Room 1- Chamber of the Seals- Sealed iron vault doors lead to various secret dungeons of the Bugaboos, or back to a room in your mainline dungeon, or whatever.
Hallway- Engraved with designs depicting strange multilimbed folk digging ever deeper and occasionally rejoicing at the unearthing of some bizarre artifact or sleeping queen.
Room 2- Leads to a protruding ledge overlooking the massive Room 3. Ladder descends 20 feet to floor of room 3 and room-ledge 7 and its iron portcullis can be seen directly across room 2. The torch-wielding beetle on the high ledge at the north of room 3 can also be seen, but the room is mostly cloaked in darkness due to its size.
Room 3 South- Large gravestones dot the earth floor of this semi-worked cavern. Roots dangle from above. In a corner, the discarded exoskeleton of a molted giant beetle lies. Its massive pincers can be broken off and used as greatswords that shatter on a rolled 1 (to hit OR damage).
Digging beneath the gravestones will unearth nothing but rotted giant beetle mandibles, which can be wielded as short swords -1 that infect those struck by them with gross diseases and shatter once a 1 is rolled for damage or to-hit. Anyone able to read the gravestones will find tidbits like 'Tchak, 360-400, Lineage Tchktchk" the dates being from hundreds of years ago.
Room 3 North- The gravestones are much the same as they were in the south. The ladder leads up to a platform with a torch-wielding beetle, and the base of the ladder is in a large puddle of oil. The beetle will drop the torch if wounded or presented with an opportunity to light someone up. It is a soulless guard and has no ability to speak or climb ladders. Up behind the torch-beetle on its platform, there is a passage east.
Something glints in the northeast corner of this room- Close inspection will find the light is glinting off two glass bottles that contain healing potions.
There is also a tunnel heading east at ground level.
- Guard Beetles- 1HD, 1d4 damage, AC 15
- Their bites rend armor- save or lose 1 AC from armor
- If they survive a hit they fly backwards, but also might fly forwards to knock someone off balance, buzzing wings in anticipation. Not true flight, just short leaps.
- They can make wide, telegraphed slashes to hit 2 people adjacent, one in front and one to one side, but cannot move and do this
- Dead ones can be strapped to ones arm and used as a shield, and their mandibles work as daggers
- No real sapience, unable to climb ladders.
Room 4- A high stone bridge supported by pillars of stone rising from a gently sloshing and deep pool of water crosses to a high exit east. There are also two tunnel exits that head south, one leading to the ground floor of room 3 and one with bloody splotches leading to room 6. The bridge is only wide enough for one person to cross at a time, and swinging bladed pendulums menace those who would cross or climb up from below. The middle pendulum is stained with fresh blood.
The Bridge- Another guard beetle waits at the far end, hoping to charge into any would-be bridge crossers, disrupt their timing, and get them hit by the pendulums (which deal 1d12 damage and knock the unfortunate victim into the water below). A steady stream of guard beetles will march from the room beyond, being spawned by the Imperfect Queen, which complicate the bridge crossing. There will never be more than 3 at one time, but they will track the players by scent and follow them throughout the dungeon once their ire is drawn and the Queen commands them.
The Pool- Something glints in the sloshing water- this is the fiddle of the Hopper Knight in 6. Canny players will note this water should not be sloshing unless there is something making the waves, and that something is a giant 4HD leech (11AC, 13 in water) that will latch on and drain 1d6 STR each round and attempt to swallow juicy targets whole (anyone in a full suit of metal armor is definitely not juicy). Failing 3 STR checks to break the grapple means the leech has swallowed one whole and death by suffocation is inevitable for typical humans without outside rescue. Slaying the leech and searching it thoroughly will find a scabby, blood-red whetstone that can sharpen bladed weapons in a single round to deal +1 damage on their next attack, but wears them out quickly by making the blade too thin (sharpened weapons break on critical misses)
Room 5- Boudoir of the Imperfect Queen
Terrain- 6 pillars and staircases that lead up to a walkway between each other hallway up to their final destination of a high raised area of the room.
People- The Imperfect Queen lies in a sort of 'Draw me like one of your french girls' pose on the walkway, with 3 guard beetles attending her. She can spend 1d6 rounds birthing a new guard beetle, but can't create more than 3 at a time. She is no true queen, but a magically modified giant beetle created to ape the true Ant Queens. Still, she expects absolute deference and obedience from anything that doesn't want to become food for her 'colony.' Anyone slaying the Leech, Hopper Knight, and Big Beetle will be graciously allowed to loot the treasure chest at the far high end of this room, which contains a skeleton wearing a key (to 7) and 2000 coins.
The queen is an immobile noncombatant but can eat 20HP worth of damage before dying. Her death will also cause the remaining beetle guards to die. She is also an insane hybrid monster out to usurp True Ant Queens.
Room 6- Ancient wagons and their forgotten cargo mold here in a wet room. The water has turned red and cloudy due to the dying Hopper Knight here. They came to destroy the Imperfect Queen but fell afoul of the pendulum-guard beetle combo and barely escaped the leech but ran out of strength here.
Looting the wagons will yield 6 sketchy mushrooms that have a random effect when eaten.
1-Healing. Looks like a shelf fungus crossed with a steak and tastes the same.
2-Restore a magic die or level 1 spell slot. Blue and pointy like a wizard hat. Tastes like lightning.
3- Ingester vomits. Vomit glows as torch. They will continue to vomit a little every few minutes for the next hour, leaving a trail of glowing splatters. Small, slimy, and faintly luminous.
4-Mutation- Purple with waving villi. Causes a random mutation.
|The Hopper Knight is basically this...|
|...combined with this|
Room 7- Up a ladder to a ledge, a locked iron portcullis leads to the room of the Big Beetle. The key is in the coffin-chest in 5, though a thief could pick the lock. The portcullis is very heavy and it takes 2 people 2d4 rounds to lift, and it slams shut if not propped open with something capable of withstanding about 400 pounds of portcullis weight.
Room 8- The Big Beetle
The Big Beetle is the size of a wagon and too big to leave the room. It scuttles around atop a grating of iron bars (a child could slip between them), which has a lock and some chains and some hinges- the same key that opens the portcullis can open the grate and dump the beetle down to room 6, allowing unhindered access through the room.
But if the Big Beetle is fought (and it is ravenously hungry) do mention its gnashing pincers are clearly big and sharp enough to pinch a man in half no matter how much plate he may be wearing, and its shell gleams black and glossy, and despite its bulk it moves with skittering speed.
HD 8- But only has a +2 to hit
The Big Beetle has several possible attacks that are well-telegraphed at the start of each round.
Armor Rending Chomp- The beetle's pincers extend wide and it tracks [target] with small adjustments as it readies its attack.
A standard attack against someone in front of it. On a hit or miss, it damages the target's AC by 1- the shield or plate or whatever stopped the attack(or was useless), but was mangled and damaged either way.
Sweeping Blow- The beetle lowers its head and its antennae twitch towards (character to side)
Attacks anyone in melee in front and to that side in a 90 degree arc. Those hit save or are knocked prone due to the unsure footing of the grating below.
Startled Flight- The shell opens and buzzing wings emerge....(Mention immediately upon trigger)
Whenever the beetle takes damage from 2 or more sources in one round or is frightened by a very loud noise or very bright light, it will fly backwards to the edge of the room next round (or fly forwards if its back was to a wall). This is its action for the next round, and is only a menace if someone would be squashed beneath its landing (treat as a regular attack)
Loot- If slain, each mandible of The Big Beetle can be used as greatswords, one having the Sweeping Blow ability and the other having the Armor-Rending ability. To use these abilities, the player must declare their move a round in advance and they cannot change positioning or move and attack, making the attacks easy to avoid by cautious enemies.
Room 9- Elevator Down- Does it go to a nest of the True Ant Queen, who hired the Hopper Knight as a mercenary to hunt down the Imperfect Queen? Or maybe it leads to more forgotten ruins and the True Queen is much further down.
|I'm not sure if clicking on resized pictures gives you the original size so i included both until I can figure that out|
The buried beetle mandibles and the big shed exoskeleton hint that defeating a live beetle might also yield mighty weapons.
The key the Imperfect Queen guards allows bypassing the Big Beetle by dropping it out of its arena instead of facing it in dire battle. It's pretty dangerous for low level characters to just fight in the circular room, but dropping it and then exploiting its Startled Flight could drive it to fight the Leech or get whacked by Pendulums. The terrain is exploitable in general.
Weak Enemies that foreshadow Strong enemies-The Guard Beetles have the same moves as the Big Beetle, just on a smaller scale. Hopefully the players can learn from the 'small versions.'
The Leech is just an extra menace promising/guarding extra loot, and the Hopper Knight is a choice weighing guaranteed loots against spending healing consumables to have a maybe-helpful ally.
Speaking of loot, there's a fair bit of it, but it's easy-come easy-go disposable stuff or items which are cool for reasons beyond 'permanent power boost' I hope.
The Imperfect Queen is an antagonist that the players can destroy or work for for a reward, and demonstrates that just because something can talk, doesn't mean it's a rational, reasonable actor. Also she demonstrates the need for action and prioritizing targets- her summoned beetles will eventually wear down the party via wandering encounters.
Quick Ways to Restock This Very Short Dungeon
Have all slain enemies(and the buried and discarded exoskeleton) rise as undead. Vampire leech, ghost Hopper Rider, zombie beetles big and small, ghost beetles from the graves. Twin necromancers in the Boudoir and the Big Beetle room must be slain simultaneously or will return from death fully rejuvenated 1 round after 'death'
Alternately have funguses from the carts grow out of control. Cordyceps zombies as reanimation for previously slain foes an easy way to reuse slightly altered statblocks, or you could go full mushroom men.
No full restock, but have TWO Big Beetles in room 3 as a double-trouble bossfight in different terrain.
Mad Entomologist Biomancers show up to check on their pet project, the Imperfect Queen, are incensed to see she is dead, have set up laboratory to create vengeful monster
Chivalry-choked Comrades of the Hopper Knight come seeking news, have gotten the wrong idea about what occurred, big misunderstanding