travelling 30 feet, bypassing the ships own walls.
NOTES ON ENCOUNTERS
A thick-bodied quadruped made of earth and stone. It has a small gleaming gemstone in place of a head, and the way it moves reminds you of a bear, complete with how it rears up.
HD-8 1d6/1d6, if hit by both attacks, save or be hugged. Hugged people get engulfed and buried in the earthern body of the bear. This is less harmful than being beaten to death but the bear will likely be upset if you manage to wiggle free (need to make 3 saves in a row to escape) and won't feed or water captives so escape must be attempted eventually.
They are about half as fast as a person.
Gem bears can burst through up to 5 feet of rock, earth, etc in a single action and surprise people 5/6 times when they do.
They are blind, but can feel the vibrations of people within 30 feet or so. They are covetous of hard things like armor and bones and engulf them to strengthen themselves, then trundle back to their lairs. People's skeletons count, unfortunately, but bears will spend a round engulfing loose objects of shield-size or larger and then will check morale to see if they bumble back to their lair. Gem bears of different colors do not cooperate and may even fight over choice things like suits of plate mail.
Their gems are worth 1d8x1d8x10 coins and they die instantly if the gem is shattered (an attack from a blunt weapon doing 8+ damage can accomplish this if specifically aimed for)
usually solitary when wandering, but sleep in groups of 1d6 in lairs, usually.
Acid Slugs- Looks like a half-melted banana that smells like your nostrils are on fire. They crawl along ceilings and drop onto things that they think are delicious, which is organic substances. Easily spotted if you're looking for them, if players run under them unwittingly assume they all land on people if they get surprise. Can leap 1' per round in sizzling, squelching leaps, but prefer not to.
No. Appearing- 2d20
1HP. Anything that isn't stone saves or is corroded and broken by acid upon touching an acid slug. Each turn a player has a slug(s) on them, they save with -1 per slug or have a random item destroyed (armor loses 1AC each time this happens) and then take 1d6 damage.
Acid slugs may ride Gem Bears around. The Gem Bears don't notice.
Astral Snoutmaw- A long, clear tube of ice-cold flesh leading back to the nearest hole down, where it leads to thin air and vanishes into nothing. Is the mouth of an astral beast that slips through the disjointed dimensional layers of the ruin as it tries to hoover up delicious terrestrial beings.
Upon hitting, it slurps up a random limb (1-arm 2-leg 3-head 4- both arms or legs) and then exerts vacuum pressure to suck people through the length of the tube. It gets +4 to hit once it has latched on, and swallows up more limbs in a gradual fashion if it continues to hit and suck the target through. It is cold enough that it deals 1d4 points of cold damage per round of exposure.
After 3 hits (or 2 lucky ones) targets have all limbs swallowed and will be moved along at 30 feet per round until they reach the breach point, past which they have been sucked into the chilly belly of the astral leviathan and are beyond normal means to rescue. They could use claws, daggers, and other already prepared short slashing weapons to attempt to cut themselves free from the tube before this happens.
Piercing damage reduces the vacuum pressure of the suction tube and causes whistling, honking noises as air is drawn through and reduces suction speed for by 1 foot per point.
Slashing damage can sever the tube entirely with a hit for 8+ damage (though the newly severed 'mouth' of the tube functions just as dangerously as the original) and otherwise acts as piercing damage for interrupting suction. Blunt damage is useless but if you get ahead of someone getting sucked down the tube, you could try squeezing the tube shut to stop their chilly demise.
Astral Snoutmaws will slurp up Acid Slugs and Astral Slavers if led to them, but have no interest in Gem bears, and vice versa.
Astral Slaver- Mutant slavers who sail the astral sea. They are looting/mining the gems of this place/kidnapping locals in preparation to sell them in an alien slave market. You can use Githyanki if you're into that. Or regular foreigners, honestly.
|I should really buy a tablet or something, My pencil drawings are a lot less terrible than the crap i 'draw' with a mouse|
HD 2, AC 13
Astral slavers come in groups of 2d4, and will flee if encountering superior forces... but will return in 2d6 exploration rounds with +2d6 slavers and subsequent slaver encounters will be these enhanced groups.
Roll twice for weapons, and groups will be about 1/2 and 1/2. 6's indicate a particular badass leader dude independent of the usual split armaments of the party.
1- Mancatcher- A polearm with two half circles of inward facing spikes. If struck, the slaver can try to knock you prone, keep you at bay, and otherwise hassle you. Make a strength test or save to avoid this and wriggle free. They have no qualms about catching someone and then pushing them into a pit, dropping the mancatcher and letting gravity do the killing (though if the pit isn't deeper than 10 feet they can keep hold of it and make it real hard to escape said pit). Deals 1d4 damage each round until it's shaken off
2-Acid Slug Grenade- A glass flask with 1d3 acid slugs inside. Fails to break on a 1/6 chance when thrown, otherwise automatically sticks d3 acid slugs to the target.
3- Triple Scimitars- 3 attacks at 1d8 each. Thanks, extra arm!
4-Starlight Pistol- Gunpowder mixed with powdered gems= the blackpowder laser gun. I stole this idea from another blog but can't find the source
5- AC 16, gas mask, chain + Torch + 5 flasks of oil.
6- Roll twice, +1 HD and +1 attack per round. If you keep rolling 6's just add a mutation and +1 HD per 6.
Astral slavers flee from gem bears and return with 2d6 members to help harvest the gem. They just flee from Snoutmaws if possible, and will catch acid slugs in glass jars.
Captain Evileye- Lost the mutation roulette.
4th level Mutant.
One of his eyes is a symbiote slime that will consume his body to survive if he dies. It can replace any eyeball.
Allergic to copper, sensitive skin breaks out in hives, which is why the pirates aren't looting it.
Uses his Magenta Shade to aid communication with his crew, but when he doesn't feel like fetching it, is pretty good with roars and menacing poses. Keeps two loaded starlight pistols and is a skilled duelist- He can parry one melee attack against him each round, provided it is from a weapon-wielding man-sized opponent who isn't using a flail.
Once 30 astral slavers have been defeated and the captain is aware of this, the SSS Stelliferous Delta will sail away, deeming the dungeon too dangerous to continue looting.
The ship, if commandeered, will eventually be attacked by another star vessel of bounty hunters. Unless the players have gotten a bounty on their heads, the bounty hunters will leave them alone but will likely hijack or destroy the Stelliferous Delta if the players do not surrender it.