Dungeon map sketched out on grid paper

GM Notes: Dungeon of the Mad Molvei

Preamble

A battle rages for control of the walled city of Berlstrum. The hoard of necromancers, raiders, and undead intend to take over the strategically located town and create a permanent base on the material plane for Orcus, the Demon Prince of Undead. Fighting around Berlstrum has reached a fevered pitch. All of those with combat experience have gone to Berlstrum to provide aid.

Gorshank’s tale

With information provided from Gorshank’s recent experience and research done by two town scholars (Olmaree and Penster), it is possible we could turn the tide in this fight. 

Gorshank is a weak, withered old human barely able to sit up in bed. Gorshank tells of hunting near the coast when he spotted a small band (6) of the infamous Terken raiders. With the raiders was a tightly bound and gage captive hog-tied to a carrying pole. Thinking that he could finally prove himself a hero by rescuing the captive, he followed the raiders. When they made camp, he hid and eavesdropped, waiting to make his move. 

While eavesdropping he heard the leader of the group, a dwarf identified as Kednar, talking with a magic-y type in dark robes about the assault on Berlstrum. The other raiders complained of being away from the fighting. Kednar pointed at the captive and said that they had the last “low fruit on the Aheneus family tree” that they needed to secure Orcus’ passageway. And something about “those dragon bastards screwing anything.” Once they had it hidden away in the prison, Kednar promised that they could all join in on the mayhem and bloodletting in Berlstrum. 

Though he watched all night, Gorshank was not able to sneak in and free the captive. The next day he continued to follow the raiders, careful not to be spotted. Eventually they came to a cliff-side town long gone to ruins (the Ruins of Amara). The one in dark robes did some chanting while the small band went through the town. As Gorshank followed, he would occasionally spot something out of the corner of his eye, but it was gone before he could figure out what it was. The raiders descended a narrow path to a sandy cove. As he watched from above, he saw them part a curtain of vines and disappear inside. Two of the raiders stayed and guarded the secret entrance. 

He waited and watched for a while, but fatigue caught up with him and he started to dose off. He awoke to a feeling of bone numbing cold. Surrounding him were 3 transparent beings … ghosts … they looked angry and confused. In unison, they pointed at him and then at the cove below. He was terrified. He screamed.  This alerted the guards below, who started rushing up the long path to the clifftop. Deciding he was no hero, he ran. The ghosts followed, pulling at him, touching him, and draining his energy. Beyond that, he doesn’t remember much. Just running and running until he stumbled into this tavern. 

New intel

From Gorshank’s tale, Olmaree and Penster, two town cleric scholars, have been able to piece together several important details:

  1. Gorshank was in the haunted Ruins of Amara. Long ago, the town and 100s of folk were caught in the middle of a battle between 2 dragons.  A Protection from Evil and Good: Undead (1st level-10 minutes – CON) spell would keep the ghosts at bay. You must be very fast and/or very stealthy to get through the ruins to the cove below. 
    • Circlet of Protection – cast Protection from Evil and Good (PHB 270) – 3x per day; renews at dawn; last 10 minutes; concentration 
  2. Somewhere beneath the Ruins of Amara is the Dungeon of the Mad Molvei. The hidden entrance most likely leads into that dungeon, rumored to be filled with many lethal traps and inhuman guardians.
  3. According to one prophesy they found, a key ingredient to casting a permanent portal to the Abyssal plane are the souls of three decedents from the ancient bronze dragon lineage known as the Royal Court of Aheneus 
  4. They believe that the enemy has captured 3 such decedents and they are being imprisoned far from the fighting in the Dungeon of the Mad Molvei.  (a human, a dragonborn, and a dwarf)
  5. If the Aheneus decedents could be freed, it would put a huge kink in the Orcus’ followers plans and possibly stop the attack on Berlstrum. Give these amulets to the captives to keep them safe once freed:
    • Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location – Requires Attunement – While wearing this Amulet, you are hidden from Divination magic. You can’t be targeted by such magic or perceived through magical Scrying sensors. (DMG 150)

from Olmaree and Penster – Items collected by the town to aid in the quest

  1. 3 Amulets of Proof Against Detection and Location – Requires Attunement – While wearing this Amulet, you are hidden from Divination magic. You can’t be targeted by such magic or perceived through magical Scrying sensors. (DMG 150)
  2. 6 Potions of Healing (DMG 188) – 2d4+2
  3. 2 Potion of Water Breathing (DMG 188) – You can breathe Underwater for 1 hour after drinking this potion. Its cloudy green fluid smells of the sea and has a jellyfish-like bubble floating in it.
  4. 1 Potion of Speed (DMG 188) – When you drink this potion, you gain the effect of the haste spell for 1 minute (no Concentration required). The potion’s yellow fluid is streaked with black and swirls on its own.
  5. 1 Circlet of Protection – cast Protection from Evil and Good (spell PHB 270) – 3x per day; renews at dawn; last 10 minutes; concentration 
  6. 1 Boots of Striding and Leaping – Requires Attunement – While you wear these boots, your walking speed becomes 30 feet, unless your walking speed is higher, and your speed isn’t reduced if you are encumbered or wearing Heavy Armor. In addition, you can jump three times the normal distance, though you can’t jump farther than your remaining Movement would allow.
  7. 1 Flame Tongue Sword – Requires Attunement – You can use a Bonus Action to speak this magic sword’s Command Word, causing flames to erupt from the blade. These flames shed bright light in a 40-foot radius and dim light for an additional 40 feet. While the sword is ablaze, it deals an extra 2d6 fire damage to any target it hits. The flames last until you use a Bonus Action to speak the Command Word again or until you drop or sheathe the sword.
  8. 1 Chime of Opening – This hollow metal tube measures about 1 foot long and weighs 1 pound. You can strike it as an action, pointing it at an object within 120 feet of you that can be opened, such as a door, lid, or lock. The chime issues a clear tone, and one lock or latch on the object opens unless the sound can’t reach the object. If no locks or latches remain, the object itself opens. — 3 charges remaining.  After the 3rd time it cracks and becomes useless.

Ruins of Amara

1) entrance 

Ruins of Amara

Having navigated your way through the Ruins of Amira, you spot 300 feet below the cove you’ve been looking for. You follow a narrow, winding path down the cliff face to the cove below. The gusts of wind from the ocean are cold and wet; slick vines cover much of the cliff, offering questionable aid in navigating the path without falling down – DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Strength (Athletics) 

At the bottom, you have to squeeze between a couple of large boulders before emerging onto a soft, sandy beach. Lush green vines cascade down the cliff face, rippling in the blustery breeze. This cove continues in either direction for about a quarter mile (1300 ft) before ending. The crashing surf and the wet, packed sand are about 200 feet in front of you. The rest of the beach is dry sand (difficult terrain for movement purposes). Only footprints from flying sea-rats mar the sand. Driftwood, a few random boulders, seaweed, and the like litter the isolated stretch of beach. In some spots, the driftwood has piled up against the cliff wall.

The lush vines hanging down the cliff wall obscure a cave entrance. You part the curtain of vines and find a 3-foot wide (10-feet high) entrance. The cave widens to 30 feet across (50 feet deep). The soft sandy ground continues inside of the cave. The heavy curtain of vines blocks most of the light in here (low-light).

entrance and waterfall areas
Entrance (1) & Waterfall Cavern (2)

DC Wisdom (Perception) – Searching the back of the cave, you find a large hole (3×6) with complete darkness beyond. Even Darkvision fails to aid your sight. (Per Darkness spell PHB 230). Waving your hand inside the hole meets with empty space. You can hear the roar of a waterfall farther inside. 

This is a passageway that is covered by a Darkness spell (noted by the Xs on the map)

A Daylight spell can dissipate this area of darkness. The Darkness spell will return as soon as the Daylight spell is out of range.

The darkness continues (if not dispelled) for 60 feet; the sound of the waterfall gets louder and now you can also identify the sound of small waves washing over sand. 


2) Waterfall cavern

The darkness ends at the edge of surf gently licking over the sandy ground. The right wall and ceiling are covered in patches of strange, pinkish luminescence (upon investigation, a luminescent algae) providing spotty, dim light throughout the large, water-filled cavern. The ceiling soars beyond your vision. (~200’ high) The sound of waterfall echoing in the space makes hearing difficult. 

50 feet from the water’s edge, a small island rises out of the water covered in the same luminescent algae as the walls. A waterfall spanning most of the left side pours out from high above (~100 feet). The water spreads north and south to both beaches. Bubbles (whirlpool) to the right of the island suggest that the water exists there.  

The bottom of the pond starts with a gradual decline before abruptly dropping to 60 feet. 

Straining to see what lays beyond the island, you think there is a beach on the north end of this cavern, about 110 feet away.

Swimming in the water are 1d4 Swarms of Quippers (MM 338).

On the island

The island is a gentle mound rising 5 feet above waterline (20 ft. across). The ground here is spongy, but firm. On the island is a tidy pile of clean armor and an organized pile of random weapons. None are magical. Examples:

  • Ring mail with no rust nor broken links
  • Studded leather with no stains or tears. All the studs polished.
  • Splint mail looks good as new, as if it has never been worn
  • Warhammer with the handle oiled and smooth, the head clear of any dents or nicks
  • Spear with smooth, unblemished handle and razor-sharp tip

The quippers clean the fleshy bits from any intruders they catch. The drones collect any weapons and armor from the waters to keep the drain system from becoming clogged. They clean and repair these items, before placing them on the island for future users. Anything magical would be brought to the storage area for the master to inspect.


3) Post-waterfall cavern

post waterfall area
Post Waterfall Room Area (3)

On the other side of the water the soft sand continues. The walls of the cavern narrow to a 3-feet (12-feet high for 25 feet) before widening (10 by 15 space). Here the cave splits, continuing forward or to the left. 

Forward: The tunnel narrows again to 3 feet before turning widening to on open space (20×40 space). There is a passage in the lower left corner. A short ways further along, the wall to the right has a 10 foot gap of pitch blackness (an area of magical darkness, marked by X) or the tunnel continues 40 feet before ending in a cul-du-sac.

Down-Left: Curves to the right for a bit (40 feet) before narrowing (2 feet width for 20 feet}. Large people and people in heavy armor will have a difficult time squeezing through – DC 12 Dexterity (Acrobatics). Backpacks and weapons have to be removed in order to pass through. After 20 feet of squeezing, you come upon a wall of total darkness. (Blocked by a wall of Darkness).

Transitions to hard stone: The two paths join at the area of Darkness. Here the ground changes from soft sandy beach to stone tiles covered in a gritty layer of sand. Your feet grinding sand against stone becomes all you hear as the sound of the waterfall fades. No algae grows on these walls. So even if dispel magic and Darkvision are used, it’s still hard to see details.

A Daylight spell can dissipate this area of darkness. The Darkness spell returns as soon as the Daylight spell is out of range.

Approximately 15-20 feet into the area of darkness (if not dispelled), a stone is stepped on. You hear a soft CLICK seeming to echo down the tunnel in front of you, followed by a strange whirring sound. (The clicking sound was the trapped doors unlocking. Multiple stones dotted throughout the darkness area are trigger steps.)

The area of Darkness ends. You have entered into a space roughly 60 by 40. Each step you take echoes on the cobbled stones. 


4) Pits of despair

Pits of Despair (4)

In the southwest corner, the tunnel winds forward. The luminescent algae carpets the damp stone walls. 

First Pit Trap (A)

Ten feet into the tunnel is a hidden trap door,. The vigilant and paranoid may spot the seams of the trap door (Perception 12), 8 feet to the other side and wall-to-wall (20 feet wide) with no ledge. The clicking earlier was the locks on the traps disengaging. 

  • Perception 12 – Looking for traps – The vigilant and paranoid may spot the seams of the trap door
  • Perception 12 – Looking for switches – On the far side, you spot a bit of dried-out browned algae about 3 feet off the ground. Inspecting the brown spot reveals a rock that pushes inward, which locks the trap door back in place.
  • If the trap is inspected, it is all gears, pulleys and other mechanical workings. Nothing magical. The trap doors meet in the center, with the hinges at the front edge and back edge. A weight of more than 20lbs opens the doors.
  • Long Jump DC 8 or wall climb Athletics (climbing) DC 12.

“Long Jump: Move at least 10 feet and jump number of feet equal to your strength score. When you make a standing jump, you can only jump half the distance.”

  1. If trap not spotted: The drop is 30 feet = 3d6 falling dmg
    on a DEX DC 10-15 save half + poison spike 1d6 piercing + poisoned
    on a DEX DC 15-20 grab edge of the far edge with an Athletics (STR) DC 10 to pull oneself up, aid from another provides advantage.

A short way up the path you see a small alcove to your left and right. In front of you the tunnel narrows (to 3 feet wide). 

*Second Pit Trap: A little harder (B)

*optional, can skip this trap to speed things along if wanted/needed

  • Immediately after the junction with the two alcoves is the next pit trap, The wary, on alert spot the seams of the next trap door (Perception 10)
  • Spans wall-to-wall (15ft) and is 12 feet to the other side. 
  • Long Jump DC 12 or wall climb Athletics (climbing) DC 14.

If trap not spotted: The drop is 30 feet = 3d6 falling dmg
on a DEX DC 10-15 save half + poison spike 1d6 piercing + poisoned
on a DEX DC 15-20 grab edge of the far edge with a Athletics (STR) DC 10 to pull oneself up, aid from another provides advantage.

Rest of the details are the same as A) 

Past the second pit trap the tunnel widens (to 7 feet for 30 feet) before narrowing to a tight 2 feet width for about 5 feet. Then you have a choice:

RIGHT PATH

To the right the tunnels appear to stay around 4 to 5 feet wide for about 30 feet before opening up. 

  1. In front of you is an 30×20 space 
  2. To the right is another short (30ft) corridor that leads into a small cubby (10×10)
  3. Making a 270֯ left turn, the opening leads into another small banana-shaped space. On your left is a 10×20 cubby and on the right the path continues into a slight bend. 

Third Pit Trap: Double Trouble (C)

Immediately after the bend is the next pit trap, 8 feet across and wall-to-wall with no ledge (same as the first pit trap)

Perception 10– Looking for traps – On alert spot the seams of the next trap door
Perception 16 – Looking for traps – Spot the seams of a second set of traps doors immediately after the this one
Perception 15 – looking for switches – On the far side of the second trap door, you spot a rock that pushes inward, which locks the both trap door back into place. 

First One

  1. Spans wall-to-wall (10ft) and is 10 feet to the other side. 
  2. Long Jump DC 10; followed by an Acrobatics (DC 12) check to not fall into the trap door immediately after this one). There is a 1-foot space between the two traps doors.
  3. If 1st trap not spotted: The drop is 30 feet, 3d6 falling dmg
    – DEX DC 10-15 save half + poison spike 1d6 piercing + poisoned
    – on a DEX DC 15-20 grab edge of the far edge with an Athletics (STR) DC 10 to pull oneself up, aid from another provides advantage.

To jump over both trap doors would be a DC 26

Second one 

  1. Spans wall-to-wall (10ft) and is 15 feet to the other side. 
  2. Standing Long Jump DC 15; or wall climb Athletics (climbing) DC 16.

“Long Jump: Move at least 10 feet and jump number of feet equal to your strength score. When you make a standing jump, you can only jump half the distance.”

  1. If 2nd trap not spotted: The drop is 30 feet, 3d6 falling dmg
    – DEX DC 10-15 save half + poison spike 1d6 piercing + poisoned
    – DEX DC 15-20 grabbed the far edge
    – on a DEX DC 15-20 grab edge of the far edge with a Athletics (STR) DC 10 to pull oneself up, aid from another provides advantage.

The tunnel makes an immediate left after the double traps and goes a short distance (25ft) before coming to a T. The other narrow tunnel emerges into the same area. In front (or to the right) of you is a wall of darkness (approx. 35-40 feet across). Cautiously testing the space beyond the darkness, you feel no floor. 


LEFT PATH – The Squeeze

The left tunnel squeezes down to a foot or less in width. It twists and turns, so it’s hard to gauge how far down the tight space will last.

The tight corridor is tall (60 feet up) and 50 feet long. 

  • Large rocks litter the floor throughout the tunnel. 
  • About half way down, you spot the remains of giant rat. Their head is buried in loose stones with a dark stain spreading out from the pile. 
  • Acrobatics (DC 15 x?) to ensure that you don’t get stuck. Heavy armor would need to be removed and nothing can be carried on the back. 
  • Automatons wait on a ledge 50 feet up. They are motion activated and will start dropping boulders on any creature moving in the space.

Bulldrones
AC 16, HP10
Boulder toss: +3 to hit; range 80/320; 1d4+1 bludgeoning; DC 12 CON or stunned 1 round
Ramming: +3 to hit; range 5 feet; 1d4 bludgeoning; DC 10 DEX or prone/pushed 5 feet
Based on quadrones {MM  225)


Fourth Pit Trap: Doombringer

This is the biggest and deadliest of the pits. There are no doors over this pit, only the darkness spell. 

  1. Spans wall-to-wall (40ft) and is 25 feet to the other side. 
  2. Long Jump DC 25 or wall climb Athletics (climbing) DC 14 first 15 feet; DC 16 last 10 feet.
  3. The drop is 40 feet = 4d6 falling dmg
    on a DEX DC 10-15 save half + poison spike 2d6 piercing + poisoned
    on a DEX DC 15-20 grab edge of the far edge with a Athletics (STR) DC 10 to pull oneself up, aid from another provides advantage.

The magical darkness ends 10 feet beyond the edge of the pit.


Boulder bowling

The tunnel continues forward with a pocket area (20×50) off to the right. In front of you is the option to go right or left. 

Perception 10 – looking for traps: A large (10’) boulder hangs from the ceiling in the space in front of you. Dark rusty stains mar the smooth stone surface. 

Glancing to the left, you can see a large smooth groove in the stone floor that fades off into the distance. 

Perception 12 – looking for traps – Upon closer inspection of the boulder, it seems to be held in place by a large net. You hear the sound of wind whistling around the edges of the large rock. 

You spot a metal gleam in the crack around the boulder. Did it blink at you?!

The monodrone (MM224) will wait for someone to enter or cross the 10×10 space to make its attack. The attack is to push the release button on the net. There is another boulder in line behind the current one. It takes 2 rounds to “reload”. 

The Sphere of Doomage is a spherical boulder that almost fills the hallway. When the sphere drops, each creature in the hallway must make a DC 15 DEX saving throw (save half). On a failed save, a creature takes 2d10 bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone. On a successful save, a creature takes half as much damage and isn’t knocked prone. Objects that block the sphere, such as a conjured wall, take maximum damage from the impact.

The corridor is 200 feet long with a downward slope. A new boulder drops every 12 seconds (every 2rd rounds).

The bolder speed increases by 10 each round: 40 (1st), 50 (2nd), 60 (3rd), 70 (4th). 

At the end of the hallway is a large hole that the boulder drops into and is teleported back to the queue at the top of the hall. There is a total of 3 boulders.

There is a secret door on the eastern wall about 40 feet above the hole where the boulders drop.

Dead End

Racing past the dropping boulder, you run forward and to the left into a zig-zagging passage. After 60 feet the passageway widens to the right. 

The area on the right quickly narrowing to a point somewhere beyond the thick tangle of webs. Peering out from the web are two large eyes and a row of smaller ones below. The spider seems to be watching you, but not moving.

The passage goes forward another 100 feet before dead ending. On the end wall are reliefs with a different creature carved into 3×3 grid: Dwarf (Dueragar), Elf (Drow), Bullette, Harpy, Kobold, Troglodyte, Bear, Spider, Worm (Purple). Dried blood smears several of the reliefs. 

Umber Hulk
(1d8+5) ChEvil

Giant Spider
(1d8+3) Unaligned

Bullette
(4d12+4) Unaligned

Harpy
(2d4+1) ChEvil

Kobold
(1d4+3) LawEvil

Troglodyte
(1d4+2) ChEvil

Drow
(1d6+2) NtEvil

Xorn
(3d6+3) Nuetral

Purple Worm
(3d8+9) Unaligned

skip the maze
and the flames
secret doors one, two
will get thy through

to open the way,
and survive this day
the relief unique
blood doth it seek

wrong cave dweller chose
their wrath doth arose
striking down the weak
thy only warning, you geek

  1. Looping caverns

Random teleport spots?

Roaming cleaner drone

Locker room

  1. Balancing Over lava (Dexterity)

Retracting walkways/platforms; riddle? Leads to secret door. (Ask nicely)

  1. Room of Intellect

Only prime numbers

Other numbers release poison gas when stepped on. 

  1. Hallway of Fear (Wisdom)

Only prime numbers

Illusion wall at the end

  1. Hallway of Desires (Charisma)

Frozen people (one wearing a necklace of fireballs)

  1. Mummy Guards Chess

A hallway lined with dead, desiccated warriors “shriveled and blackened with age” holding spears and pikes; bite from mummy draws life from the victim and revives the dead warriors. 

Midway down the long room is a door on left that leads into the kitchen

At the end, a locked door and a locked prison gate

  1. Control Closet

Locked; need to convince drone to open and turn off anti-magic field

  1. Kitchen

Drones preparing meal for prisoners

  1. Area of anti-magic

Several larger drones guard this area

Captives held here

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