Monday, June 3, 2024

10-Room Dungeon Brainstorm: Tomb of the Honorable Order of Glory (& Possibly Justice)

I had started this 10-room dungeon back in March when I started a side campaign to a Traveller campaign that never made out of character generation. The side campaign was in Knave (and also tragically never got past a very bumpy session 1) and I had named it "Knave Side Stories." I'd started this dungeon (working title was KSS Dungeon A) and had made it as a dungeon to use after finishing a cute adventure called "The Matchmakers" out of Dungeon Magazine Issue 7. I'd intended the scenario to be something for level 2-4.
I originally wrote this brainstorm by hand in some notebook paper and definitely waxed too much. I've finally typed it up, though. As I write up these brainstorms, make assumptions and then build on them further, I end up with an idea that's implied from the various entries. The brainstorm mentions things which aren't actually developed in the brainstorm and effectively say to brainstorm something further. Once I finish the brainstorming of the original prompts, I'd like to map the rooms onto an actual map and dungeon description. 
I've tried to keep the flavor and description of the order fairly vague so that the referee can tailor it into their campaign setting. 
Below is the brainstorm that I'd written up. I've already made and keyed a map for this dungeon and I hope that soon I'll post it along with a dungeon description that I'll be formatting to a PDF and upload for itch.
Hook: This dungeon has a great and impressive treasure that's acquired a legendary status. The dungeon is a tomb claimed to hold a magic sword and a library of spellbooks.
General Background: The dungeon is a tomb from a culture that attached significance to keeping valuables in burial chambers. The tomb is well known for its valuables and many raiders have tried to raid it before. The raiding has disturbed the dead and now the Order walks their tomb as undead.
A band of hobgoblin tomb raiders has managed to confine the undead to a part of the tomb while they prepare to either leave with what treasure they've found or delve deeper into the tomb they'd barricaded. The hobgoblins also mean to defend the tomb from rival tomb raiders while they're looting it.
Combat #1: This room is host to the majority of the hobgoblins and their leader, Garbog Blood-Fist (HD 3, AC 3, +2 damage). Garbog is arrogant but still worried about how they'll delve deeper into the tomb. Many of the hobgoblins have expressed the idea of leaving with what treasure they've found. 1d8+2 hobgoblins and 2d6 goblins.
Empty #1: In this room is a bunch of broken furniture and rubbish scattered across the floor. In the corner of the room are the desiccated remains of a corpse. Inspection reveals it to be the corpse of a human. Its hide armor and the various gear it had has been spilled around, presumably looted, and has since rotted into nothing useful. Plenty of light in this room from the party will reveal two instances of graffiti on the walls. In charcoal paste “Hildefarnicor was here” is written on the wall in common. There is an errant mark towards the end of the writing, also in charcoal paste. In dried blood “Garbog Blood-Fist killed Hildefarnicor here” is smeared on same wall.
Combat #2: This room is a burial chamber with several chests in it. There is a mural on the wall that has a holy symbol of a god of honor and/or war and has the words “Swear by [God] and Honor the Protection of the Innocent and Virtuous and the Pursuit of Duty and Glory.” Not looting this room and swearing an oath to uphold these virtues on an altar elsewhere in the dungeon allow the PCs a special boon (something like a GLOG shrine).
If the PCs open the chests and look through them (or pass into a forbidden room, if one is adjacent), skeletons rise from sarcophagi and recesses in the walls. The 6 skeletons from the sarcophagi wear armor and wield swords while the 8 skeletons from the recesses are unarmored and unarmed.
More General Background: I'll keep the Order that built the tomb a little vague so that referees can add or adjust them to their setting. The tomb is dedicated to their order and what they stood for. The order was somewhat of a clerical fighting order and devoted/worshiped a god of honor, war, glory, and possibly justice. It could be the ideal god of a paladin or a fighter interested in glory and willing to take on some glorious duties and blessings.
Combat #3: The champion of the undead, the deceased leader of the order, is interred here. The champion rises from its sarcophagus when the PCs enter. It announces that the PCs must leave without their loot (if any) or die. If the PCs don’t leave immediately, 1d8 armed and armored skeletons and 2d6 regular skeletons also rise and all attack the party. The champion has HD 4 and AC 4.
If a PC has sworn the oath to the order then the spirits of the order consider them as their own and the skeletal champion, with a ghostly shimmer of his living face over its skull, welcomes the PCs into the order and wishes them Death and Glory before lying down to rest in its sarcophagus. Directly after the door to the treasure room opens and the secret door within also opens.
Trap #1: This room is the entrance. The floor is stained with dry blood and smears indicate that corpses have gone toward wherever the hobgoblins are staying. There’s a trap here that the hobgoblins have set – a simple trip wire and a dart gun. It is easily noticed and disabled/avoided.
Empty #3: This room is adorned with various sayings. They relate to the virtues of the order and the order’s enemies: those who steal, those who flee combat, and those who make false oaths. The virtues of glory and honor (and maybe justice) may require more description but maybe it really doesn’t.
The Weird Thing: This is the altar with the words of the Order’s Oath above it inscribed/etched into the wall above it. The altar has some ritual equipment on it. If a PC swears an oath to the Order at the altar (dedicated to [God of Honor & Glory (and maybe Justice)]) (also maybe dedicated to a saint of the order) then they will be granted a blessing and will allow the party to move unharassed by the undead.
Trap #2: This room has a trap in it! This room is an antechamber to a treasure room. The walls of the room have decorative lightning motifs and have an image of skulking people being struck by a lightning bolt. Also on the wall is an arcane glyph with a lightning bolt. On the floor, several tiles are decorated with lightning bolt engravings. If anyone carrying anything (including their own equipment) step on a tile without a lightning bolt an electrical bolt fires from the arcane glyph to the person, dealing 1d4 damage. The floor tiles bearing a lightning bolt don’t elicit an electrical attack.
If one of the PCs chose to swear an oath and “join the order” then no attacks are triggered. Destroying the glyph with a strong blunt attack (mace or blunt hammer) will end the enchantment (hardness/DR 4 and 3 hp). This trap is slightly lifted from ToSK.
NPC: The ghost of the order’s priest dwells here. This undead is a bit more aware of the orders’ extant nature and is sadly understanding of the tomb raiders’ interests in the order’s treasures. The priest is very willing to expound on the order’s virtues and rules and enthusiastically encourages the PCs to join the order, explaining how. Once a PC joins the order, the ghost will move on to its afterlife. This room also contains a Priest’s Prayer book (spellbook).
Some Treasure: I should add the various treasures that I roll up with S&W or Hyperborea but I definitely should make some boss “Big” Treasure (as Kemp describes).
Spitballing off the top of my head (the intention of this exercise): A silver goblet with inlaid gold bands and jeweled with rubies and sapphires above along the rim. It has an etching along the bowl of the goblet beneath the inlaid fold band. The scene depicted is the ascendancy of the last head of the order (the skeletal champion).
Empty #2: This is the chapel to the associated patron god. The room is modest and bears engravings on its walls related to the deity and, less prominently, the order.
Magic Item: This is a secret chamber which has some nice treasure. The most dramatic item in the hoard is a magic sword. Probably it’d be enough if it were only a +1 or +2 sword. That’s all it is, until I think of something better.

I can definitely see some inspiration immediately. Trap #2 is inspired from a trap in Tomb of the Serpent Kings and the idea of swearing the oath was probably inspired by Matt Colville's video on how to build a five-room dungeon.

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10-Room Dungeon Brainstorm: Tomb of the Honorable Order of Glory (& Possibly Justice)

I had started this 10-room dungeon back in March when I started a side campaign to a Traveller campaign that never made out of character ge...