Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ruined Halls of Esterfay: Strangeness in the Megadungeon

As I return to playing my campaign and dust off the binder containing the dozens of pages of megadungeon maps and notes, I remember all the cool random things tucked away in the dungeon that the players last time through got to see. There were also countless things they didn't get to see, because that's just the nature of a megadungeon. When you're first dungeon level has six hundred rooms the players are going to skip over a few things.

I thought I'd share a few of my weirder things here. Maybe someone can borrow something and put it to good use.

The Fountain of Youth and Beauty

I love making dangerous fountains. Just something about a beautiful fountain in a cursed and deadly place makes me cackle like a mad man. I think it goes back to when I was young and first read the Dungeon Builder's Guidebook. There was this excellent picture of a group messing with a fountain and getting sprayed with deadly acid. That has always stuck with me, and perhaps makes up a core of my being.

A large chamber somewhat near the entrance of the dungeon. On the walls leading up to it, the kobolds that live in the area have scratches warnings to their fellows into the wall. The players might see the two foot high cross scratches by the time they hear the fountain bubbling and splashing.

The chamber lights up when light is brought inside, reflected upon the perfectly polished mirrors that line the walls. There is a wide hall exit from the four cardinal directions of the room. There is also a 1 in 6 chance of there being a skeleton or rotting body laying next to one of the mirrors, but the giant rats and slimes that clean this section of the dungeon usually sweep through here for an easy feast.

In the center of the chamber is a massive fountain of polished white marble. A statue of a maiden with a strange looking face- vertical eye slits, fanged mouth and naked - sprays water from her outstretched hands into the pool around her. The water shimmers clean and bright. A few coins sit on the bottom of the pool, from countless travelers making a wish.

Effects of the Fountain

Drinking from the fountain has a variety of effects. Failing a charisma/personality test causes the character to gain a point of the stat. Their ugliness fades, wrinkles and scars vanish and they just radiate attractiveness.

Succeeding on the roll does not grant beauty, but it does grant youth. Restoring a lost year to the character from a sip, making them younger.

Either way, a character that drinks must make a saving throw (will in DCC) to avoid drinking again. In my game the DC was 15, +2 for each drink the character has had. Failing causes the character to become addicted to the beauty they can receive from the fountain and gorge themselves on the water. Unless physically stopped from drinking (and they will fight to drink) they will unmake themselves in a matter of minutes.

After drinking, even with making a save to resist drinking again, the character must make another will save to leave the room, failure meaning they stop to stare at themselves in any mirrors they pass (remember the walls here are also covered in mirrors). They will waste away staring at themselves in the mirror, their vanity becoming so great they wont eat or drink anything for a week save for staring in any available mirror.

Mimics in DCC - AKA Dwarfbane

In Dungeon Crawl Classics, the dwarf has the ability to smell gold at a distance of up to one hundred feet. As I thought about the monsters that might inhabit my megadungeon, I thought about what sort of evolutionary changes I could make in a classic monster to make it fit into the setting. I always loved mimics, and somehow this idea popped into my head: Mimics love the taste of dwarf flesh.

Mimics in my world have developed the ability to smell like gold to a dwarf. Each one is born with a strange cluster of gold in an organ in their body. They can "flex" this muscle to emit a potent waft of "gold smell" out of their body. They often incorporate gold into the camouflaged forms they take when laying in wait for food.

This has led to some interesting encounters with mimics, when the party allows the dwarf to lead them around by his nose.
Post a Comment