Game Master Ramble 2 – Soooo blue

ancient ruins

Sunday Group, Blue Dragons, and Rope climbing

I run 2 games, the newer group on Saturdays and the other group that’s been going for a while. The longer running group ran through the Champion’s Lost story arch has since moved onto bigger things… like setting a blue dragon loose on the city of Obsidian, though not completely on purpose. They did intend to stop it before it got loose.

Deadly encounter

What amazed me about that group during the last gaming session, is the deadliest part of the encounter with the blue dragon was not the blue dragon (that they named Azure). Nope. It was the 300 foot climb up and down a rope that almost caused a TPK (total party kill). Three of the five party members now have a fear of heights. Twenty 6-sided dice is a lot of damage to roll for a 200 foot fall. I am amazed that the dwarf fighter, Barbang, survived that fall by mere single digit hit points. Sturdy buggars. Before that the druid, Gozmeer, had fallen 100 feet. She was in the negative hit points, but not at the dead-dead level of taking more damage her maximum hit points.

Let me back up a moment and tell you how they got there.

The much longer story 

The Party consists of :

  1. Annabelle, Level 7 Cleric
  2. Kethra, Level 7 Sorcerer
  3. Aphodel, Level 6 Ranger/Level 1 Bard
  4. Barbang, Level 7 Fighter
  5. Gozmeer, Level 6 Druid (NPC)

… the quest

The party has been in the city of Obsidian, prepping for a rescue mission and a potential big boss battle. So they go shopping, hoping to find better protection and deadlier weapons. They find a vendor willing to take some cursed items off their hands at Berrtle’s Bloody Blade. The fighter of the group, Barbang, has bupkis magically speaking for his weapons. When they inquire as to what Berrtle’s Bloody Blade has for sale, he offers to forge Barbang a set of magical weapons if they can retrieve a rock from beneath the mines of Obsidian. (See Berrtle’s Bloody Blade quest in the Town of Obsidian post.)

The group disguises themselves in rags purchased from a family in the poorer end of town and sneaks into the mine warehouse entrance with other workers at a shift change. Once down in the mines, they follow the crudely drawn map provided to them by Berrtle. They only get lost a few times before making it to the end of the first section of map. (D) Dead end. No rock. They discover the hidden pressure plates on the four corners of the circular space. By pushing rusty plates at the same time, they are able to trigger the large aperture in the floor to open.

rough sketch of path through mines to Berttle's rock
Roughly sketched path to Berttle’s terrunium boulder through the diamond mines below Obsidian (Player Version). While the path looks flat, they tunnels are constantly slopping off in different up/down angles

Gozmeer drops a torch down the hole. The ground is 300 feet down. They cleverly tie together alternating ropes of climbing with standard rope to reach the ground below. There they find themselves in a huge, cavernous space and locate where the lower mine map continues. They get to a spot on the map with a little squiggle next to it, but no visible continuation of the tunnel. Eventually they spot a small hole in the wall about an inch tall and 1/4″ thick. After trying to poke many items into the hole, someone tries a platinum coin. This causes the hidden door on the side opposite to rotate open. Continuing down cobweb choked tunnels, they are jumped by 4 phase spiders. The 4th spider gets wise after seeing is 3 buddies destroyed and phases the hell out of there.

Reaching the end of the map, they find a collapsed tunnel. Between the mountain dwarf’s stone cunning (Barbang) and the druid (Gozmeer) wild shaping into a giant badger, they are able to dig through the rock and secure a hole for the others to climb through.

Here the space opens up to the ruins of an ancient fire giants’ city. It’s like being a mouse in maze with the high, crumbled walls and the ceiling for above their heads. Crystalized formations sprout from the walls and random tunnels completely composed of crystals erupt from the ground and cave walls. The party marks their path as they wonder through this huge, dead city. They fight off a pack of basilisk that trapped them on a land bridge over lava. Discover a flail snail chomping on the crystals (and wisely leave it unmolested). There they spot an area of “shiny new” crystals which they follow into a blue dragon’s nest, which has a large pile of gems and treasures that include a large boulder with streaks of iridescent metal (the terrunium rock they’re looking for). Through sheer charisma, flattery, bribery, and fast talking, they are able to convince the young adult blue dragon that they have come to worship at its feet. They also tell the dragon, dubbed Azure …

  1. that there is an entire world outside of this cavern for the dragon to explore and find things to play with, like undead armies
  2. that there is a horde of undead heading towards his domain (Spawn of Kyuss in the underdark)
  3. that the person that kept sending adventurers to steal from the dragon’s horde lived in the city above

They head back to the mines with the dragon burrowing a direct route to the collapsed tunnel entrance. They use 5 flying potions to get back up that 300-foot hole. Once back in the main mining tunnels, they have second thoughts about letting a blue dragon loose on world above. They coordinate a surprise attack and do an impressive amount of damage before Azure can react. The dragon fries them with his lightning breath before collapsing the tunnel around them.

It takes them a while to dig out, and by the time they do the dragon has an hour head start on them. Nearing the surface, they find destruction and dead minors marking the dragons passage. Aiding the survivors slows them down more. By the time they emerge in the town, much of it has been destroyed … especially the area around Berrtle’s (that the group had earlier described to the dragon). The dragon is nowhere to be seen. The adventurers help with triage before finding their way back to the Dizzy Dragon Inn and getting a long rest.

So where’s the TPK, you ask?

The day after the dragon runs amuck

The party awakes the next day with dreams of an unguarded dragon horde dancing in their heads. They return to the mines and are recognized as people who had helped with the wounded earlier, and are allowed through without question. They get back to the hole that drops 300 feet down.

Going down

Climbing down, Gozmeer fails on the 2nd climb check (DC 10) and takes 69 points of damage from the fall, not quite dead-dead but bleeding out.

Gozmeer is an NPC that helps the party with healing mostly. My hope being that by having a healer there, Annabelle the cleric would not feel pressured to heal. I forget that Gozmeer can shape change into animals that would be helpful in various circumstances, like climbing and burrowing. Because she’s an NPC, I try not to use her for more than the other players request of her. I don’t want to be one of those game masters.

They manage to stabilize Gozmeer before she’s a complete goner. Following such a traumatic fall, Gozmeer fails to make her wisdom save versus fear (DC 10) and now has disadvantage on climbing.

They get to the lower mine entrance only to discover it collapsed. Sending in the giant badger (Gozmeer) to see how far it goes, they discover that the entire lower tunnel structure  there has been collapsed. They aren’t able to return to the blue dragon’s horde of treasure. He had already collapsed the tunnels and moved it away by the time the group returned.

And back up

The frustrated party returns to the rope up to the main mine. Gozmeer refuses to go near the rope (having failed at that fear of height save). Kethra eventually convinces her to transform into a rat and hide her pockets. Kethra and Annabelle take the last 2 flying potions to reach the ledge above. Aphodel makes the climb, no problem. Barbang makes it up to 200 feet before slipping. He makes his dexterity save to catch himself and tries climbing that last 100 feet again. He rolls a a 1. He falls 200 feet and takes 75 points of damage. He’s not insta-dead by only a couple of points, but bleeding out. With only a few seconds remaining from the flying potion, the cleric flies down to heal the damaged climber.

Once healed, Barbang rolls vs fear of heights. (Rolls a 7 total). He ain’t climbing no stinking rope.

Clever Plan 1

Kethra and Aphodel come up with a clever plan to send Gozmeer down the rope (in Ape shape) with the Bigsby’s Fist glove and use that to carry up Barbang and Annabelle. Kethra does a really impressive job of convincing the terrified Gozmeer (persuasion 25) to climb down. Gozmeer starts down the rope but freezes after only couple of feet down. Gozmeer is pulled back up by Aphodel and Kethra.

Clever Plan 2

Kethra then suggests that Gozmeer become a horse and tow the others up. They secure the rope around Barbang and with the horse pulling and Aphodel guiding the rope, they are successful. They send back the rope with a seat looped for Annabelle to ride up in. Using the same method, they pull up Annabelle. Only part of the way up, the rope snags and breaks. Annabelle falls 50 feet and takes 15 HP of damage.

Annabelle rolls versus getting her own fear of falling. Her difficulty is much lower, not having drop as far. She rolls a critical fail (a 1). Enraged at being trapped below, Annabelle shoots 4 fireballs into the open space 150 feet above.

And that’s where we left things … with 3 players afraid of heights, one player stuck in the space below, one blue dragon running amuck, and no dragon horde.

As a game master, you just never know where a game session will take a story. At least I’m often surprised. It’s one of those things that makes running a dungeons & dragons game so much fun. And difficult.

Tholin’s Intro: Chapter 0

sketch of a fantasy town by bulbar

Fizzle’s Diary:  Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8

Chapter 0, Character Intros: Tholin | Kromnock Mor | Fizzle


Tholin

Introduction of Tholin

Level 1 Half-Elf, Rogue

The following notes are from an exchange of text messages between myself (GM) and the Big M (Tholin) as a pre-game setup. The Big M’s is a man of few words.

Chapter 0

1/11/2019

GM: After the “incident” in Goremonte with your thieves guild, you made your strategic retreat out of town. Your rogue skills are currently a bit undeveloped and aren’t getting you the coin you’d hoped for.
Your down to your last copper, sitting in the Spiral’s End.
In the town of M’ka.
The town is pretty empty due to many having left to help defend Berlstrum from a hoard of undead.
The innkeeper, Razputen, took pity on you and gave you a small loaf of bread. He makes the yummiest bread ever.
He did it all sneaky like … “Boy, I hope no one snags this fresh warm bread from this table (next to you) while I take these dishes to the back.”
Do you eat the bread?

Tholin: For sure. But only part. Save the rest for later.

GM: The tavern is pretty empty this time of day. The old dwarf, Razputen, returns several minutes later carrying 2 large ales. “Would you mind some company while I rest my tired old feet?”

Tholin: Have a seat.

GM: The old dwarf puts the mugs on the table, 1 in front of you and 1 in front of him. He leans back in his chair and monologues rather randomly about the town of M’ka.
After a while he leaves and comes back with 2 bowls of delicious chowder. He places 1 in front of you and 1 in front of himself.
“You are a good listener,” he says. “Here’s thanks for listening to an old man ramble.”
He leans back and continues talking about the local goings on.
“… and with so many able bodies having headed south to Berlstrum, those Keepers of Balance are probably pretty desperate to fill their mercenary ranks.”
I’m going to assume you finished the chowder and ale?

Tholin: Quickly finish them

GM: Excellent. He seems pleased. He nods and gets up. As he is leaving, he signals in thievescant, “good luck, young one.” His untouched chowder and ale left behind.
Later you discover 10 gold in your belt pouch that weren’t there before.

Tholin: Nice

Harpy Battle

View of harpy nest from above

When fighting a battle with harpies in a forest, sometimes you have to get creative with those trees and nests!

November 2018 – Added backstory below photos.

Backstory

These notes are being added in November, 3 months after the game occurred. My game notes aren’t great, so some of the details are a little fuzzy.

Our band of adventurers were camped beside the free road when a band of 5 harpies swooped in and tried to steal all of their shiny goods. The harpies only managed to grab a couple of things before being chased off by the party, but not before losing one of their number.

The next day they arrive in the town of M’Ka. The town has netting strewn between the buildings, covering the streets of the small town. They soon discover that in the last 6 months harpies have grabbed 6 young children off the streets of M’Ka. The townsfolk have not been able to find where the children were taken or if they are still alive. Two of the kidnapped children are the mayor’s.

The mayor, Winnie Soolfulright, convinced the town to raise a “king’s ransom” in gold (12,000g) to pay the Keepers of Balance to rescue the children. The Keepers of Balance declined to take the job. The mayor offers to give the players the coin if they can bring back the kidnapped children. Our gallant heroes leap at the chance!

Lost Children of M’ka:

  • Istaak Alfrenridge (8)
  • Anise (6) and Kayla Pennywise (4)
  • the twins Herman (5) and Shaila Soolfulright (5) – mayor’s kids
  • Golfree Thompson (3)

The next morning the cleric (Annabelle), the sorceress (Kethra), and the ranger (Aphodel) head east, in the direction they saw the harpies fly after the initial encounter on the roadside. They arrive in the small, ocean-side town of Ol’shire. The people there claim to know nothing of harpies, though it’s clear that some are lying.

The good folks of Ol’shire made a bargain with the harpies. The harpies would protect the town from the marauding pirates that had been troubling the town as well as not bother town and the town would keep people away from the harpies’ nests.

Harpies have a difficult time bringing their eggs term, often forgetting to keep the eggs warm when they left the nests to search for food or treasures or whatever drove these cursed beasts. So the harpies stole the youngest, easy-to-control children to warm the eggs while they incubated.

Our suspicious group leaves Ol’shire under the stealth of night and travels north along the coastline. They find several abandoned harpy nests along the way. Eventually they come to an area that shows signs of recent harpy activity.

They set up a trap near a grove of trees: a camp fire with shiny cursed armor, gems and a backpack filled with rocks as lures. Then they find climb the nearby trees and wait for the trap to spring. Much waiting occurs. It’s windy. One of the team almost gets blown off the tree branch they’re hiding on/clinging to.

The harpies approach, singing their songs. All but one of the adventuring group is able to resist the hypnotic pull. Battle ensues. With the use of sacred flame, scorching ray, and magic missiles the harpies once more run away before they can be captured or killed.

The team tracks the harpies back to their active nests. There are between 20-30 harpies making their home there. Our heroes don’t do a great job of hiding.

A harpy lands near where they are hidden and offers parlay. Offers to give these adventurer’s “shinnies” to go away. They have 3 eggs that are almost ready to hatch. They can have the kidnapped children back once they hatch in about a month. While intrigued by the offer of “shinnies”, which they learn are coins and magic items, they are not in favor of leaving the children with the harpies. The cleric offers to keep the eggs warm herself it they will release the M’ka children. The harpy doesn’t trust that the cleric would stay put or leave the eggs unharmed and declines the offer.

Negotiations break down. As a fight becomes imminent and terrified of being destroyed by these hardened killers, many of the harpies fly away, carrying as much of their loot as they can on the way. The polygamous group whose eggs these belong to stay.

At the same time as this chaos occurs, an old friend – Barbang, the dwarf fighter – is transported from Berlstrum to this battleground in thanks for aiding a hag. A battle between the remaining 7 harpies and the 4 adventures ensue. Five of the seven harpies are killed. The surviving two harpies grab the 3 eggs and one of the children and make their escape.

The newly abandoned nests are in huge old trees bent over the tall Briarstone cliffs. The tree with the children is surrounded at the base by a large water pit, placing the edge of land 25 feet from the trunk of the tree. The children warn the rescuers that there is a giant snake hiding in the water at the base of the tree. With the aid of several Ropes of Climbing, a Potion of Giant Strength, and some great climbing skill, they are able to get the 5 remaining children safely down from the nest without waking the giant snake. They are filthy, malnourish, and dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. Anise Pennywise is the one that was carried away.

There is much happiness, rejoicing, and celebration upon the return of the 5 children to M’ka. They swear that they will find and bring back Anise. They also swear amongst themselves to find those shiny coins and treasures the harpy alluded to during the negotiations.

#19 – Treasure Room Loot in the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 19 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

Between the skeletons and the flood trap, the treasure room can be deadly. But now our adventures have survived and enjoy the looting the many boxes of loot. Muwhahahaha. Did they really think it would be so easy?! 

Gruber, The Mimic

Gruber has become a favorite NPC for my second role playing group. They’ve made him part of their team and have found ways to cart him around regardless of the terrain and challenges of smuggling a talkative, curious monstrosity through civilized lands. It kinda warms my cold game master heart to see how they’ve taken to him … it’ll be so much fun when I destroy him … muwhahahaha! … I mean that I would in no way use the groups affection for this silly mimic to manipulate and/or cause them distress … now stop reading this if you’re one of my players. 

Stats, backstory and dialogue samples for Gruber are here.


Battle map with numbered items and minis
Battle Map: Treasure Room #8 mid flood trap

Part 4: The Treasure in the Treasure Room

(For Parts 1-3 of the Treasure Room go here.)

Stop the Trap from Resetting

Once the waters of the trap have receded, the rest of the trap resets itself: the trap door closing, the barriers to the hallways lowering back into their hidden pockets. If the party does not stop the trap from completely resetting, it will start again if someone touches one of the boxes of treasure. It’s likely that at least one member of the party is standing on one of the boxes.

  • A DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana, Dungeoneering, or Traps) DC 15 to realize if the party needs to stop the trap from resetting, or it will start again as soon as someone touches one of the boxes.

Flood Trap Rune (all treasure boxes)

  • DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) or Dispel Magic (DC 19) to disarm each Flood Trap rune on each box of treasure. There are 20 boxes. For each successful Intelligence (Arcana) check, the DC is lowered by 2 for the next box. Another party member with proficiency in Arcana can assist them in this check, thus giving them advantage on the roll.
  • In additions to the rune for the Flood Trap, many of the boxes also have a secondary trap, either magical or mechanical.

Most of these containers have standard locks on them along with the traps. Some of the locks are higher quality or in better shape than others.


Treasure #1 – A small 8 inch x 5 inch chest with delicate floral engravings

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When chest is opened/destroyed, the trap activates.

Effect. Arcane Trap: Magic Missile; 3d4 +3 force damage on nearest target.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check spots the magic missile rune. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the chest disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 19) cast on the chest destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 25 STR

Loot.

RING OF SPELL STORING
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 192)
Bronze Ring with a small, square reflective gem surrounded by delicate gold filigree;
When found, spells held: a Darkvision (2nd), Shield (1)

RING OF FEATHER FALLING
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 191)
Silver ring with small feathers engraved on it

RING OF RESISTANCE (FORCE)
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 192)
A gold ring with sapphire gem, you have resistance FORCE while wearing this ring.


Treasure #2 – 4 foot cube wooden crate

Trap

MIMIC – “Dense” – See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 220 for Mimic stats.
(Dense is the nickname Gruber has given this mimic)

  • Touching Treasure #2 will not set off the Flood Trap.
  • If this box is touched before the Flood Trap is activated, the disguised mimic will attack.
  • If this mimic is touched during the Flood Trap activities, it will wait until the water is under 2 feet before attacking any nearby targets.
  • If the mimic is used as an anchor during the Flood Trap draining sequence, its adhesive trait will give the player advantage on the save.
  • There is a large spike drilled into the mimic’s backside anchoring it to the wall. This gives the mimic a 10′ range of movement while chained to the wall. (Detect Magic will detect a magical aura around the spike in the back.) Where the chain attaches to the wall seems to have had stone grown around it and it’s impossible to see where the actual anchor is.

Treasure #3 – wooden crate with water stains

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Kazel’s Experimental Potions

  • 4 Potion of healing (2d4+2)
  • 4 Potion of climbing
  • 3 Potion of greater healing
  • 1 Potion of fire breath
  • 5 Potion of resistance
    • 2 Radiant
    • 1 Acid
    • 1 Poison
    • 1 Psychic
  • 2 Potion of Heroism
  • 1 Potion of animal friendship
  • 1 Potion of growth
  • 4 Potion of water breathing
  • 1 Keoghtom’s ointment (4 doses) DMG 179
Roll percentile when using an experimental potions or ointment:

01 – Explosion (1d10 force within 5’)
02-08 – Effect doubled
09-15 – Effect halved
16 – Permanent Effect (negative)
17-25 – Opposite
26-40 – Normal
41-67 – Effect random person or spot
68-71 – Random odd effect related to spell
72-91 – Effects caster & nearest ally (same amount)
92-99 – Nothing happens
100 – Permanent Effect (positive)

Treasure #4 – 3-½ foot tall mahogany barrel

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Kazel’s Experimental Scrolls

2 – Mending
2 – Message
2 – Prestidigitation
1 – True Strike
1 – Detect Magic
1 – Feather Fall
1 – Identify
1 – Stone Shape
2 – Darkvision
2 – Dispel Magic
1 – Scroll of Protection: Fey (DMG 199)
2 – Scroll of Protection: Fiends (DMG 199)
1 – Scroll of Protection: Elementals (DMG 199)

Roll percentile when using an experimental scroll:

01 – Explosion (1d10 force within 5’)
02-08 – Effect doubled
09-15 – Effect halved
16 – Permanent Effect (negative)
17-25 – Opposite
26-40 – Normal
41-67 – Effect random person or spot
68-71 – Random odd effect related to spell
72-91 – Effects caster & nearest ally (same amount)
92-99 – Nothing happens
100 – Permanent Effect (positive)

Treasure #5 – 5 foot by 2 feet tall rough wooden crate

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

CRATE OF AMMUNITION
7d10 Bolts +1
7d10 Arrows +1


Treasure #6 – medium-sized, cherrywood chest with rounded lid

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Mechanical Blades Each Medium or larger creature within 5-foot-wide of the chest must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4d6 slashing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Countermeasures. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals scrape marks and blood stains along the rim of the box. A DC 15 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools disables the lever.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

ROBE OF USEFUL ITEMS
Wondrous item, uncommon (DMG 195)
This robe has cloth patches of various shapes and colors covering it.

The robe has the following patches:

  • Dagger [1] 
  • Bullseye lantern (filled and lit) [2]  
  • 10-foot pole [1] 
  • Hempen rope (50 feet, coiled) [1] 
  • Wooden ladder [1] 
  • Potions of healing [4] (2d4+2)    
  • Rowboat [1]  

Treasure #7 – 3-½ foot tall mahogany barrel leaking water through small cracks

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

What might have once been a crate full of scrolls are now nothing but mushy pulp.


Treasure #8 – A long, narrow box, 8 feet x 1 foot

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap. A tiny, poisoned needle is hidden in the lock.

Effect. Mechanical Poison Needle The triggering individual must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 4d6 poison damage and is poisoned for 10 minutes. While poisoned in this way, the creature is paralyzed. On a  successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t poisoned.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the needle, but only if  a character inspects the lock up close. A DC 20 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools disables the needle, but a check result of 10 or less triggers the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 15 / Break DC 20 STR

Loot.

ROD OF MIGHTY DIVINITY
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 197*)
2 foot long gold rod with sunburst motif at the top, requires attunement by cleric, druid or paladin (*similar to DMG 197-Rod of the Pact Keeper). While you hold the Rod of Mighty Divinity, you gain a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throws DCs of your divine spells. In addition, you can regain one paladin or cleric spell slot as an action while holding this rod. You can’t use this property again until you finish a long rest.


Treasure #9 – An elegant silver box

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Brittle paper packets are stuffed around a statue. Many of the packets have disintegrated and no longer usable.

Note saying, “Congratulations on your union!

DUST OF DISAPPEARANCE 6 SMALL BLUE PACKETS
Wondrous item, uncommon (DMG 166)

33 copper coins

An 18″ tall statue of 3 goats in suggestive positions, weighs 50 pounds, has hidden mechanism to activate motion


Treasure #10 – 3 foot cube wooden crate (has rotten, leaky bottom)

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Shards of broken glass swimming in mucky brown liquid.


Treasure #11 – A beautiful, multi-colored chest inlaid with delightful, artistic flourishes

Gruber_Chest

Trap

MIMIC – Gruber (Stats and more on Gruber here)

Note, Gruber is the key to the group finding Kazel and stopping him from finishing the ritual. He knows where the best spot is to get into Kazel’s hidden lair and what they need to get inside.

  • Touching Treasure #11 will not set off the Flood Trap.
  • If this box is touched before the Flood Trap is activated, this disguised mimic does nothing, unless the party seems like the sort that might set him free. If they give the impression of 1) being anti-Kazel or 2) the sort that can be negotiated with, then he’ll try to give them “helpful” suggestions and/or negotiate his release.
  • If the mimic is used as an anchor during the Flood Trap draining sequence, its adhesive trait will give the player advantage on the save versus being pulled into the drain.
  • There is a large spike drilled into the Gruber the Mimic’s backside anchoring it to the wall. This gives the mimic a 10′ range of movement while chained to the wall. (Detect Magic will detect a magical aura around the spike in the back.) Where the chain attaches to the wall, stone stone seems to have grown around it and is impossible to see where the actual anchor is.
  • Pulling the barbed spike out of the Gruber will cause damage (3d6+4). The chain can be broken (AC 20, HP 20), but Gruber will walk slower if the spike remains in his back. (Normal 15ft – 5ft).
  • Gruber is an oddly intelligent, articulate, and social for a mimic. He’s been desperately bored and lonely being stuck in this room with skeletons and 2 other “standard” mimics who don’t speak at all. He’s eager to make friends and have someone to talk to. Desperate. to. Talk.

Things Gruber, the Mimic might say, while chained to the wall:

  • Whoa! Whoa! You don’t need to kill me. I can be helpful!
  • Goblins sweaty gonads!
  • I’m soooo hungry!
  • Bloody Baylor! (Gruber is quite fond of cursing. For more inspiration, check out my In-Game Cursing post.)
  • Whaaaat?! … I’m starving! Can’t you spare one? That guy doesn’t seem very useful.
  • I’ve been stuck down here for years!! Decades! I don’ know … a long bloody time!
  • Blech! All these undead nasties! Foul tasking and not at all filling.

Treasure #12 – 4 ft long, metal box

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the seal between the lid and the is broken

Effect. Arcane Trap: Sleep; When activated, this trap casts a sleep centered on the metal box using a 5th level spell slot.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the small rune on the underside of the lid lip. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 15) cast on box destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 25 STR

Loot.

GREATSWORD +3 (THE BLADE OF AUCKMAR THE DROW)
Weapon (great sword), Very Rare, requires attunement
The dark gray blade has silver sigils running up both sides and a silver hilt carved with the likeness of a screaming face
You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

Devour Soul. Whenever you use it to reduce a creature to 0 hit points, the sword slays the creature and devours its soul, unless it is a construct or an undead or a fiend. The creature whose soul has been devoured by the Blade of Auckmar can be restored to life only by a wish spell.

As long as you keep the greatsword in hand, after it devours a soul, the Blade of Auckmar grants you temporary hit points equal to the slain creature’s hit point maximum. These hit points fade after 24 hours, when exposed to sunlight, or the greatsword is no longer being held in hand.

*As long as these temporary hit points last and you keep the greatsword in hand, you have advantage on attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks.

Curse.
If you hit an undead or fiend with this weapon, you take 1d10 necrotic damage and the target regains 1d10 hit points. If this necrotic damage reduces you to 0 hit points, the Blade of Auckmar devours your soul.


Treasure #13 – Large steamer trunk

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the seal between the lid and the is broken

Effect. Arcane Trap; Acid Splash A bubble of acid explodes from the steamer trunk. Each Medium or larger creature within 5 feet of the chest must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d6 acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds runes, but only if  a character inspects the trunk up close. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 15) cast on the trunk destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 25 STR

Loot.

DRAGON SCALE MAIL, GREEN
Armor (scale male), very rare, requires attunement (DMG 165)
Green scale mail armor, supple and lightweight

SHIELD +1 (SHIELD OF MISSILE ATTRACTION)
Armor (shield), rare, requires attunement (DMG 200)
Dark gray shield with web-like silver lines
Cursed


Treasure #14 – Average looking chest

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the chest is opened without the password spoken aloud (Gloryhound Omega)

Effect. Arcane Trap: Summon Poltergeist; When activated, this trap summons a poltergeist (DMG 278) that immediately attacks the individual that triggered the trap.

Countermeasures. A DC 22 Wisdom (Perception) check finds the small rune disguised as embellishment on one of the knobs. A DC 22 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 14) cast on chest destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 25 / Break DC 30 STR

Loot.

MEZMERIZER’S STONE, locked (DC 15) inside a small black box
Wondrous item, very rare
A hypnotically beautiful kaleidoscope gem. Upon sight, everyone must make a Wisdom save DC 16. On a failed save, you become hypnotized (charmed) for the duration. While entranced by this stone, you are incapacitated and have 0 speed. Effect ends when stone is out of sight. Each time it’s used, there is a 25% chance it will fail. Once used, even a failed attempt, it can’t be used again until the next dawn.

SENDING STONES – 1 PAIR, inside a small wooden box
Wondrous item, uncommon (DMG 199)


Treasure #15 – Crate

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

LOCK none

LOOT

15 feet of rusty chain


Treasure #16 – Chest

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Arcane Trap: Black Tentacles; Squirming, ebony tentacles fill a 20-foot square centered on the chest. Any creatures within the affected area for the first time  or starts its turn there, the creature must succeed on a dexterity saving throw 17 or take 3d6 bludgeoning damage and be restrained by the tentacles until the spell ends. A creature that starts its turn in the area and is already restrained by the tentacles takes 3d6 bludgeoning damage. These tentacles turn the ground in the area into difficult terrain. A creature restrained by the tentacles can use its action to make a strength or dexterity check (its choice) against DC 17. On a success, it frees itself.

The Black Tentacles remain until the trap is disarmed.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds runes, but only if  a character inspects the trunk up close. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 17) cast on the lock destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 25 / Break DC 30 STR

Loot.

HORN OF BLASTING
Wondrous item, rare (DMG 174)
Brass blowing horn with a repeating wave pattern


Treasure #17 – Large Trunk

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Trap … TBD

Countermeasures. TBD …

Lock. Open Lock: DC 25 / Break DC 30 STR

Loot.

PLATE ARMOR-BLUE (OF VULNERABILITY)
Armor (plate), very rare, requires attunement (DMG ??)
Blue-tinged Plate Armor with Gold edging, AC 18, Stealth Disadvantage, 65lb, rare, requires attunement

Silver-Colored Plate Armor (DEMON ARMOR)
Armor (plate), very rare, requires attunement (DMG ??)
sliver with curved spikes coming out of the forearms/gauntlets and shoulders/spauldings), AC 19, Stealth Disadvantage, very rare requires attunemen
While wearing this armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC, and you can understand and speak Abyssal.


Treasure #18 – Small Trunk

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Poison Needles; DC 20 Investigate; DC 15 DEX w/Thieves tools to disarm; Activated: 1 piercing damage and 2d10 poison. DC 15 Con or be poisoned for an hour (disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks).

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) …

Lock. Open Lock: DC 15 / Break DC 20 STR

Loot.

SUPERIOR ELVEN CHAIN

Woven Gold & White Chain Shirt armor, AC 15 + DEX mod (Max 2), 20lb, requires attunement

You gain a +2 bonus to AC while you wear this armor. You are considered proficient with this armor even if you lack proficiency with medium armor.


Treasure #19 – boring wooden crate

Trap

MIMIC – “Denser” – See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 220 for Mimic stats.
(Dense is the nickname Gruber has given this mimic)

  • Touching Treasure #18 will not set off the Flood Trap.
  • If this box is touched before the Flood Trap is activated, the disguised mimic will attack.
  • If this mimic is touched during the Flood Trap activities, it will wait until the water is under 2 feet before attacking any nearby targets.
  • If the mimic is used as an anchor during the Flood Trap draining sequence, its adhesive trait will give the player advantage on the save.
  • There is a large spike drilled into the mimic’s backside anchoring it to the wall. This gives the mimic a 10′ range of movement while chained to the wall. (Detect Magic will detect a magical aura around the spike in the back.) Where the chain attaches to the wall seems to have had stone grown around it and it’s impossible to see where the actual anchor is.

Treasure #20 – Sturdy, wooden trunk with silver-colored rams head handles

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the lid  is opened or destroyed.

Effect. Arcane Trap; Bigsby’s Fist (PHB 218) at 6th level is activated. AC 20, HP 80
The fist will attack the nearest creature within 5 feet of the chest (not including the mimics). +8 Hit, 6d8+8 force damage. If no one approaches the chest, the fist will remain on guard until defeated or dispelled (DC 16)

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds runes, but only if  a character inspects the trunk up close. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 16) cast on the lock destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 20 STR

Loot.

DWARVEN THROWER
Weapon (warhammer), very rare, requires attunement by a dwarf (DMG 167)
Beautifully balanced, burnished gold color with dwarven runes on the sides of the hammer)


Up Next: All about everyone’s favorite NPC, Gruber the Mimic

#18 – The Deadly Treasure Room of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Battle map with numbered items and minis
THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 18 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

Ideally, Room #8 will be the final room the team enters in this dungeon crawl and they’ve had a chance to do some leveling. The treasure room is brutal and will easily kill the unprepared or unlucky.

This is the space that Kazel spent many hours over many years creating to protect the various magical items that the Deadly Omega 6 gathered during their adventuring day. Kazel also stored some of his experiments with potions, scrolls, and items down here that he didn’t want to leave were they might hurt Foreshot.

Room 8 DOES NOT contain Kazel, but does have the means for them to be able to find the hidden pocket lair. If they free Gruber the Mimic, he will tell the what they need and show them where the best spot to enter is.


Berlstrum Belly Dungeon
Map of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Berlstrum Belly Review

Dungeon Walls: Sharp briarstone rock make up the walls and ceiling. The crystals are so sharp that one has to be cautious not to cut themselves on the walls. 1d6 piercing damage if pushed/knocked into the wall or ceiling.

Dungeon Floor: Consists of smooth, black shiny stone. When running on the surface, there’s a chance of falling prone (DEX DC 11) due to the slippery surface. Pushes and slides go twice normal distance.

Illumination: Dark. No natural light available.


Treasure Room #8 

The Treasure Room is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1: The Skeleton mob encounter
  • Part 2: Treasure room trap information (to aid in the Skill Challenge)
  • Part 3: The treasure room trap encounter/skill challenge telling what happens each round when the trap springs
  • Part 4: Information for Part 4 will be on the next post.
    – description of the treasure and their traps and content
    – mixed within these 20 boxes are 3 mimics, one of which is potential ally to the party.
    – Gruber the Mimic is a character unto himself; some backstory and some colorful dialogue

Part 1: Skeleton Mob

Bones! So many bones. A large cavernous space has piles of bones, abandoned shields, and weapons scattered throughout. (The skulls look humanoid.) Along the south wall is a large assortment of chests, barrels, and crates (20 total).

Scattered throughout the room are piles of bones. If any bones are touched, all of the skeletons assemble and attack. There are 10-25 skeletons (adjust for party size and strength) in this room.

  • If any of the treasure is disturbed/touched during the battle, the trap sequence will also be activated.
  • If any of the party get close enough to the 2 hostile mimics, they will attack, unless the flood trap is going

Skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts movieWarrior Skeletons

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 273 for stats.


LOOT

  • Rusty weapons and pieces moldy armor

Part 2: Treasure Room Trap Information

Flood Flusher Trap

If any of the treasure is touched inside this room, even by magical means, it will start the flood trap sequence. If the players manage to discover the trap before setting it off, they will have a much better chance of surviving the trap.

Ability/Combat Challenge

Objective: Either survive the trap, if triggered, or figure out how to defeat the trap and access the treasure

Each successful ability check or hit is 100 XP into a group pool. Fails are -100 from the group pool. Natural 20s count as 200 XP. Natural 1s count as -200 XP. The group pool experience is divided equally among the surviving party members

A player can also choose to pass on their turn or assist another. Either counts as a 0 XP gain/loss. An assist gives the other player a +3 bonus on their next action.

You can NOT use the same ability or attack twice in a row and you can not use the same skill as the person before you.

Note: Clues to give the players are included below. The player does need to say that they are looking at the specific area/thing to receive that relevant clue. If there are no additional details to gather within that DC range or lower, it is a failed check. If they haven’t gained the necessary knowledge yet (ie you can’t dismantle a trap if you haven’t found it yet), use information from a lower DC or give them a useful related hint.

Room details and possible abilities suggestions for the skill challenge by difficulty level

FLOOD: refers to actions/abilities to do while the flood part of the trap is occuring
TREASURE: is information regarding the heavily trapped pile of boxes, chests, and crates full of loot against the far wall
SUMMON MONSTER: Refers to the sequence in the trap that summons a Water Weird
BARRICADE TRAP: Information on the part of the trap that blocks the two exits and traps the water inside the room

DC 10-14

Acrobatics (DEX)
___FLOOD: Move at full speed without falling down when water starts pouring down (only applies when water is ~2 feet or less)
___FLOOD: Balance on top of a treasure chest (dry, above the waterline)

Athletics (STR)
___FLOOD: Toss the end of a rope or chain to a party member through the water

Arcana (INT)
___TREASURE: You find a small glyph of warding on one of the treasure chests
___TREASURE: Casting Detect Magic on the pile of treasure, there is a LOT of magic blips over all of the boxes
___SUMMON MONSTER: The rune on the wall is a magic trigger
___The rune on the ceiling is a magic trigger (Blinding Light spell will activate this spell, triggering the barricade doors)

Dexterity
___FLOOD: Catch the end of a rope or chain tossed to you by a party member

Dungineering (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: A small vertical line on the wall in the passageway into the room is smoother than the surrounding wall

History (INT)
___Kazel was famous for studying and defeating famous dungeon traps during his adventuring days

Investigate (INT)
___
The various chests, barrels, and crates are secured using rusty chains and worn ropes looped onto u-bars in the sharp Briarstone walls
___There are 1d4 ropes and 1d4 chains attached to the wall behind the pile of treasure that do not currently have anything attached to them. Length varies from 5-20 feet.

Perception (WIS):
___FLOOD: The ceiling of the cavern has an unusual undulating pattern, varying from 10 to 11 ft in height.
___SUMMON MONSTER: You spot a symbol carved into the on the Briarstone wall. An impressive feat considering the how easily the briarstone crystals shatter
___FLOOD: You spot a symbol on the ceiling

DC 15-20

Acrobatics
___FLOOD: Move at full speed without falling down when water starts pouring down (only applies when water is around 2 feet or less)
___FLOOD: Balance on top of one of a box of treasure (with water present)

Arcana (INT)
___Casting Detect Magic and studying the walls will reveal several small magical symbols worked into briarstone crystals on the wall. They are not all the same.
___Casting Detect Magic and studying the ceiling 
___TREASURE: Symbol on the treasure chest is a Glyph of Warding that will set off the Blinding Light spell
___TREASURE: Casting Detect Magic on the pile of treasure, the Glyph of Warding (Blinding Light spell) seems to be on all of the boxes

Athletics (STR)
___BARRICADE TRAP: Jam something into the wall to stop the door from sealing from completing its
___FLOOD: When the water is pouring in or out, be an anchor to keep one of your party in place or out of the water

Dungineering (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: You spot scratches on the floor that run from wall to wall in a straight line that suggest stones rubbing together
___TRAP DOOR TO CHUTE: There is a hair-line seam in the floor in the southeast corner

History (INT)
___
Kazel and Foreshot have lived in Berlstrum for over 10 years. Rumor has it that their old adventuring buddies would visit and they would all disappear for days and weeks at time

Perception (WIS)
___TREASURE/MIMICS: Looking at all of the treasures tied to the wall, three of them are secured differently, with large spikes drilled into the backside. They do not look the same.
___SUMMON MONSTER: The same symbol is carved into the Briarstone wall at a 4 foot height in four spots
___FLOOD: The upper wave in the undulating ceiling has 6 inch holes every foot.

History (INT)
___
Kazel once bragged to a bard that with enough time and resources, he could create the most diabolical of traps. He knew how the greedy minds of adventurers works, since he was one himself!

DC 21-25

Arcana (Int)
___FLOOD: The four glyphs carved into the Briarstone wall at a 4 foot height around the entire room will activate when it is immersed in water and summon a monster (Water Weird)
Dispel Magic DC 17
___All of the treasure chests seem to have a Glyph of Warding (Blinding Light)
Glyphs won’t activate until one of the secured treasures is disturbed. Each of the chests/boxes/ crates/barrels has a matching glyph hidden somewhere on its surface. Each glyph will set off the same trap sequence. The trap resets after running full cycle.
Dispel Magic DC 17
___TREASURE/MIMICS: One of the three treasure chests with large spikes drilled into the backside has elaborate, stylish markings. They are a like a child’s copy of the Glyph of Warding and other runes spotted around the room. (Gruber, the Mimic likes to embellish and be creative with his self-decoration.)
___The rune on the ceiling is a magic trigger; a Blinding Light spell will activate this spell, which in turn triggers the barricade doors – Dispel Magic DC 17

Dungineering  (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: There are Barrier Trap in both passageways. There’s no obvious mechanical trigger. It’s most likely activated by magic.
___TRAP DOOR TO CHUTE: The hair-line seam in the floor in the southeast corner is a trap door that will open downward, into a large chute. It would take a very strong force to push the door open.

Disarm Trap / Thieves Tools
___BARRICADE TRAP: Dismantle one of the barricades before it triggers

Perception (WIS)
___TREASURE/MIMICS: Looking at all of the treasures tied to the wall, the two of the three with large spikes drilled into the backside do not have any magical symbols. The third one has markings, but they are more elaborate and stylish looking.

Strength
___SLIDE TRAP: Force open the trap door to the chute

Dungineering  (INT)
___SLIDE TRAP: The trap door will open downwards into a large slide. It would take a lot of pressure to open. Like a room full of
___SLIDE TRAP: Based on our current location, the slide probably spits out into the middle of the Thornbreaker waterfall and into the Forlorn Bay.
___BARRICADE TRAP: The Barricade Trap contacting the floor triggers the mechanical gears to open the flood gates. The widgets and gadgets that work the trap are up in the ceiling above the cavern.

DC 26-30

Arcana (INT)
___The glyphs on the treasure set off chain reactions, started by touching the treasure. Touching treasure sets off Blinding Light, which triggers the Barriers, which starts the water coming in. When the water reaches the glyphs at 4 feet high, a creature is summoned. When the water reaches the ceiling, the trap door in the SE corner opens. Targeting dispel magic on each glyph will keep the sequence from starting.

Strength
___SLIDE TRAP: Keep the trap door to the chute open after forcing it open
___BARRICADE TRAP: Break/move barricades after they are locked in place

DC 31-40

Investigate (INT)
___You know the password sequence to stop the entire trap from going off. You are Kazel. Shouldn’t you be casting a ritual right now?


Part 3: The Encounter

If the trap is set off, the trap sequence is initiated, beginning with the blinding light

GLYPH OF WARDING (BLINDING LIGHT) goes off; A pulse of brilliant light blinds all those within 30 feet; DC 16 CON, save ends.

Immediately following the flash of light, you hear a voice say, “Fuck! Not again!” [Gruber, the Mimic]

ROLL INITIATIVE

Trap goes at the top of each round; note the Mimics mixed in with the treasure won’t attack during the flood trap, but will as soon as it’s over. 

Round 1 – BARRICADE TRAP activates; Smooth obsidian stone slabs shoot upwards from their well camouflaged nooks in the floor, blocking the passageway at either entrance

  • DC 14 Reflex save to avoid being crushed: ATK +10 melee (3d6); if standing on one
  • Jamming the door opposed DC 25 STR check
  • DC 30 STR to break/move barrier once up

Round 2 – FLOODING ROOM TRAP activates; from numerous 6 inch holes hidden in the upper waves of the ceiling, water gushes out, quickly filling the room. The columns of water make visibility and movement difficult. As the water pours down, the already slippery floor becomes almost impossible to navigate;

  • DC 15 Ability Check (DEX/ Acrobatics/ Athletics) to move or fall prone;
  • DC 10 Ability Check (DEX/ Acrobatics/ Athletics) to stand still or fall prone

Round 3 – Water continues pouring in and is 1-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 4 – Water continues pouring in and is 3 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 5 – Water continues pouring in and is 4-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • Water Weird is summoned; a spout of water erupts in the center of the room. [Attacks this round.] NOTE: Water Weird is INVISIBLE when fully immersed
  • Holding breath if under 5 feet tall; disadvantaged with attacks

Water Weird

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 299 for stats.


LOOT

  • none

Round 6 – Water continues pouring in and is 6 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • if under 6-1/2 ft tall; disadvantaged on attacks

Round 7 – Water continues pouring in and is 8 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • Most will have disadvantaged on attacks at this point

Round 8 – Water continues pouring in and is at 9-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 9 – Water reaches the top of the undulating ceiling. It continues pouring in.

Round 10 – Water pressure builds and forces the Trap Door to swing down into the chute below

  • A perception 15 might hear the mechanical gears clicking near the southeast corner.
  • TRAP SLIDE DOOR opens.
    The trap door is located in the southeast corner of the room. The “hinge” side is along the wall and the door goes down into the chute. The door is 20 feet wide at the base and tapers to a rounded triangle pointed towards the room.
  • All the water in the room, along with the anything not tied down gets flushed down the long chute.

Round 11 – Water continues pouring in from the ceiling and rushing out the trap door.

At the end of each party member’s turn, they need to make an Saving Throw to see if they are pushed by the water current down the chute:

  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 20 STRENGTH SAVE On a failed save creature is pulled 20 feet towards the trap door.
  • Holding onto something – DC 15 STRENGTH SAVE A player can grab hold of rope or chain that’s already attached to the wall behind the treasure or create their own anchor. On a failed save creature is pulled 20 feet towards the trap door.
    If they are holding on with one hand, they can only attack with the free hand.
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 20 DEXTERITY
    Securing yourself or helping someone else is an action.
    If securing oneself with a rope or chain, make a DEX ability check to determine if it will hold. Once successfully secured, you no longer need to save and can aid other party members.
  • Mimics (3): If one of the players manages by random chance to stand on or grab hold of one of the mimics in its object form, they will become adhered to the mimic through it’s natural Adhesive trait. (See MM220) The escape DC for the mimic adhesive is 13, which is NOT as strong as the current, but they do gain Advantage on the Holding onto Something save.
    If arms are stuck to the mimic, it will make using the hands to secure a rope or chain difficulty, giving them a Disadvantage on Use Rope. 
  • On a Failed Save, a person is pushed towards/down the chute.
    • The slide shoots out near the bottom of the Berlstrum waterfall (about 50 feet from waterline). It’s a DC 25 STR check to stop sliding mid-chute with the water and random debris rushing past you.
    • Hitting the waterfall and slamming into the turbulent water causes 5d10 bludgeoning damage; Athletics DC 15 for half
    • Once flushed out of the chute and into the bay, swim check
    • [insert your own on-the-fly water adventure here]

Round 12 – Water continues to rush out the trap door, the pull towards the drain increasing each round. Incoming water stops.

  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 22 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 17 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 22 DEX;

Round 13 – Water swirls faster and stronger as it drains.

  • Water drops to 8 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 22 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 17 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 22 DEX; If securing oneself with a rope or chain, make a DEX check to determine if the knot will hold. Once successfully secured, a save is longer need to save and they can aid other party members.

Round 14 – Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 6 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 24 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 19 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 24 DEX

Round 15 – Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 4 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 26 STR save
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 21 STR save
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 26 DEX

Round 16 –– Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 2 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 28 STR save
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 15 STR save
  • Mimics (2): At this point, if any of the party members are on or near one of the 2 hostile mimics, it will attack.
  • (The 3rd Mimic) Gruber the Mimic is not very brave and will try to negotiate his freedom. He is starving, so the temptation to eat a rude adventurer is strong. He is also starving for conversation, as the other 2 mimics don’t really talk. At all. Ever.

Round 17 – Water is completely drained from the room. A Gust of Wind (spell PHB 249) blows through the room, chasing the last of the water out and quick-drying the whole room

  • DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked back 15 feet towards the open trap door

Round 18 – Once water completely drains, the trap door/ramp slams shut, the barriers open, and the entire trap resets … unless someone blocks the trap from resetting.


Part 4: All the Loot

There is a LOT of treasure to be had in this room, some cursed and some not. Up in the next installment are the traps and treasure my players found.

#17 – More Encounters in Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Players Encounter the Troglodytes on Battle Grid
THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 17 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

I’m repeating the same info at the top off all the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon posts for ease of finding the information. 


Berlstrum Belly Dungeon
Map of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Berlstrum Belly Review

Dungeon Walls: Sharp briarstone rock make up the walls and ceiling. The crystals are so sharp that one has to be cautious not to cut themselves on the walls. 1d6 piercing damage if pushed/knocked into the wall or ceiling.

Dungeon Floor: Consists of smooth, black shiny stone. When running on the surface, there’s a chance of falling prone (DEX DC 11) due to the slippery surface. Pushes and slides go twice normal distance.

Illumination: Dark. No natural light available.


Room #4 

(T) Proximity Trap: Magic Missile, TRAP is at entrance from Amagoste’s Farm

Perception DC 22 to detect the runes etched into the briarstone at the mouth of the cave, advantage on perception if the person spotted a previous Magic Missile trap.
Disarm DC 20

Triggers when a creature enters its 20ft radius; 3 magic missiles (1d4+4 damage) will go to the 3 closest targets within 20 ft.

3 Earth Elementals

3 Small Earth Briarstone Elementals

A toppled, broken statue lies in the center. Someone has scrawled “The walls listen” on the statue. 3 Small Earth Briarstone Elementals pop out of the walls & floors behind the intruders

Depending on where the players move around in this space, it is possible that they’ll confront all 6 small earth elementals in the same fight.

Room #4b

3 Small Earth Briarstone Elementals

Unlit candles are scattered across the floor, near the north entrance. A rusted chain lies in the southwest corner. 3 Small Earth Briarstone Elementals pop out of the walls & floors behind the intruders

Small Briarstone Earth Elemental

Small elemental, neutral

These are “baby” earth elementals made up of Briarstone. They are small size creatures, move slower than the adults, only have one attack per round, and less hits points.

The sharp briarstone rock adds 1d4 piercing damage in addition to the bludgeoning from their slam attacks


Armor Class 17 
Hit Points 3d10+4
Speed 20 ft, burrow 25 ft.


STR 20 (+5), DEX 8 (-1), CON 18 (+4), INT 5 (-3), WIS 10 (0), CHA 5 (-3)


Saving Throws WIS +1

Damage Vulnerabilities thunder
Damage Resistance
bludgeoning, piercing, slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities
 exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconcious
Senses darkvision 60ft, tremor sense 30 ft, passive perception 10
Challenge 2


ACTIONS

Slam Attack Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10ft, one creature
Hit: 1d6+5  bludgeoning + 1d4 slashing


SPECIAL

Earth Glide. See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 124

Siege Monster. See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 124
Room #4
(T) Proximity Trap: Magic Missile, TRAP is at entrance from Amagoste’s Farm


LOOT

None unless you count the stray candles, rusty chain, or broken statue

Room #5 

2 Undead Chimeras

On either side of the cavern, two skeletal figures stand, each a confusing mish-mash of bones. 3 animal skulls [lion, dragon, ram] seem to be attached to a large frame of bones.  And what were once possibly wings stick out from the back. A bony tail raps around it’s legs, a serpent skull at the tip.

As you step within sight of the 2 creatures, 6 skulls simultaneously rotate in your direction. You image that the skeletal faces smile at you in menacing anticipation.

Chimera Undead

Large undead, neutral evil


Armor Class 19 
Hit Points 95 / 80
Speed 30 ft


STR 19 (+4), DEX 11 (0), CON 18 (+4), INT 3 (-4), WIS 6 (-2), CHA 5 (-3)


Saving Throws CON +4
Damage Immunities
poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses Darkvision 60ft, Passive Perception 16
Challenge 4


ACTIONS

Multiattack (3)

Dragon Head Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft, one creature (The undead Chimera does not have fire breath.)
Hit: 2d6 + 4 piercing

Ram Head Horns Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft, one creature
Hit: 1d6 +4  bludgeoning

Lion’s Claws Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5ft, one creature
Hit: 1d6 + 2 slashing


SPECIAL

No Life Drain. Though this creature is undead, it was undead before the Eye of Orcus ritual began, so it does not have the Life Drain ability.

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the undead to 0 hit points, it must make a CON saving throw with a DC of 5 + damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the undead drops to 1 hit point instead.


LOOT

Within a a disintegrating leather pouch is 120 gold. 

In the area to the upper right of #5 is the remains of Chimera nest, full of non-magical armor, rusty weapons, random clothing and the like. Amidst this mess is the leather pouch with the gold. For those who search diligently, they might also find the petrified remains of large egg shell of some sort.

Room #6

2 Minotaurs

Blocking the passage stand two large, man-like creatures with heads like bulls. If the party decides to go around the minotaurs, they will let them. Their job is to stop anyone from entering area #8. They’re the strong, silent (trapped there with a geas) type. They will not answer questions.

If they seeing the party advancing towards them, the 2 creatures roar a savage battle cry and charge!

Minotaur

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 223 for stats.


CURSE OF THE MINOTAUR

Whoever slays the minotaur (KILLING BLOW) must succeed on a DC 10 Charisma saving throw or become transformed (as the polymorph spell–PHB 266) into a minotaur (MM 223). Creature retains its intelligence and ability to speak. At the end of each long rest, the polymorphed creature can repeat the saving throw. On a successful saving throw, the creature returns to its true form. After three failed saving throws. the transformation can be undone only by a remove curse spell or similar magic.


LOOT

  • 2 Greataxes
  • Large, battered leather armor
  • Coin: 67 gold
  • 1 Potion of Frost Giant Strength (1 hour-Str 23)
  • 1 Potion of Superior Healing (8d4+8) – If a Minotaur has a chance to take use this potion, they will

Room #7 & 7b

Troglodyte Clan

A clan of Troglodytes makes their home here. The Troglodytes will remain hidden until the party passes, then try to surround and ambush them.

Water seeps between briarstone shards, creating in an opaque, narrow stream between the wall and the path (5-10 feet wide). If one were to enter the stream, they would find it surprisingly deep (10-20 feet), and the bottom lined with skulls and shards of bones and unidentifiable garbage. Occasionally the stream widens into small pools that smell strongly of mold and stagnation. Overpowering the mold is the reek of oily, rotten meat and offal.

The ground has a gradual slope down and the ceiling gets higher. By the time the party gets to the spot between area 7 and 7b, the ceiling is 40 feet from the floor.

A croak of a toad is heard up ahead.

The troglodytes will stay hidden until the party passes through the choke point into the 7b area.

Between a column of rock and the stream is a a large pile of junk (10 feet high and 10 feet diameter), with many sharp, rusty metal bits pointing upwards. Immediately above the pile is a hole in the ceiling. This is the entrance from the Library.

*Library Entrance

The secret access to the tunnel leading into Berlstrum’s Belly is through the library’s restricted section. The restricted section has an area effect on it that bars anyone not of a good alignment from entering. If on friendly terms with Norttle, he’ll open the way for them. (Norttle can also be helpful in aiding party members with research in his library.)

If Norttle is not available to help, the party will need to unlock the door to the restricted area (DC 20) and find the hidden entrance. Spotting the hidden mechanism to slide the bookshelf open is a DC 25 Investigation. Locking or trapping the mechanism is at the GM’s discretion.

Through the sliding door is a spiral staircase that leads down into the tunnel. It takes about 1-1/2 hours to walk (normal speed) from the library entrance to the opening above the Troglodyte area (7B). There is a 5 foot shelf that encircles half the hole. It’s a 30 foot drop from the edge of the hole to the top of the large pile of pointy bits.

If a character falls onto the pile, they’d take 3d6 bludgeoning and 2d6 piercing damage. Climbing down a rope (DC 10) is a possible option, but they’d need to make an Acrobatics check (DC 15) to swing clear of the junk pile .

Whether they come from inside the Belly or from the Library entrance, the troglodytes will remain hidden until they can ambush the group.

Troglodytes

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 290 for stats.


LOOT

Submersed in the water is a moldy crate that falls apart when moved. Inside are:

  • 1d6 Greater Healing Potions (4d4+4)
  • 1d10 Healing Potions (2d4+2);
  • and broken shards of destroyed vials

In the pile of jagged “treasures” beneath the chimney

  • Weapons; note these weapons have a 60% chance of shattering under any sort of usage:
    • 1d10 rusty, broken greatswords
    • 1d12 rusty, chipped short swords
    • 1d20 spears with broken shafts
    • 1d10 rusty hand axes with slimy handles
    • 1d10 rusty, chipped scimitars
  • A moldy wizard’s diary of failed magical experiments
  • Blessed holy salt in a small, gray leather bag
  • A small jade frog with silver eyes; once per week, the owner can stroke its back and cause a light rain shower
  • A 2 in. x 2 in. metal box that, when opened, plays an acoustic version of the popular bard song, “Heroes of the Morn”
  • A spear made of a fusion of Briarstone and Terrunium metal that flies back to the owner’s hands once thrown: Weapon (spear), Rare (requires attunement) 1d6+2 piercing, versatile, weight 1 lb, range (30/120)

 


Up Next: The deadly, heavily trapped Treasure Room!

#16 – Encounters in Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Zombie Wyvern

 

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 16 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

It is recommended that the party be 4th level before starting this dungeon and have at least 4 party members, especially a rogue to help with traps. I’ve included monster stat blocks for the ones that are non-standard and not in the Monster Manual. 

Sometimes characters die or players want to run something different. In the middle of a dungeon crawl that can be a bit of a challenge. At the bottom of this page is some flavor text I wrote up for bringing in the new character while the party was in Berlstrum’s Belly. 


Berlstrum Belly Dungeon
Map of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Berlstrum Belly Review

Dungeon Walls: Sharp briarstone rock make up the walls and ceiling. The crystals are so sharp that one has to be cautious not to cut themselves on the walls. 1d6 piercing damage if pushed/knocked into the wall or ceiling.

Dungeon Floor: Consists of smooth, black shiny stone. When running on the surface, there’s a chance of falling prone (DEX DC 11) due to the slippery surface. Pushes and slides go twice normal distance.

Illumination: Dark. No natural light available.


TRAP: Entrance from Champions’ Manor 

(T) Proximity Trap: Magic Missile

Perception DC 22 to detect the runes etched into the briarstone at the mouth of the cave, advantage on perception if the person spotted a previous Magic Missile trap.
Disarm DC 20

Triggers when a creature enters its 20ft radius; 3 magic missiles (1d4+4 damage) will go to the 3 closest targets within 20 ft.

Room #1 

Wyvern Zombie

A large creature on its 2 scaley legs approaches, dragging one of its twisted broken leathery wings behind it. The stub of a tail angrily whips back and forth. From its lizard-like head, scaly flesh hangs, baring the bone beneath. Ribs and other bones peak through obvious mortal injuries along its side. Mindlessly, the creature charges towards your group, emitting a low throaty hiss.

Zombie WyvernWyvern Zombie

Large undead, neutral evil


Armor Class 20 
Hit Points 105
Speed 30 ft


STR 20 (+5), DEX 6 (-2), CON 16 (+3), INT 5 (-3), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 4 (-3)


Saving Throws WIS +1
Damage Immunities
poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses Darkvision 60ft, Passive Perception 11
Challenge 4


ACTIONS

Multiattack 2 attacks per round (Any combo of two of the below)

Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10ft, one creature
Hit: 2d6 + 4 piercing

Claws Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft, one creature
Hit: 2d8 slashing

Stinger Stub (the tail no longer has the poisonous stinger, but still does bludgeoning damage as the zombie wyvern instinctively tries to poison its prey) Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10ft, one creature
Hit: 1d6+4 bludgeoning


SPECIAL

No Life Drain. Though this creature is undead, it was undead before the Eye of Orcus ritual began, so it does not have the Life Drain ability.

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the undead to 0 hit points, it must make a CON saving throw with a DC of 5 + damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the undead drops to 1 hit point instead.


LOOT

Amid a nest of bones and other bits of unidentifiable junk you find, wrapped in burlap bundles:

  • (3d10+5) +2 arrows
  • (3d10+5) +2 bolts

Room #2 

TRAP: Proximity Trap: Symbol of Fear

Perception 20 to detect;
Disarm DC 18

Triggers when a creature enters the traps 20ft radius; On a failed WIS DC 15, targets see a vision of their greatest fears and drops whatever they are holding (weapons) and become frightened. Must use dash action (double movement) to move away by safest route possible, unless there’s nowhere to run.

Once out of site of the trap, effect ends or if in combat, at the end of each turn, target can make another WIS save throw to end effect.

The trap is intended to cause at least one person to run into the next area (to the South) in fear, driving them into the Gibbering Mouthers territory. Once the gibbering mouthers see someone, they will start chattering.

2 Gibbering Mouthers

The Gibbering Mouthers will only start their horrible wailing after they’ve spotted a potential addition to their collection.

The two amorphous masses of mouths and eyes ooze slowly forward towards their victims. The cacophonous gibbering from the many mouths murmuring and chattering, wailing and crying – in shrill voices and deep voices – is maddening (DC 10 Wisdom saving throw). The monsters are only silenced when they flows over their victim and absorbs the living flesh.

Gibbering Mouther

Gibbering Mouthers

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 157 for Gibbering Mouther stats.


LOOT

A pair of undigested legs list against the nearby wall (farthest South). The feet are still wearing some surprising nice looking boot.

  • Winged Boots (description on 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, page 214)

Room #3

Ghouls, lots of Ghouls (10-20)

Note: The number of ghouls is totally up to how many you think the party can handle, be challenged by, but not out-right slaughtered. 

As you round the corner, a cloying scent coats the back of your throat, burns, and immediately prompts your gag reflex. Rotten meat. Feces. Death. You desperately fight the urge to vomit. A mound of dead bodies takes up a large amount of space in this cavern. Looking up you can see an opening to a shaft above the pile. Crawling over the pile of corpses are emaciated humanoid creatures with putrid grey skin. Their razor-sharp fangs tear into the flesh of the corpses, their long lashing tongues seeking the most succulent morsels. Their fingers and toes end in sharp, black claws. They seem focused on their feast, occasionally breaking into squabbles between themselves over a choice bite.

Note: The dead bodies are pretty fresh. Most look like the sort of scum that had been attacking Berlstrum the last couple of days. This hole is a handy place for the people of Berlstrum to toss dead bodies. Tossing them into the sea would draw in all sort of horrible monsters!

Ghouls

Ghouls

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 148 for Ghoul stats.


LOOT

Searching through the pile of corpses nets you, well not much really. The bodies were pretty well looted before being tossed down the chute:

  • 2 Onxy Gems (50g each)
  • Chalcedony Gem (50g)


Bringing in a character mid dungeon crawl

One of my players needed to bring in a new character while the group was in the middle of this dungeon crawl. This is description I used to bring him in. It was a bit of a gamble. If the party had decided they didn’t want to mess with the ghouls, this new character probably wouldn’t have gotten very far.

Ghoul Chow

You slowly become aware of your surroundings. It’s impossibly dark. You blink several times. Nothing. You try to move your head to look around. It won’t budge.

You feel weight pressing down on you from every direction, making it impossible to move and difficult to breath. You’re not sure you want to breath anyway. What little air you can get has a dense, cloying scent that coats the back of your throat, burns, and immediately prompts your gag reflex. Rotten meat. Feces. You desperately fight the urge to vomit. The weight pushing on your chest gets worse.

You think you might have passed out for a bit. It’s hard to tell. You manage to breathe through the stench, barely. Your noise feels tickled by hairs.

You wiggle your fingers and toes just to make sure you still have them. Check. You try to move, to shift, to lessen the weight pressing down on you. To scratch your nose. Anything! Something sharp pokes painfully into your back.  A burning sting across your shoulder is followed by the metallic smell of your fresh blood added to the nauseating brew.

A horrific noise, a monstrous howl of hunger muffled by soft tissue. You listen intently. If you could get enough air, dare you cry for help? You hear scrabbling, tearing, more guttural bellows. The weight shifts, presses down on you harder. The hot searing pain of something sharp pushes farther into the flesh of your shoulder.

Wait! Is that the sound of battle?

Before this, the last thing you remember:

Heading back from Castleview, you were almost home when you came upon a rough group of travelers. They asked you if you knew where the champions’ home was. Tired and really just wanting to go to sleep, you nevertheless offered to take them there. And then it all gets kind of hazy.


Up Next: More beastie encounters in the next Dreadstorm installment.

#15 – Berlstrum’s Belly Dungeon Overview

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 15 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

It’s time for a dungeon crawl! A classic in any Dungeons and Dragons adventure … searching for traps … getting lost in the labyrinth of tunnels … slogging through monsters to find a treasure or save the kingdom. Ah, good times! 

The original dungeon was generated by donjon Random Dungeon Generator, but modified for my own nefarious purposes. I confess to having a great time just making the random dungeons with this generator. I find it inspires me with ideas, a lot like my hand-drawn ones without the doodling.  


Searching for the Champions

Some of the following depends on what the players have discovered and discussed with Mayor Cobblekeep. If the group has been playing it close to the chest and not told him anything, he will have no reason to trust them nor give them aid. If they’ve been open with their information and shown him that they are actively trying to save the city and find the champions, then he will tell them …

Berlstrum has a hidden labyrinth of tunnels below the town, called Berlstrum’s Belly. It is a deadly place, full of monsters and traps. Only a few know where all of the secret doors are to the belly (including the mayor, council members, and the champions). The mayor suspects something may have happened to the champions down there and asks the adventurers if they would be willing search the Belly for them?

If they are agreeable, the mayor will provide them with:

  • a map of Berlstrum’s Belly (see below)
  • 4 bullseye lanterns
  • A teleport stone (small, red pebble), which will bring the person holding the stone and anyone touching the user back to Berlstrum’s Town Hall. It’s a single use item. He only has one.
  • 2d4+1 Potions of Healing (common)

Map for the Players

Game master map is at the bottom of the page.

Players' Map of Berlstrum's Belly
Map of Berlstrum’s Belly provided to players by Mayor Cobblekeep; Cartography accuracy is not accuracy.

Getting there – hidden doors

The Mayor will direct the adventurers to go enter via the hidden door in the cellar of the Champion’s Manor (Room I on the Champions’ Manor map)

Kitchen

ChampionsManor-Kitchen
(I) Champions’ Manor Kitchen

The kitchen has cupboards and prep surfaces along most of the walls. Under the window to the east is a heavy slab cutting table. Much of the kitchen was trashed by the looters; doors hanging of the cupboards, foodstuffs tossed onto the floor, shelves emptied, broken jars, cookware, and plates mixed in with the rotting food.

To find the trap door from the kitchen down into the cellar without aid from the Mayor is an Investigation DC 12 if actively looking for it. With the Mayors guidance, the group is directed to move the cutting table to the middle of the room, find the rope inside the cupboard next to the other window, and pull on the rope.

Like the rest of the ground floor of the manor, the floor of the kitchen is made up of large, smooth gray stone. The trap door proves to be a false cover matching the gray stone, but made of lighter material. Pulling the rope inside one of the cupboards causes the trap door to open upward (unless someone happens to be standing it). The hinge is well oiled and opens soundlessly. A ladder leads down into the cellar.

Cellar

Dreadstorms Mansion-cellar-cropped
The Cellar underneath the Kitchen in the Champions’ Manor

The cellar is 15 ft x 15 ft with a 10 ft high ceiling. It seems mostly undisturbed and not used in a while. It’s dusty and smells of damp mildew. Old boxes and barrels take up much of the space.

A compulsive search of the boxes and barrels (Because what adventurer can resist searching boxes and barrels?) will find:

  • 1d4 glass jars of pickled mixed vegetables
  • 1d4 glass jars containing weird clumps of hair floating in pickling fluid
  • 1d4 glass vials filled with nail clippings floating in liquid (Not potions of Giant Strength)
  • A small bag full of animal teeth of varying sizes
  • A silver spoon with an “S” engraved on the handle
  • A bottle of cheap red wine
  • A petrified rat
  • A glass jar containing lard with a label that read, “Goblin Go-Go Grease”

See Dungeon Master’s Guide pgs 160-161 for other random trinkets ideas.

Trap Door to the Belly

Spotting the trap door in the floor of the cellar  is a DC 20 Perception. If a successful Perception spots the outline of the trap door, it still won’t budge without hitting the trigger mechanism.

It is an Investigation DC 20 to find the hidden mechanism to opens the trap door in the cellar without directions from the mayor. If the mayor told you where to look, but is not present, it’s an Investigation DC 10.  If the mayor is there, he’ll point directly to the spot.

The trigger looks like a smudge of dirt amidst other smudges of dirt in the ceiling o (which is 10 ft high), but the smudge is shaped like a skull.  Pushing on the spot reveals a well-hidden trap door on the floor that lifts up and out, revealing stairs down into the dark, dark tunnels.

The stairs descend about 15 feet before leveling out to the floor of the tunnel. At the bottom of the stairs in a lever that closes/opens the door to the cellar.

Do the players leave the door from the kitchen to the pantry open?

Do they leave the door down from the cellar open.

Down into the belly

After 20 feet, there is no light source. It’s very dark.

The narrow tunnel of rough conglomerate stone twists and turns, doubling back upon itself many times, always at a slight downward slop. The width of the tunnel varies from 6 feet to 2 feet. The height is usually around 8 feet, but occasionally goes down to under 5, slowing down the larger party members. There are no side passages or hidden doors are found. The air grows moist the longer they hike down.

The rough stone becomes interlaced with ribbons of the sharp briarstone rock the farther down you go. After 30 minutes of walking, the walls and ceilings are completely composed of briarstone. The floor becomes smooth like black glass.

Briarstone, the Rock

Briarstone is an opaque black rock formation with small, jagged crystal protrusions resembling thorns. When the brittle rock shatters, it creates more jagged protrusions.

At one point it becomes necessary to squeeze through a narrow section of the tunnel. It’s a DEX DC 11 to avoid getting cut by the briarstone. On a failed roll, take 1d6 piercing damage.

It takes an hour of walking before you come to a “entrance” shown on the map. The entrance from the Champions’ Manor is the higher one on the left side of the map.

Berlstrum Belly Overview

Dungeon Walls: Sharp briarstone rock make up the walls and ceiling. The crystals are so sharp that one has to be cautious not to cut themselves on the walls. 1d6 piercing damage if pushed/knocked into the wall or ceiling.

Dungeon Floor: Consists of smooth, black shiny stone. When running on the surface, there’s a chance of falling prone (DEX DC 11) due to the slippery surface. Pushes and slides go twice normal distance.

Illumination: Dark. No natural light available.

 Map for the Game Master

BerlstrumBelly_GM
Map for the Game Master with encounter numbers and trap locations.

 

There’s a lot of information to parse out for this dungeon (cavern/labyrinth/whatever you want to call it). So like any proper evil overlord, I’ll provide that information on the next installment.


Up next: What sort of monsters and traps are in this dungeon? And treasure?! 

#5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

Gatehouse and guard tower
The following blog post is Part 5 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

Guard Duty

The game begins with the players’ characters at 1st level, shiny new Protector Trainees reporting for their first day of guard duty at the south tower of Berlstrum.

If you have 6 or more players, you can split them into 2 teams. Yes! Split the party. It’s always more fun that way. If you have 3-5 players, you will start with twice that number of protectors Protector Trainees reporting for duty as players. 

Stats for several sample NPCs [Non-Player Characters] are at the bottom of the page. Note, this campaign was created for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. Any stats provided are 5E specific, but the rest would probably work in any RPG environment.


Setting

♣ The tower [107] sits immediately outside the South gates, flush to the city wall to the north, the high cliffs at its back, the Free Road passing in front. The tower rises above the city wall by 50 feet. 

The roar of the Thornbreaker River passes under the land bridge to the south of the Tower. Thousands of feet below the water crashes into the Forlorn Bay. The spray from the mighty waterfall leaves everything slightly misted and damp. Incoming traffic has to cross the windy, damp land bridge before approaching the South tower. Traffic leaving Berlstrum goes through an inner gate, down a zig-zag passageway before reaching the outer gate. Neither gate has been lowered in over 10 years. The gate houses [2 & 106] that contain the portcullis mechanisms have become places to store odds and ends, rats’ nests, and spider webs. ♣

Berlstrum 2

Day 1 – Marching Orders

At noon, Kazel and Foreshot Dreadstorm greet the trainees at the base of the South Tower outside the city gates. While Kazel goes over the basics, Foreshot leans against the tower wall, watching them.

Kazel to trainees:

Your mentors feel that you have successfully reached a level in your training that you should be able handle tower duty. You will be at the tower for 7 days. Your job while here is to keep on the lookout for hostiles. You are divided into 2 teams. Every 9 hours the teams rotate positions. Within each 3-person team, it is up to you to decide who gets breaks and when.

Foreshot hands each trainee a smooth, flat-dull-gray river rock with a simple etched rune. The stones are activated by licking them, which the Dreadstorms won’t tell them unless asked. The rune on the rock will glow white when activated and continue to glow until the receiver (one of the Dreadstorms) arrives.

UPPER TOWER GUARDS: One team is inside the tower, at the top to keep an eye out for large incoming groups like caravans, the Sovereign’s Patrol, invading armies, and … yes … even the entertainers parade. In the case of an incoming group – activate one of these stones, which will alert the champions.

GROUND/GATE GUARDS: Each guard should have one of these rune stones on them at all times. DO NOT activate the stone because you’re bored and want to chat. I will shoot you with magic missiles and Foreshot will probably just pummel you to pieces.

You’ve each been issued a bed roll, a canteen, a tinderbox and enough trail rations for 7 days.

Players can note these items on their inventory.

One of us will be by to check on you a couple of times during the week to make sure you haven’t killed yourselves or wandered off. Don’t worry. We haven’t needed to close the city gates in over 10 years. You’ll be fine.

Kazel and Foreshot will then leave the trainees to sort themselves out unless they have any questions.

Guard duty is dull, monotonous, and boring. The first couple of days are pretty uneventful. During this time the players have a chance to role play getting to know their fellow party members. Encourage the players to introduce themselves in character and them to tell you what they do during their guard time. The NPC group will keep themselves separate for the most part unless directly engaged by the party members.


Optional NPCs for the other team of tower guards/NPC:

    • Amira Northwing (level 1 half-elf rogue)
    • Dorn Tallstag Eirkash (level 1 human wizard)
    • Moregore Grayfist Ironbreaker (level 1 dwarf fighter)
    • Stormy Mogwater (level 1 human cleric)

AMIRA NORTHWING

– from the village of Crossover, she heard the rumors of the Champions’ treasure and hopes to find clues while working as a Protector. She hasn’t been a very successful thief yet.

ROGUE 1 ♦ Half-Elf, Medium humanoid, chaotic good

STR 13 (+1) ♦ DEX 20 (+5) ♦ CON 12 (+1) ♦ INT 17 (+3) ♦ WIS 14 (+2) ♦ CHA 10 (+0)

Armor Class 16
Hit Points 9
Speed 30 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +5

Proficiencies
Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +3
Skills: Acrobatics +9, Arcana +5, Athletics + 3, Perception +4, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +7

ACTIONS

Dagger: +7 to hit, range 20/60, 1d4+5 piercing, finesse, light, thrown, underwater

Short sword: +7 to hit, 1d6+5 piercing, finesse, light, underwater

Dart: +7 range to hit, range 20/60, 1d4+5 piercing, finesse, light, underwater

ROGUE TRAITS

Sneak Attack, Cunning Action

MOREGORE GRAYFIST IRONBREAKER

– Morgore grew up in  and has a large, extended family in Berlstrum. Morgorn and Mortengort are his cousins and also good fighters who would go looking for Moregore if he disappeared.

FIGHTER 1 ♦ Dwarf, Medium humanoid (mountain dwarf), neutral

STR 20 (+5) ♦ DEX 18 (+4) ♦ CON 16 (+3) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 10 (+0) ♦ CHA 8 (-1)

Armor Class 17
Hit Points 24
Speed 25 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +4

Languages Common, Dwarvish, Orc

Proficiencies Saving Throws Str +7, Dex +4, Con +5
Skills Acrobatics +6, Athletics +7, Perception +2, Survival +2
Darkvision 60 ft, Resistance poison

ACTIONS

Battleaxe: +7 to hit, 1d8+5 slashing, versatile (1d10)

Longbow: +6 range to hit, range 150/600, 1d8+4 piercing, ammunition, heavy, two-handed

FIGHTER TRAITS
Fighting Style (Protection), Action Surge (One Use)

DORN TALLSTAG EIRKASH

– Young and brash and short (5″1″). His mentor is Haseid Khalid (warlock/archfey pact).

WIZARD 1 (ILLUSION) ♦ Human, Medium humanoid, neutral good

STR 10 (+0) ♦ DEX 13 (+1) ♦ CON 11 (+0) ♦ INT 20 (+5) ♦ WIS 15 (+2) ♦ CHA 10 (+0)

Armor Class 14
Hit Points 6
Speed 30 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +1

Languages Common, Dwarven, Draconic, Elvish

Proficiencies Saving Throws Int +7, Wis +4
Skills Arcana +7, History +7, Insight +4, Investigation +7, Perception +4,

ACTIONS

Attack Spell (Int): Spell +7 to hit

Quarterstaff: +2 to hit, 1d6 bludgeoning (versatile 1d8)


Spellcasting DC 15

Cantrips
Known 3: Poison Spray, Shocking Grasp, Minor Illusion

1st Level:
Prepared 7, Cast per day 2: Mage Armor, Disguise Self, Burning Hands, Fog Cloud, Identify, Magic Missile, Tenser’s Floating Disc

WIZARD TRAITS
Arcane Recovery, Spellbook

STORMY MOGWATER

– Stormy is quiet and reserved. Her mentor is R’dsché Albrĕcktforthen’with (elf cleric)

CLERIC (Light) 1 ♦ Human, Medium humanoid, neutral good

STR 18 (+4) ♦ DEX 10 (+0) ♦ CON 16 (+3) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 20 (+5) ♦ CHA 10 (0)

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 11
Speed 30 ft.
Passive Perception 17
Initiative +0

Languages Common, Draconic, Elvish, Dwarvish

Proficiencies
Saving Throws Str +4, Wis +8, Cha +2
Skills: Acrobatics +2, Athletics + 6, Insight +8, Perception +8, Religion +4

ACTIONS

Mace: +6 to hit, 1d6+4 bludgeoning

Spell Attack (Wis): +8 to hit

Light Crossbow: +2 range to hit, range 80/320, 1d8 piercing


Spellcasting DC 15

Cantrips
Known 5: Spare the Dying, Sacred Flame, Light, Resistance, Thaumaturgy

1st Level:
Known 8, Cast per day 2: Cure Wounds, Burning Hands, Sanctuary, Protection from Evil and Good, Sheild of Faith, Faerie Fire, Create or Destroy Water, Detect Magic

CLERIC TRAITS
Divine Domain Feature (Warding Flare)

Up Next: Guard duty!? Well, this will be dull. OR will it?! What excitement awaits our players in the Guard Tower? #6 – Guard Duty! Go! – Dreadstorms Lost

#3.5 Deadly Omega 6 – Origins – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 3.5 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

The Backstory of the Backstory

At one point in the D&D game, my players wanted to get more information about the adventuring group, the Deadly Omega 6, the group that made the Dreadstorms famous and won them the champion post in Berlstrum. The group tracked down  a bard and a known friend of the Dreadstorms, Jester Red.

I had a vague backstory for the Omegas, but was now forced to flush it out. Since they went to a bard, I wanted them to feel like they were hearing this from a great storyteller. I wrote out the basic story. Then I contacted my brother, Robert Boylan, and pleaded with him to do his ninja-writing magic on my story and make it more bard-like. He accepted the challenge. With a few back and forths for clarity, I was delighted with the final version of his labors.

Next I cajoled Paul Willman, with his melodious baritone voice, to record a reading of the Deadly Omega 6 story. He was patient and an awesome sport. We downloaded a free audio editor and recorder called Audacity, that worked great without any special equipment. The reading ended up being 17 minutes long. So I edited out as many pause where I could and upped the speed. Sadly, Paul’s beautiful baritone isn’t even recognizable anymore. The final version is 13-½ minutes long. Below is the link to the YouTube 

 

The Origins of the Deadly Omega 6 as told by Jester Red [YouTube]

YouTube audio with static image


The Members of The Deadly Omega 6

  1. Samora Ganzee – warlock/sorcerer– human, female
  2. Foreshot [formerly Forest Norborough] – ranger – human, female
  3. Gorshuk Planke – rogue assassin – half-elf, male
  4. Kazel Dreadstorm – wizard – dark elf, male
  5. Ames Albrecht – cleric – halfling, male
  6. Laibazarbit “Bit” Graystone – fighter – tiefling, female

The written version:

The Origns of the Deadly Omega 6 as told by Jester Red

by Heather Boylan & Robert Boylan

Give cease to the wagging of your tongues and the slurping as your teeth pull meat from bone. Stifle too the clanking of tankards, the chinking of plates, the shifting of chairs, and the noisome passing of gas from either throat or anus. Be still and attend this humble word-smith. Tonight, I shall paint a history of the group now known as the Deadly Omega Six.

Ah, I see from your faces the deeds of these heroes are not unknown to many of you.

Let me take you back, long before they achieved a modicum of fame.

Our tale begins—

Hey, barbarian in the back! Yes, you! Shut your yammering ale-hole or take it outside.

Now, where was I?

Yes, our tale …

It begins in the sleepy village of Westend, where dwelt Samora Ganzee, her parents, and her four siblings. Their days of idyllic living came to abrupt end with the arrival of the Torken Raiders.

Yes, I see some of you shudder at the very name, as well you should.

It was a gloomy autumn morning when that foul assemblage of humans, orcs, hobgoblins, and ogres set their sights on Westend. By evening’s fall, the village was a wasteland of embers and ash mixed with the lifeblood of livestock. Fortunate were the villagers who perished that day, for the survivors had to endure the raiders’ lusts and needs for violence, day upon day.

As you may have guessed, Samora and her family numbered among these unfortunates.

I shall not curl the food in your bellies with descriptions of the cruelties the Torken visited upon their captives or the games of bloodsport they were forced to participate in. Suffice it to say it was a precarious existence of despair, misery, and pain.

It is no wonder Samora’s parents sought to escape with their children. Their bid for freedom, however, failed. For this offense, the Torkens publicly flayed the youngest of them. Samora could shut her eyes to that grisly spectacle, but nothing could keep the girl’s screams from her ears.

In the days and months that followed, those screams continued to echo in Samora’s mind as she did what was necessary to survive. Powerless and without agency, she could not hope for more. In such conditions time loses its meaning. Days blend into an unending blur of agony and horror.

Eventually, though, something unexpected occurred.

It came in the form of strange man. With a well-groomed salt and pepper hair, neatly trimmed beard, and spotless clothing, Samora took him for a noble. No way he was one of the Torken. Odd, then, he had strolled through the raiders’ camp without drawing the least attention.

He came up to Samora as she sat stroking the hair of her sleeping sister Zandoval, her only family member attrition had not claimed.

He squatted next to her and whispered in a low voice that sent shivers down her spine, “Would you be free of this rabble? I can make that happen for you.”

“How?” she managed dully. Hope was not an emotion she possessed any longer.

The man pulled two sickles from behind his back. Unlike the simple farming implement she knew, these were not made of metal. Instead they seemed formed of crescents of obsidian. Sluggish green lights danced in the depths of the material.

He held them out to her. “Take the Ebonairre Twins and learn.”

With the handles pressed so close to her, Samora instinctively gripped them. In that moment, she felt a terrible power suffuse her body. Her vision tinted green, and she sprang to her feet with a boundless, hungry energy.

Grok, the ogre who was her chief tormentor, spied her sudden movement. He lumbered over to her. “What you got there?”

Without conscious thought, Samora slashed with the sickles, crossing them just under his chin.

The ogre’s head flopped back as the muscles in his neck separated and blood fountained. Someone screamed, and others shouted angrily. After that, things became hazy as she sank into a manic frenzy. All she knew was a pounding in her head like tribal drums and a flash of faces too quick to register.

When she finally regained her senses, the sun peaked above the hills.

She stood amidst carnage, drenched in blood, none of it hers. Raiders and captives alike had been cut down. The unholy weapons still in Samora’s hands dripped gore. There could be no doubt she had been the source of the devastation.

She found Zandoval among the dead. Numb beyond the reach of grief or guilt, Samora could do naught but stare down at the body. A jagged stroke had nearly cleaved her head from her shoulders.

“Master is most pleased,” an icy whisper tickled her ear. She turned to see the strange man standing there. Nary a drop of blood marred his pristine suit. He gripped her by the elbow and pulled her along. “Come, pet. I have work for you.”

Behind them, the dead began to twitch. In moments, they rose and shuffled off in all directions.

[pause … drink ale … ]

It would not be until much later that Samora learned that this event constituted a binding pact as far as the demon lord Orcus was concerned. Over time, she gained strength and confidence and sought ways to subvert his thrall.

Perhaps her most significant step towards ridding herself of his influence came the day she learned she need not face the struggle alone. That revelation came about in a tavern in Skalia, so insignificant it did not possess a name.

Upon entering, Samora’s eyes were immediately drawn to the barkeep. By all accounts the lad was possessed of an allure that many women found desirable. He certainly filled Samora’s mind with randy thoughts. She sidled up to the bar and in her direct way said, “When you’re done serving drinks, you and I should set my room a-shaking.”

This proposal found favor with the lad. However, a lady who called herself Foreshot had just spent a half hour flirting with the barkeep intending to take him back to her room. Having invested that time, Foreshot was not well disposed towards this interloper. The two women exchanged heated words. Tempers flared, and fists flew. This spark of violence quickly precipitated an all-encompassing tavern brawl.

The local watch broke it up in due course and deposited the combatants in jail cells to cool off overnight. As fate would have it Samora and Foreshot were dumped in adjacent cells. Instead of fueling further animosity between them, this proximity gave rise to an enduring friendship.

Just in case any of you are curious, Foreshot later found opportunity to return to that tavern and sample that barkeep’s bedroom skills. She found the experience completely unsatisfying, telling Samora, “By the Great Stag, for all those pretty muscles, he was hung like a halfling.”

Seems there’s a life lesson in that for all of you, yes?

So anyway, also in attendance at that tavern on the same night as these two women first met was one Pasha Hassen bin Miluk. A man of his self-perceived importance would normally never be caught dead in such a dive. But on this particular night, he had it in his mind to engage in a bit of slumming and debauchery. He got more than he bargained for.

During the brawl, one of Samora’s wild elbows caught him in the mouth, and he lost three teeth. For this grave assault upon his person, Hassen hired the assassin Gorshuk Planke to bring back Samora’s head. Now it should be said, Gorshuk despised the Pasha and wanted nothing more than to rid the simpering fop the rest of his teeth.

Unfortunately, work had been scarce, since Gorshuk had botched his last kill. He needed the coin. More importantly he needed to salvage his reputation.

With great care, he selected an ambush site just outside of Skalia. He did not have to wait long for his quarry to appear. The moment was perfect. The sun was angled just right to shine in the women’s eyes. What little breeze blew flowed directly towards them. No crowds were present to distract them or him.

He sighted down his crossbow, exhaled, and squeezed the trigger.

And the bolt whizzed over their heads by more than three feet. It stuck some poor ass in the hindquarters. The poor beast raised quite the ruckus, as you can quite imagine. This is why later the champions would often grouse Gorshuk about “pinning the tail” on their foes.

Legend has it that Samora and Foreshot exercised some deft diplomacy to convince Gorshuk to forswear his commission and join with them. That’s complete bullocks. Truth is the half-elf was flummoxed and mortified with his dismal aim. In that moment, he suffered a crisis of professional confidence. Reaching such an emotional crossroads, a lesser man might have sought suicide by adventurer, but Gorshuk was instead moved to change the course of his life.

When Foreshot jokingly said he should slink out of town with them, he jumped at the chance.

Unbeknownst to Gorshuk, even if he had successfully carried out his mission, Hassen never would have paid the fee. At the time of the ambush, the Pasha was busy venting all his blood out through a dozen holes in his chest. He had mouthed off to a gnome in the market square, and she demonstrated just why she was called Agnes the Asp.

Probably another life lesson there, hmm.

Say, barmaid, could I trouble you for that foaming flagon in your hand? I’m not sure I’ll be able to continue if my throat grows more parched. Ah, thanks, you’re a dear.

So, these three worthies set forth with adventure in the offing, and unlike many such adventurers they did not immediately find themselves quick deaths. In due course, they set upon a quartet of ogres in a dank cave. After slaughtering the hapless brutes, they made an unexpected discovery: a naked, angry wizard, trussed-up and soaking in a marinade.

At first, they assumed the spicy sauce had blackened his skin.  It was only after they had exchanged names that they realized he was, in fact, a dark elf. (Make not the mistake of referring to him as a drow. He’d like as to shove a wand up your nose and trigger it for such an insult.)

This dark elf, Kazel Dreadstorm, was grateful to have been spared the cookpot and was more than a little smitten with Foreshot. This uncharacteristic onset of emotion both intrigued and terrified Kazel. As such, he felt compelled to study the matter further, like it was some sort of logic problem that would yield its secrets if only he applied his mind to it. However, he could not further his inquiry without proximity to his research subject. So, he convinced the others to let him join their little band.

Kazel is also the one who came up with their group’s name, the Deadly Omega Four: Deadly because it sounded menacing, four because they numbered four, and Omega just because he liked the way the word rolled off his tongue. None of the others cared if they had a name, so the appellation stuck.

Four soon became Six with the addition of halfling Ames Albrecht and tiefling Laibazarbit Graystone. These two sought to rob the Four for their food and water. At the time, both were suffering from the effects of extreme hunger, dehydration, and exposure, so their attempt failed pathetically.

Foreshot took pity on them and offered to let them share their meal. They wisely stuck around after the food was gone. These two city-dwellers never revealed how they came to be stranded in the wilderness without supplies. Some have speculated they ran afoul of a wizard’s teleportation trap. Others are of the opinion they were the sole survivors of an ill-fated caravan or adventuring company.

Personally, I subscribe to the theory that the pair got blind drunk one night, and their erstwhile friends played a cruel prank on them.

In any case, assembling a group of adventurers is not an uncommon thing. I count at least two such parties in the audience tonight. What makes the Deadly Omega Six special is where they opted to direct their heroic intent.

As all you gentlefolk may have surmised from earlier in this tale, Samora found herself shackled to an infernal power. This was not a bargain she had sought or ever actually accepted. More than anything, she wanted to be free of it.  And her companions agreed to help her find a way.

Through might and magic, through faith and guile, their quest eventually led them into the Abyss to the demesne of the demon lord Orcus. Now, the Omega Six were not fool-hearty enough to confront such a powerful being in the seat of his power. Instead they infiltrated the foul abattoir of Orcus’ Grand Inquisitor Zerk.

This particular fell being was the one who yanked the chains which bound Samora to Orcus and made demands of her in his name.A direct confrontation with someone as powerful as Zerk would also have been tantamount to suicide. Fortunately, for their purposes, they did not need Zerk dead. They just needed leverage. And they found it in the form of a fell artifact called the Eye of Orcus.

The demon lord himself had charged his lieutenant Zerk with the Eye’s safekeeping.

Zerk could not very well go to his liege and explain that an insignificant group of plane-raiders had circumvented his security, stolen the Eye, escaped to their backwater on the Prime Material, and successfully hidden it somewhere that blocked all the Eye’s malignant emanations. His master would never tolerate such gross failure.

Rather than bring such ruin down upon himself, Zerk acquiesced to Samora’s demands and freed her from Orcus’ service. And to ensure Zerk did not later seek retribution, the Omega Six retained possession of the Eye.

Few are the mortals who can successfully negotiate with the infernal and emerge with both their lives and souls intact. The Deadly Omega Six managed it.

But, if any of you think you might be clever enough to repeat this feat, I caution you against it. Odds are you’ll more likely to find a horrible death or worse.

Of course, it’s only those who dare the impossible and succeed who find immortality in bards’ tales.

On that note, I bid you all a fair evening. May your paths be rosy and your burdens light.

Oh, and one last thing. I do welcome your gifts and donations.

Thank you.

You may resume your revelries now.


 Next up: A Non Player Characters (NPCs) grab-no-go list for Berlstrum and beyond! #4 NPCs of Dreadstorms Lost

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

#3 – The Champions – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 3 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

As you might gather from the title, the Dreadstorms play an important role in this D&D campaign. Finding out what happened to the champions is one of the key goals for the adventurers. So the question is, at what point do I put the answers to the quiz? The answer to what is going on behind the scenes. To what happened to the champions. To what lead up to the events?


Champions of Berlstrum

Kazel and Foreshot Dreadstorm have been Berlstrum’s champions for over a decade. Berlstrum has enjoyed peace and prosperity under their protection. The champions work with the mayor and town council in regards to town safety. They deal with any dangerous elements threatening the town.

In exchange for their service, the champions have been given a manor/castle to live in and a regular stipend from the Sovereign. Only the Sovereign can award the position of champion to a town.

Human female and white haired elf embraceBefore Kazel and Foreshot were offered the champions post in Berlsturm, they were a part of the Deadly Omega 6 gang. (More on these guys in the next installment.) Bards delight in singing tales of these great heroes’ deeds. Some of it might even be true.

Rumors of a hidden treasure from the couple’s infamous adventuring days are a topics of idle speculation, but nothing has ever been found. Berlstrum does get the occasional visitors wanting to challenge the pair for reputation gain or in hopes of finding their fabled stash. They are dealt with harshly.

Foreshot was a highly talented ranger in her adventuring days. She prefers to avoid the limelight whenever possible, spending a lot of her time hunting game and roaming monsters outside the city walls.

As part of the Protector Program, Foreshot is mentoring Clemens in the ways of the ranger. He has a room on the lower floor of their manor.

Foreshot is a tempering influence on Kazel. Without her, he tended to be a bit looser with his morals. Kazel is devoted to his wife, Foreshot, but worries about her  human lifespan.

Kazel considers himself a dark elf. Anyone who suggests he is drow will see the might of his fury and possibly a magic missile at their nearest possessions.

Kazel Dreadstorm is a “retired” wizard who sells potions, scrolls, and enchantments in his shop, The Glass Eye. With his beautiful dark elven skin and luscious silky white hair, he gets a lot of visitors who come to flirt with the famous champion. Kazel is good at redirecting these fanciful flirtations into sale at his store.

The Protector Program

Kazel and Foreshot created the Protector Program to aid in the day-to-day protection of the city. Those with aptitude and desire to learn the skills to become potential guardians, soldiers, adventurers are given training in their chosen field of interest. The program is intended to teach survival outside the safety a city’s walls and encourages exploration of the world.

In exchange for the free training, each Protector Trainee spends one week each month as a town guard; usually sentry duty or assisting with minor nuisances. Trainees are not paid wages, but are provided with a mentor who gives them room and board in exchange for work (varies depending on the mentor). Mentors are volunteers. Quality varies.

The trainees all meet weekly in the Champions’ Manor meeting hall where current problems are discussed, schedules handed out, and stories of past glories told.


For Game Master Only:

Our heroes have heard the call for protectors. And each for their own reasons has answered the call and successfully become a protector trainee. They will begin the adventure at 1st level. Details on the starting scenario next issue!

Recently, the Dreadstorms have been sending bards to recruit for the Protector Program and seem intent on increasing their numbers. Their bard friend, Jester Red, has been especially helpful in locating potential participants throughout the country of Briarstone. 

A secret only a very few know is that Foreshot is pregnant and the soon-to-be parents want to make sure that their town has sufficient protection when their champions will be most vulnerable.


 Next up: Okay. Now we know who the Champions are. But what about that group, the Deadly Omega 6? They sound cool. What’s their story? #3.5 Deadly Omega 6 – Origins – Dreadstorms Lost

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

#2 – Berlstrum – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign

Drawing of a village with small creek, footbridge,
The following blog post is Part 2 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

This next installment of my D&D 5th Edition homebrew campaign settiing is the town where this  adventure begins. I find a lot of the details of the city (and the rest of the world) were in my head and only really cemented when a player asks for clarification. 

If there is some detail about the campaign setting that you would like to know, please leave a comment below.


The Town of Berlstrum

Map with buildings identified on the second page [PDF]: Berlstrum_with_index

Berlstrum 2

Berlstrum perches atop briarstone cliffs along the eastern coast of Briarstone. The cliffs under Berlstrum are riddled with hard-to­-reach caves. Those who have try to explore the caves haven’t returned.

On the sides not protected by sheer cliffs, the town has a thick wall guarding it from predators. The wall is 20 feet thick and 25 feet high, topped with crenelation for patrolling guards. By land, the North and South Gates are the only way in and out of Berlstrum.

The raging Thornbreaker River drops thousands of feet from the cliffs into Forlorn Bay. A large land bridge arches over the waterfall, connecting Berlstrum to the southern part of the country. The Free Road travels over the land bridge and is vital for the country’s North-South trading route.

Due to the many brutally sharp briarstone protrusions littering the Forlorn Bay, a harbor guide is vital to ensure a ship’s safe passage to and from the Obsidian Sea. Roaming sea monsters add to the difficulty of navigating the harbor entrance.

Town on a cliff with bridge over waterfallBoats are elevated to the docks with clever gnomish machinery. Captains willing to brave the harbor find it an excellent location for hull maintenance. Teams of workers use specially designed rigging repair and clean the underside of ships.

Small channels of water run throughout Berlstrum. Small foot bridges are common.

Berlstrum is relatively isolated from national politics and enjoys relative autonomy due to the distance to capitol, Greater Breen. Most of their official news comes the Sovereign’s Free Road patrols.

The town has a reputation for being accepting of different races shunned by the more “civilized” town. Tieflings, Orcs, Dopplegangers, Drow, Dragonborn are common sights within the city walls.

It is rumored that in years long past, a dragon once lived in the caves below Berlstrum. Most think it’s just a story to scare the kids.

Berlstrum is run by a mayor and 7 council members. They deal with local governing, decide punishments for mischief, and adjudicate disputes. Exile is a severe punishment for crimes within the town. The town’s champions provide protection and coordinate with the mayor & council on possible threats. The Champions of Berlstrum have a well-known reputation that keeps most sentient beings at bay.


The government

Mayor: Cobblekeep Lightdiggerson (Halfling)
*Stats below

Council Members:

  1. Mostrad Ust (Human, Owner Katrin’s Cafe)
  2. Wabae Txatin (Human, Cleric at Medical Aid Emporium)
  3. Gwantomo “Tomo” Prok (Elf, Farmer)
  4. Grant Tan (Orc, Owner Survival Gears Store)
  5. Agosta Amagoste (Dragonborn, Farmer, Fighter Trainer)
  6. Xendric Hornblower (Dwarf, Owner Xendric’s)
  7. R’dsche Albreckt (Elf, Head of one of the Churches in Berlstrum, Cleric Trainer)
  8. Stand-in Hammond Seedrikson (Human, Farmer)

Cobblekeep Lightdiggerson

small humanoid (lightfoot halfling)
Armor Class 13 (no armor)
Hit Points 9
Speed 25 ft.

STR 10 (+0) ♦ DEX 17 (+3) ♦ CON 13 (+1) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 12 (+1) ♦ CHA 17 (+3)

Proficiencies (+2 proficiency bonus)

Saving Throws DEX +5, INT +5
Skills: Perception +5, History +2, Insight, +3, Persuasion +5, Performance +5

Halfling Traits:

Halfling Nimbleness. You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
Lucky. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Naturally Stealthy. You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured by a
creature that is at least one size larger than you.

 


Next up: Who are the Champions? And why do they matter to our story?  #3 – The Champions – Dreadstorms Lost

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

#1 – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign – Overview

Map of Briarstone
The following blog post is Part 1 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes: World Building

I created the Dreadstorm Lost Dungeons and Dragons campaign and the wider world of Briarstone to run some friends through a D&D 5th Edition game. Why? Because I’m crazy? Probably. World building is exhausting, thrilling, frustrating, and ever-changing in a role-playing game (RPG) thanks to the decisions, interactions, and observations of players in the game. In a pre-generated story like the Curse of Strahd, I don’t feel like I have the sort of flexibility and creativity that I can in my own world. That and I like coloring within my own lines, thank you very much.

To start, here is the map of the continent: Briarstone-Continent Map-Hz [PDF] (Free for noncommercial reuse.) This is an every changing map as I add more details, towns, and roads. And thus begins the campaign setting information dump!


Dreadstorm Lost Campaign: Continent

Continent overview

The continent is divided into three countries, Briarstone, Heshtia, and Glort. The enormous, raging Roone River divides the southern half of the content and is the much-contested border between the nations of Briarstone and Heshtia. The country of Glort controls the northern half of the continent. Briarstone is by the far the largest and richest of the three nations.

The Obsidian Ocean has violent storms, aggressive sea creatures, and sudden whirlpools. Only the bravest or foolhardy venture into these perilous waters.

Map of BriarstoneTHE NATION OF BRIARSTONE

The nation of Briarstone has the largest influence of magic users in positions of power. Humans make up the largest percentage of the Briarstonian population, but the other races are well represented.

The capitol city of Briarstone is Greater Breen on the Southern Coast where the nation’s Sovereign resides. The Sovereign is a shadowy figure that is both feared and respected, though very little is know about them.

The Sovereign selects Champions of Briarstone as reward for heroics to crown and country. The Champions are awarded a town to protect and in return receive a comfortable stipend. The position of Champion is considered retirement for exceptional adventurers lucky enough to survive that long.

Briarstone gets its name from the briarstone rock that can only be found along the cliffs of Northeastern Coast.

Briarstone – The Rock

Briarstone is an opaque black rock formation with small, jagged protrusions resembling thorns. When the brittle rock shatters, it creates more jagged protrusions.

The Shredding Cliffs of Briarstone along the northern coastline are made up almost entirely of Briarstone, making them impossible to climb. The cliffs run hundreds of miles along the coastline and in places are several miles deep as well as high.

The Forlorn Bay is littered with small islands of Briarstone, making passage from the Obsidian Sea into the harbor of Berlstrum a perilous task. The Forlorn Bay is rumored to be haunted from the numerous ship wrecks caused by the thorny stones. Without a Harbor Guide, navigating the briarstone hazards is suicide.

The Free Road is a major trade route running the North-South length of Briarstone. The Sovereign’s military regularly patrols the length of the Free Road. The patrol gathers taxes, shares general news, pays town protectors, and reports any town requests back to the Sovereign. If additional assistance is needed from the capitol, additional taxes are levied on the towns.

The lands south of the Marmont mountain ranges are considered the “civilized” areas of Briarstone. In the North, most townsfolk stay within the protection of the town walls.

The Roone River marks Briarstone’s western boundary On the Heshtia. Heshtia covets Briarstone’s mineral rich mountains, bountiful farmlands, and tropical beaches. Constant tension in the form of skirmishes and raids occur, but the countries are offi cially at peace. Skalia, Kantodo, and Zanzobar, Briarstone towns on the riverbanks of Roone River, all have a regular military presence because of tensions with Heshtia.

THE NATION OF HESHTIA

Heshtia has predominately an elfish and human population. Humans and half-elves are considered lower class citizens in Heshtia. Human slaves are a status symbol for the wealthy.

The east half of Heshtia is rolling green mountains, the west mostly arid desert lands. The capitol city, Alamorey, is nestled within the central hills.

The majority of Heshtian population live along the Roone River and along the Southern Coast. Tensions have been brewing over Roone River water rights.

THE NATION OF GLORT

To the north is the country of Glort, a mixed population of orc, dragonborn, dwarf, and gnome. Each race has areas of geographic majority. Glorters are a rugged, no-nonsense type people.

The capitol city of Glort is Taje Tgem on the northern edge of Lake Iver.

Glort is a cold land made up of a many frigid lakes, jagged, snowy mountains, and rocky hills. Herd animals and fish are the primary sources of food for the nation. Grains and produce are luxuries shipped in from Briarstone.

The Terrunium metals mined from Glorter mountains hold special properties. Once processed, items made with Terrunium are lighter weight, stronger, and bond more easily with magic [ie: versatile, more durable, advantage to stealth, can hold more than one enchantment]. Only Glorter Blademasters know the secret to molding and enchanting Terrunium into the world-famous Terrunium armors and weapons.

NOMADS/TORKEN RAIDERS

Nomadic tribes roam northwest of the Roone River between the desert lands of Northern Heshtia and the barren planes of Southern Glort. They claim loyalty to no nation and ignore political boundaries and petty disputes between countries. These nomadic tribes are often mistaken as the vicious Torken Raiders by outsiders. 


Next up: Where it all starts, the Town of Berlstrum #2 – Berlstrum – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost


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