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Strolen.com and RoleplayingTips.com
Present

5 Room Dungeons

Thanks to the following sponsors who supplied prizes for the 5 Room Dungeon contest held
September 2007:

Thank you for downloading the 5 Room Dungeons PDF, which contains short adventure seeds you
can drop into your campaigns or flesh out into larger adventures. All dungeons in this PDF are sub-
missions from the 5 Room Dungeon contest co-hosted by Roleplayingtips.com and Strolen’s Citadel.
Dungeon entries had to follow the 5 Room Dungeon template, which is provided at the end of this file
(it’s a great recipe for crafting your own quick dungeons too). Thanks to everyone who entered the
contest. Your great entries are now inspiring and helping game masters around the world. Thanks
also to the volunteers at Strolen’s Citadel for their hours of editing.

You can download this file, and each separate volume in the series, at www.strolen.com or
www.roleplayingtips.com.

Special thanks to manfred/Peter Sidor for editing.

Cheers,
Johnn Four and Strolen

Errors, omissions, or feedback? Please e-mail [email protected]

All Volumes
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Table of Contents
The Pool of Unmaking by John McCullogh...............................................................................................................................4
A Visit to the Witch's Cottage by Gillian Wiseman...................................................................................................................5
Isles of Ice by Mothshade.............................................................................................................................................................6
The Tomb of the Dragon Queen by Joseph Rapoport...............................................................................................................7
The Living Vault by Mothshade..................................................................................................................................................9
The Sunken Vault by Nathan º..................................................................................................................................................11
Warts and All by Paul Darcy.....................................................................................................................................................13
Temple of the Volcano God by DJ Mindermast.......................................................................................................................15
The Necromancer's Cave by Morpha.......................................................................................................................................17
Merchant’s Crypt by Aki Halme..............................................................................................................................................19
The Temple Defiled by Tyler Turner........................................................................................................................................21
The Haunting by Matthew Darcy (with a little help from Dad - Paul Darcy)...........................................................................22
The Quest for the Rod of Spellius by Davide Quatrini............................................................................................................24
The Plague Devil by Nik Palmer...............................................................................................................................................25
Villainous Cellar Pub by Aki Halme........................................................................................................................................26
Ye Classic Wizard's House by Gillian Wiseman......................................................................................................................28
The Sanctuary of Sumuho by Dozus........................................................................................................................................30
Crossbones Island by Chaosmark.............................................................................................................................................34
Swamp Music by Nik Palmer....................................................................................................................................................36
The Windspire by Nathan Meyer..............................................................................................................................................37
The Message by Morgan Joeck..................................................................................................................................................39
Spawn of the God-Egg by Wulfhere and EchoMirage..............................................................................................................40
Foray into the Forest of the Frog King by Thewizard63........................................................................................................46
Troll Brothers Cove by Nik Palmer..........................................................................................................................................49
Black Fire Ruins by Will Cartier...............................................................................................................................................50
Shadow Vault by William K. Wood..........................................................................................................................................51
Diamonds and the Deluge by valadaar.....................................................................................................................................52
Bedizen's Traveling Dungeon by Scrasamax...........................................................................................................................55
Thieves' Guild by Aki Halme....................................................................................................................................................58
'Ringed' by fadeaway1978.........................................................................................................................................................59
Tomb of a Cleric by Uri Lifshitz...............................................................................................................................................61
Of Pines and Roses by valadaar................................................................................................................................................62
The Tomb of Agellar by Dragonlordmax..................................................................................................................................64
Deserted Island by Nik Palmer..................................................................................................................................................67
Henge of Ascension by Nik Palmer...........................................................................................................................................67
Taking Sides by Uri Lifshitz......................................................................................................................................................68
To Sell a Gem by David Hickman.............................................................................................................................................69
Place of the Embalmers by Wulfhere.......................................................................................................................................72
The Nobleman's Daughter by Dragon Lord.............................................................................................................................76
The Great Gate by Davide Quatrini..........................................................................................................................................79
Heart of the Dwarves by Paul Darcy........................................................................................................................................80
Skanda Biologicals by Siren no Orakio.....................................................................................................................................82
The Spirit Never Dies by Ria Hawk..........................................................................................................................................85
Saving Plaque by Strolen...........................................................................................................................................................87

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Barrow of the Bored Berserker
By DeeCee

This 5-room dungeon involves the player characters stumbling upon a barrow, or hill-crypt. Long ago a power-
ful berserker warrior was laid to rest there, and the world moved on. The grasslands the berserker had known
well were transformed slowly over the centuries, and the hill overtaken with new foliage. His people moved on,
and the barrow was forgotten, until now.

The PCs find the barrow accidentally, as it is in fact the lair of a local legendary maneater bear. Either they
come upon it unknowingly, or they are on the track of the beast in order to slay it and make the local area a bit
safer.

Room One: Entrance and Guardian

Its lair is a raw gash in the side of an otherwise verdant hill. It dug into the hill because it smelled a charnel
feast, and has been busy digging around for weeks.
The lair itself is a plain dirt sphere, like a bear's den only a magnitude larger. All of the walls are of packed
earth, scarred with haphazard claw marks. The roof is mainly earth, but the bear was able to claw upward
enough to hit the bottom of the "dungeon", which is comprised mostly of worked flagstone. Enough earthy ma-
terial has been removed to show worked stones - the floor of the chamber above.
The challenge of this room lies not just in somehow defeating the terrible maneater (which is naturally famished
from working, and will see the PCs as a treat), but also in determining that the dungeon lies above, and finding
a way to break through the floor to ascend into it.

Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge

What would have been the true entrance of the barrow was in fact sealed off when the interment ceremony was
complete. It is now small, plain chamber with flagstone floors and crude mortared stone and brick walls. Only
one "door" in the room leads back to the other chambers, and it takes the form of a circular hole in the masonry
wall, covered by a sturdy shield. It will take either strength or wits to move the shield, as it was fastened
securely and not meant to ever be moved once the lord was laid to rest on the other side.

The only other objects in the room are huge fired clay jars full of powder. The contents have been disintegrating
over the years, and if opened or broken, they will have an effect on the trespassers. There are three 4' high jars.
The first contains what was a simple ointment for battle wounds, but which has degraded into a foul-smelling
lump of grease that will nauseate anyone breathing the fumes. The second jar was, and still is, clean water. It
had been sealed well against the ravages of time. The final jar was a powdered drug that has also remained
effective, and its effect is to induce a berserk state in those prone to such things.

Room Three: Trick or Setback

This is a mid-sized room of worked stone, with an open doorway covered by a cloth divider, on the far wall.
The room itself has a sunken floor, with a stone pillar erected in the middle. The floor is covered with dozens or
hundreds of sets of humanoid and animal bones, but only a few of these stick out above the surface of an inky
liquid pool.

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The pool is just that – ink. The skeletons are many trophies from the lord's career, considered to be worthy to
keep but not as important as what lies on the pillar. Therefore, the floor was filled up somewhat with a
substance that at one time looked like fresh liquid blood. Unfortunately, that illusion has been ruined by the
passage of time, and the "blood" has now turned to a dark almost black ink which only appears red if thinned
out accordingly.

The pillar is a trophy showcase of sorts. It rises from the other trophies to a height of perhaps five feet, and
holds only on item: the bleached skull of a humanoid, obviously far larger than a normal man. While it does not
appear monstrous, it is at least twice the size of a human skull.

The challenge of this room is that PCs will probably assume that the ink is some terrible trap, or houses some
beastie. Not to mention the strange allure of a possibly trapped trophy skull. In fact, nothing in this room is in
any way harmful.

Room Four: Climax, Big Battle, or Conflict

This was once the burial site of the berserker lord. His body is propped upon a simple nomad-style chair, his
weapons lovingly placed in his hands for all eternity.

Disturbing this chamber results in the spirit of the lord coming back to inhabit his body, to see what is
happening. He's been living the good death in whatever afterlife awaits a berserker, but is curious as to what's
happening in his crypt.

At first he'll address the PCs and ask them their business in his crypt, in as jovial a manner as possible. Eventu-
ally excitement will get the better of him though, and he'll want to do battle again for old times' sake. He'll rise
to his bony feet, weapons ready, and demand that the PCs do battle for some reason or other. If they are reluc-
tant, he'll call it a test to see if they're worthy to take his treasure. If they offer to leave without any further harm,
he'll call them cowardly dogs. Either way, he intends to get some battling done before he returns to the afterlife.
The battle itself should hit upon a few things:

1) He's a berserker lord, from a historic warrior culture. He glories in battle, and seeks to prolong it as long as
possible.

2) He moves about. A lot. He'll go from target to target, showing his prowess and keeping the battle moving
through this and the previous room.

3) If battle extends into the trophy room, the bone-covered floor mixed with the slick concentrated ink makes
for unsteady footing.

4) Being a corpse animated by his berserk spirit, he will not tire. In the stuffy crypt though, the PCs will slowly
become more sweaty and exhausted. Oxygen is also likely going to become a factor.

Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist

The lord is not such a bad sort, but he IS a berserker, and he does revel in battle. He can be defeated though.
When he is close to being downed, the characters should notice the phantom images of women slowly starting

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Another potential payoff for Room Three is to weaken the PCs as build-up to a dramatic struggle in Room Four.
It might contain a tough combat encounter, take down a key defense, exhaust an important resource, or make
the party susceptible to a certain type of attack.
For example, if Room Four contains a mummy whose secret weakness is fire, then make Room Three a troll lair
(or another creature susceptible to fire) so the PCs might be tempted to burn off a lot of their fire magic, oil, and
other flammable resources. This would turn a plain old troll battle into a gotcha once the PCs hit Room Four
and realize the are out of fire resources.
Don't forget to dress Room Three up with your theme elements.

Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict
This room is The Big Show. It's the final combat or conflict encounter of the dungeon. Use all the tactics you
can summon to make this encounter memorable and entertaining.

As always, generate interesting terrain that will impact the battle.
Start or end with roleplay. Maybe the bad guy needs to stall for time to let PC buffs wear out, to wait for

help to arrive, or to stir himself into a rage. Perhaps the combat ends with the bad guy bleeding to death
and a few short words can be exchanged, or there are helpless minions or prisoners to roleplay with once
the threat is dealt with.

Give the bad guy unexpected powers, abilities, or equipment.
Previous rooms might contain warning signals or an alarm, so the bad guy has had time to prepare.
The bay guys tries to settle things in an unusual way, such as through a wager or a duel.
The lair is trapped. The bad guy knows what or where to avoid, or has the ability to set off the traps at

opportune moments.
The bad guy reveals The Big Reward and threatens to break it or put it out of the PCs' so reach so they'll

never collect it.
The bad guy has a secret weakness that the PCs figure out how to exploit.
A variety of PC skills and talents are required to successfully complete the encounter.

Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist
Here's your opportunity to change the players' bragging to "we came, we saw, we slipped on a banana peel."
Room Five doesn't always represent a complication or point of failure for the PCs, but it can. Room Five doesn't
always need to be a physical location either - it can be a twist revealed in Room Four.
Room Five is where your creativity can shine and is often what will make the dungeon different and memorable
from the other crawls in your campaigns.
In addition, if you haven't supplied the reward yet for conquering the dungeon, here is a good place to put the
object of the quest, chests of loot, or the valuable information the PCs need to save the kingdom.
As accounting tasks take over from recent, thrilling, combat tasks, this would also be a good time to make a
campaign or world revelation, or a plot twist. Perhaps the location of the next 5 Room Dungeon is uncovered,
along with sufficient motivation to accept the quest. Maybe the true identity of the bad guy is revealed. New
clues and information pertaining to a major plot arc might be embedded in the treasure, perhaps sewn into a
valuable carpet, drawn in painting, or written on a slip of paper stuffed into a scroll tube or encoded on a data
chip.

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Room Five ideas:
Another guardian awaits in the treasure container.
A trap that resurrects or renews the challenge from Room Four.
Bonus treasure is discovered that leads to another adventure, such as a piece of a magic item or a map

fragment.
A rival enters and tries to steal the reward while the PCs are weakened after the big challenge of Room

Four.
The object of the quest/final reward isn't what it seems or has a complication. i.e. The kidnapped king

doesn't want to return.
The quest was a trick. By killing the dungeon's bad guy the PCs have actually helped the campaign vil-

lain or a rival. Perhaps the bad guy was actually a good guy under a curse, transformed, or placed into
difficult circumstances.

The bad guy turns out to be a PC's father.
The true, gruesome meaning behind a national holiday is discovered.
The source of an alien race's hostility towards others is uncovered, transforming them from villains to

sympathetic characters in the story.
The true meaning of the prophecy or poem that lead the PCs to the dungeon is finally understood, and

it's not what the PCs thought.

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