So I’m back at the Sample Dungeon. Given the limited number of comments and page views I suspect that this is something of a vanity project, but that knowledge won’t dissuade me from seeing it through. Once complete, I’ll do something with the finished product and provide access to it from here in an easier to use format other than just the collected blog posts. For the time being I've made a separate page with everything I've done so far collected into one place.
Lacking access to areas 24 through 38 via the secret door in area 3, this upcoming series of rooms ( 14 through 23) represents a sort of climax (or false climax) for the dungeon level. Here, for most of the time, resides the restless spirit of the long dead abbot of the monastery. When an invading army sacked the abbey in search of the legendary magical gem hidden here, the abbot was slain and his body dumped unceremoniously into the pool in area 2. But with his dying breath he brought a curse down upon the ruin and all those within, himself included. Now he remains behind as a specter and his principal killers reside in the crypt areas (24 through 38) as ghouls.
Room 14 & 16
If the party has not yet encountered the specter (named Ergon) there is a 5 in 6 chance that he is present here. In the event that the party has met the specter its presence here may be dictated by circumstance or by simply rolling as above.
The air seems blacker, colder and denser here than elsewhere in the ruin. It presses ominously about you on all sides and your breath feels more labored than it should. A great, vaulted chamber extends away from you and into the bleak shadows beyond. The walls and floors here are of dressed stone and well-fitted. The floor everywhere is covered with bones, debris and dark, rust-colored stains. Faintly you hear suffering calls and pleading cries for help coming from all around, but you see no living occupants nearby.
When the abbey was sacked many of its occupants perished here when they were caught and run down by the invaders (they were fleeing to area 18). The strange calls that the characters hear are the ghostly manifestations of the monks’ final struggle. The bones, debris and blood stains upon the floor are all that remain of those massacred.
Exploring the room, the players may eventually meet the specter of Ergon, the late and final abbot of the monastery. His pale, translucent figure glides about the chamber dressed in torn, “bloody” vestments similar to those found in room 7, though his garb possesses more embellishments to denote his rank. Among these embellishments is an amulet worn upon a chain. The amulet is actually the ghostly rendering of the key found in area 2 upon the abbot’s remains. Ergon continues to “bleed” from a number of nasty looking wounds, including a likely life-ending sword stroke that nearly clove the top portion of his head in two. Ergon’s appearance, the bones and detritus of the room and the ghostly wailings of the long dead monks should all be played-up to evoke a sense of bleakness and fear.
Ergon will not attack the party unless provoked. If engaged in combat, Ergon will only follow a fleeing party out of area 14 & 16 on a roll of 1 in 6. Indeed, the specter will largely ignore the party unless the DM rolls a “friendly” result on a reaction roll or the party dons the priestly vestments located in area 7 when attempting to communicate. In either event, the specter will seem distracted and disconnected when engaged in conversation, but he will reveal the following information if asked directly:
- His name (Ergon) and his former position (abbot of the monastary)
- Where he was slain (area 2)
- His killers dwell in the crypt areas and often leave the ruin to capture and feed upon people from nearby villages
- The crypt areas may be accessed via the secret passageway in area 3 (but he won’t remember how to activate the secret door)
- The monastery guarded a great treasure (he will absentmindedly handle the amulet/ key about his neck when relating this information). He won’t confirm that the treasure (the gem) is still here and will become hostile if pressed for this information
- His order served the god Horkos, who presides over the gateway to the Land of the Dead and punishes oath-breakers
- He attributes the fall of the monastery and his undeath to the punishment of Horkos, necessitated by the order’s use of powerful, forbidden magics to extend the lives of its principal members (he will absentmindedly handle the amulet/ key about his neck when relating this information)
- That he (Ergon) was over two centuries old when laid low at the time of the sacking, his life extended as a result of activities related to # 7 above
Ergon will not reveal the resting place of the magical gem (area 29) nor the nature of the crypt areas beyond their existence. Pressing him on either of these two topics has a 1 in 6 chance of making him hostile and likely to attack. There are no valuable items amongst the debris of this area.
Observant characters will note mist emitting faintly from beneath both doors to area 17 & 18.