Everdown Part 3 – A D&D 5e Maze for Your Consideration: Darkness and No Light
This is the third part of the Everdown campaign. Particularly, on this map I wanted to work with the lighting mechanics in D&D 5e. With this in mind, I’ve created a new monster to help keep the players in the dark.
Items and creatures that can be found in D&D source-books are bolded. Flavor text is in italics. The numbered list below corresponds to the numbered locations on the map above. If the PCs attempt to take a long rest in an insecure location, or are too indecisive, attack them with the one of the monsters list below.
You and your comrades (if you can even call them that) splash down hard in the top of a massive fountain the in the middle of a great stone hall. The pillars that hold up the ceiling of this vast space are visible in shades of gray to those of you with keen enough eyes to see in absolute darkness. Additionally, wall of rubble, maybe collapsed ceiling, seems to cut off access to the northwest. Beyond that is only darkness Two oddly short and wide buildings sit on either side of the fountain.
The Keep of the Deep Gnomes
- The Fountain Square
- The fountain sits at the center of the great hall of this gnome fortress. Previously, this area served as a market and gathering place for the gnomes who lived here. Accordingly, market stalls line two of the walls and the two squat buildings on either side of the fountains are the privies. There are passages in all four cardinal directions. A portcullis to blocks the passage to the south. It can’t be opened from this side, or at least it doesn’t appear so…
- The rubble wall that splits the square is about 15 feet tall and very unstable. On a successful acrobatics or athletics check (DC 15) PCs may climb over safely. Conversely, on a failed check, they take 1d4 slashing damage, and must make a successful dexterity save (DC15) to avoid becoming tangled in the rubble. Entanglement in the rubble restrains the PC until they or another PC makes a successful athletics check (DC 15) to free them.
- 8 Fire-eating moths, often called Lichtfressers are resting on the ceiling and at the tops of the pillars of this space. They will remain complacent as long as there is no light. See the link above for more information on Lichtfresser behavior.
- A Troll (Deadly Encounter) entered these halls when the ceiling collapsed, and has been feasting on gnomes. See How the Troll Hunts below.
Looking For a Way Out
- The Perimeter Hall
- As you climb the stairs, the ceiling decreases in height dramatically, starting at more than 50 feet above, to only about 10 feet. This hall stretches out to the right and left from where you stand. Your footfalls clatter and echo in this space. It’s the only sound other than the crashing of the water in the fountain behind you, and intermittent , thunderous cracks from the ruined ceiling o the square.
- Gnome living quarters, some humble, some grand, line this hallway. Some gnomes are clinging to life in these rooms, but many have died of dehydration, starvation, or the predations of a Black Pudding that now roams these halls. See How the Black Pudding Feeds below.
- There is a red stripe of paint running down the hallway. It leads to a room that gnomish miners (8) have barricaded themselves into. If the party is using a light source, it will be immediately visible. With only dark vision, the color will be difficult to detect, but a succesful perception (DC 20) should detect it.
- On the north side of the area, a portcullis blocks the hallway that leaves this area. Sleeping against the portcullis is an Otyugh. It will not wake up unless attacked. Once awakened it will attempt to attack any creatures inside of the portcullis.
- The Smaller Rooms
- Use the Random Encounter Table below to determine what happens in each room. Roll the table before the party enters the room. All doors are locked and will require a successful (DC10) sleight of hand check with thieves tools to open. Otherwise, they can be broken down.
- The Kitchen
- The Black Pudding starts out in the kitchen. It has blindsight, so if the party moves within 60 feet of it, it will begin to follow them. This monster has already stripped the kitchen of all nourishment.
- Part of the kitchen wall has crumbled, revealing dirt on the other side. On their own, the party won’t be able to get anywhere, but with some skilled Deep Gnome miners, it might be possible.
- A Wealthy Gnome’s House
- This room is far better appointed than any of the others you’ve seen. The beds on the south side have thick mattresses, and bright red duvets. A small fountain in the corner bubbles with water. A door at the other side of the room appear to lead to another part of these quarters.
- The second room contains a larger bead, bookshelves in the northeast corner, and two chests of drawers on the south wall. There is a secret compartment under the bed. Opening requires the following steps:
- Looking at the bookshelf, PCs will notice a book entitled “Hidden Treasures” in common and pulling on the book, which makes and audible click.
- A successful perception check (DC 10) detect that the click came from the dressers on the south side of the room. On a failed check, the PCs may search the room in an attempt to find the source of the click.
- The bottom drawer of the chest of drawers on the east side of the room must be pulled open with the two upper drawers closed. An audible click will be hear in the room and the secret compartment is now open.
- A successful perception check (DC 10) detect that the click came from under the bed. On a failed check, the PCs may search the room in an attempt to find the source of the click.
- The gnome sized bed only has enough room under it for a small or smaller creature to fit. It is also firmly attached to the floor. The bed can be moved or destroyed with a successful strength check (DC 10).
- There is a Boggle under the bed. Roll a stealth check to see if it remains undetected. It will then attack any PC who crawls under the bed, or flee if the bed is moved or destroyed.
- In the secret compartment, the PCs will find: 1 Potion of Fire Breath, 1 Potion of Resistance, 1 Chime of Opening, and 2 Sending Stones.
- The Guardhouse – The guards assigned to the main gate of the keep bunked here. In the northwest corner of the room there is a jail cell.
- The Storehouse – This storeroom contains a wide variety of mundane weapons with the exception of any weapons with the heavy property. This room also contains the first three mundane adventuring gear items the party members look for
- The Miners
- 3 Deep Gnome miners have barricaded themselves in this room. they can be convinced to help the party if they are convinced that the Troll and Black Pudding have been destroyed, or if they are more afraid of the party than the monsters. Deceiving the or intimidating the gnomes will require a successful check (DC 18).
- Written on the door in gnomish are the words, “Short Short Long Long Long”. Due to the darkness, light or a successful perception check (DC 20) is required to see the writing. If the PCs find a way to transmit this signal (e.g. tapping on the wall, playing music), the gnomes will come and talk to them through the door.
- The miners have constructed a complex trap designed to protect them from the monsters. It has the following components:
- Pick the lock of the door, or break it down. (DC 15, thieves tools)
- Any pressure placed upon the door will trigger a blast of fire from a device mounted above the door, dealing 2d10 fire damage in a 10 foot cone from the door, whereas a successful perception check will detect this device and disable it.
- There is an enchantment on the door. Opening it without disabling the enchantment with a successful arcana check (DC 10) triggers a magical alarm that will sound and shine bright light in a 60 foot radius. This will attract any remaining Lichtfressers.
- The threshold is strung with a tripwire. Triggering the trap will cause rocks suspended with a net from the ceiling to fall, dealing 2d6 bludgeoning damage. Otherwise, a successful perception check (DC 20 in the dark, DC 5 in the light)
- See What the Miners Know below.
- The Well Room – A large wooden plug covers the keep’s water source. PCs can remove the plug with a successful athletics check (DC 10), or they can break it. Once removed, a successful perception check (DC 10) will reveal a secret passage, just above the surface of the water. It is about 2.5 feet wide, just big enough for a medium sized creature to squeeze into.
Leaving the Keep
There are at least three ways to make it south into the palace. Firstly, the miners can help the PCs dig from the kitchen to a second guardhouse inside the southern portcullis. Secondly, slime from the Black Pudding will also be able to corrode the bars of the portcullis, making them friable enough to break. Lastly, The secret passages of the palace are accessible through the plug in the well room.
A Few Things…
How the Troll Hunts
The troll does not want in a stand-up fight. When the PCs land in the fountain, it will be on the opposite side of the rubble wall (1), and will attempt to remain undetected and then stalk them looking for a good time to attack. Note that most of the doors are gnome-sized in the place, and the Troll will not be able to pass through them because it is large. The Troll cannot eat the Black Pudding, and so will avoid it.
In combat, the troll will fight until it is at 50% health and then it will attempt to flee and regenerate before attacking the party again. Try to keep the troll in play and harassing the party as long as possible.
How the Black Pudding Feeds
The Black pudding arrived at the same time the Troll did. Many of the gnomes sought shelter into their quarters. Unfortunately for them, the black pudding was capable of sliding through the cracks under their doors. It will actively hunt the party if it becomes aware of them.
The black pudding flees when split, or badly injured. As long as any part of it is alive, and it is aware of the party, they cannot safely take a long rest. The Black Pudding does not want to eat the Troll, and will avoid it.
What the Miners Know
Clem, Glem, and Nlem are the names of these gnomes. If the party members call them by name at any point, they will insist that they are being called by the wrong name. Additionally, Nlem always insists that the PCs are mispronouncing his name.
According the the gnomes:
-The keep was safe until a week ago, when the ceiling collapsed and let the monsters in. A devil wrapped in chain entered the keep he same way the party did. It damaged one of the pillars in the square, causing the collapse.
-The way to the north is particularly treacherous. They send gnome exiles out that way.
-The way to the south leads to the Lady Firona’s palace. There is another way out of the keep there, which is how the gnomes normally exit.
-They would like to get to the palace, as they believe there may be more survivors there.
This Random Encounter Table dictates what player will find in each room of the hall as they explore.
|1-4||All the gnomes in this room are dead. Their bare bones are scattered about, and most of their peronal belongings have been destroyed. A successful investigation check (DC 10) will reveal that the damage done to the objects in the room were smashed and dissolved by a strong acid. Even metal objects appear to have been ruined.|
|5||If the black pudding is still alive, it is in this room. If it is not, see the encounter above.|
|6||(If this encounter has already been rolled once, roll again) The gnomes in this room have died, likely of starvation or dehydration. The choking stench of their rotten little bodies fills the room. There is a +1 Magical Weapon in this room, of a type appropriate for one or more members of the party.|
|7||(If this encounter has already been rolled once, roll again) An old gnome is lying in bed quietly in this room. He doesn’t speak. A successful medicine check (DC 5) will reveal that his is dying of starvation. If the PCs make any effort to help him, he will rub his hand along the stone of the wall next to him, and then draw arcane shapes with his index finger. The wall opens to reveal a secret compartment, containing the following: 1 Oil of Slipperiness, 25 gold pieces, 1 Potion of Growth, 3 x +1 Arrow.|
|8||(If this encounter has already been rolled once, roll again) A Blink Dog appears behind the party, and attempts to prevent them from opening the door. If they ignore the Blink Dog and open the door, it slams shut again immediately. They have no recollection of what they saw inside, but should each roll for an effect on the Short Term Madness table on page 259 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide|
After reading this article, you can find the other maps and encounters in this series categorized under Everdown Maps. My thanks again to probabletrain for their wonderful Dungeon Scrawl map editor.