One Page Dungeon Contest 2014

The April 30th deadline for the One Page Dungeon Contest 2014 is rapidly approaching! This fantastic “competition” is a great excuse to dust off an old adventure you’re run and distill it to its essence. You can find out lots more about what one pagers are all about, including the submission rules and guidelines on their site in case you want to share your one-page creations with the (role playing) world.

The site is also a fine repository of fantastic ideas for adventures if you’re running one in the near future.  Nothing quite like being prepared for a game you’re running…

I have put together a one-page version of an adventure we ran at a few Houston gaming conventions in 2013, The Tomb of Athganazar and just submitted it. Regardless of how it fares, the joy is in the making!

Posted in Adventure, announcement and tagged by with no comments yet.

Alizarin Zamyatin

Created a gnome bard for an upcoming 3.5 adventure run by an old friend in Baltimore that I’ll be participating in over Roll20. Downloaded the most recent release of PCGen to help in the creation process. Looks like they’ve added some new features to the app, including more complete coverage of Pathfinder, as well as icons to denote inventory locations. The app still retains its usefulness, making it quick and easy to create characters. Here’s an export of the resulting character in plain text.

Name: Alizarin Zamyatin
Race: Gnome
Player: Steve
Classes: Bard1
Hit Points: 7
Experience: 0 / 1000
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Vision: Low-Light
Speed: Walk 20 ft.
Languages: Common, Gnome
Stat Score Mod
STR 7 (-2)
DEX 18 (+4)
CON 13 (+1)
INT 13 (+1)
WIS 12 (+1)
CHA 15 (+2)
-------------------------- Skills --------------------------
Skill Total Rnk Stat Msc
Appraise 2 1.0 1 0
Balance 5 1.0 4 0
Bluff 5 3.0 2 0
Climb -2 0.0 -2 0
Concentration 3 2.0 1 0
Craft (Alchemy) 1 0.0 1 0
Craft (Untrained) 1 0.0 1 0
Diplomacy 5 3.0 2 0
Disguise 2 0.0 2 0
Escape Artist 6 2.0 4 0
Forgery 1 0.0 1 0
Gather Information 4 2.0 2 0
Heal 1 0.0 1 0
Hide 8 0.0 4 4
Intimidate 2 0.0 2 0
Jump -8 0.0 -2 -6
Knowledge (History) 2 1.0 1 0
Listen 4 1.0 1 2
Move Silently 7 3.0 4 0
Perform (Untrained) 2 0.0 2 0
Ride 4 0.0 4 0
Search 1 0.0 1 0
Sense Motive 1 0.0 1 0
Sleight of Hand 8 4.0 4 0
Spellcraft 4 3.0 1 0
Spot 1 0.0 1 0
Survival 1 0.0 1 0
Swim -2 0.0 -2 0
Tumble 6 2.0 4 0
Use Rope 4 0.0 4 0

————————– Feats —————————
Armor Proficiency (Light)
When you wear a type of armor with which you are proficient, the armor check penalty for that armor applies only to Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble checks.

Shield Proficiency
You can use a shield and take only the standard penalties.

Simple Weapon Proficiency
——————– Special Abilities ———————

———————— Templates ————————-
Base Race Type, Base Race Type ~ Humanoid, RaceSubtype ~ Augmented Humanoid
————————– Combat ————————–
Total / Touch / Flat Footed
AC: 17 / 15 / 13
Initiative: +4
BAB: +0
Melee tohit: -1
Ranged tohit: +5
Fortitude: +1
Reflex: +6
Will: +3
Unarmed attack:
to hit: -1
damage: 1d2-2
critical: 20/x2
Dagger (Small):
to hit: -7
damage: 1d3-2
critical: 19-20/x2
Dagger (Small/Thrown):
to hit: +5
damage: 1d3
critical: 19-20/x2
range: 10 ft.
Sling (Small):
to hit: -5
damage: 1d3-2
critical: 20/x2
range: 50 ft.
——————— Special Abilities ——————–

————————- Equipment ————————
Leather Cap 1 0lbs
Wireframe Spectacles and 2 Lenses 1 0lbs Special: (Eye Lenses)
Zamyatin Family Medallion (Heirloom) 1 0lbs
Dagger (Small) 2 1lbs
Leather Gloves 1 0lbs
Leather (Small) 1 7lbs
Leather Belt 1 0lbs
Outfit (Entertainer’s/Small) 1 1lbs
Padded Shoes 1 0lbs
Bedroll (Small) 1 1lbs Special: (Bedroll (Small))
Bullets (Sling/10) (Small) 1 2lbs
Chalk (1 piece) 2 0lbs
Coin (Electrum) 1 0lbs Special: (Coin (Copper))
Jeweler’s Hammer 1 0lbs
Musical Instrument (Flute) (Small) 1 0lbs
Sling (Small) (0 lbs.)
Pouch (Belt) (Small) (0.125 lbs.)
Sack (Small) (0.125 lbs.)
Total weight carried:
Current load: Light
Light: 17
Medium: 35
Heavy: 52
————————— Magic ————————–

Innate Spells
Dancing Lights (Evocation) – 1 per day
Saves: None
Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: 1 minute [D]
Range: Medium (110 ft.)
Components: V, S
SR: No
Effect: Creates torches or other lights.
Target: Up to four lights, all within a 10-ft.-radius area
Ghost Sound (Illusion) – 1 per day
Saves: Will disbelief (if interacted with)
DC: 12
Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: 1 rounds [D]
Range: Close (25 ft.)
Components: V, S, M
SR: No
Effect: Figment sounds.
Target: Illusory sounds
Prestidigitation (Universal) – 1 per day
Saves: See text
DC: 12
Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: 1 hour
Range: 10 ft.
Components: V, S
SR: No
Effect: Performs minor tricks.
Target: See text
() – per day

Bard Spells

Level 0
Detect Magic (Divination)
Saves: None DC: Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minutes [D] Range: 60 ft. Components: V, S
SR: No Effect: Detects spells and magic items within 60 ft. Target: Cone-shaped emanation
DESC: Detects spells and magic items within 60 ft.
Lullaby (Enchantment)
Saves: Will negates DC: 12 Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: Concentration + 1 rounds [D] Range: Medium (110 ft.) Components: V, S
SR: Yes Effect: Makes subject drowsy; -5 on Spot and Listen checks, -2 on Will saves against sleep. Target: Living creatures within a 10-ft.-radius burst
DESC: Makes subject drowsy; -5 on Spot and Listen checks, -2 on Will saves against sleep.
Mage Hand (Transmutation)
Saves: None DC: Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: Concentration Range: Close (25 ft.) Components: V, S
SR: No Effect: 5-pound telekinesis. Target: One nonmagical, unattended object weighing up to 5 lb.
DESC: 5-pound telekinesis.
Message (Transmutation)
Saves: None DC: Casting: 1 standard action
Duration: 10 minutes Range: Medium (110 ft.) Components: V, S, F
SR: No Effect: Whispered conversation at distance. Target: 1 creatures
DESC: Whispered conversation at distance.

------------------------ Description -----------------------
Height: 3' 5" Weight: 45 lbs. Gender: Male
Eyes: Violet Hair: Greenish, with golden highlights, Skin: Olive
Dominant Hand: Ambidextrous Quirks: Often speaks in half rhyme and near riddles.

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Imagine the damage a stampede of frightened undead elephants fleeing the cleric disciple of a powerful god can do.skelephant-300x217
Skelephants are skeletal dire elephants, gargantuan beasts that wander aimlessly through the plans and steppes in search of prey.  With wild, stony, empty eyesockets that swallow the light, they clear forests under the moonlight.
Gargantuan Undead Animal
Hit Dice: 24d8+200 (310 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 10 (-4 size, +4 natural), touch 6, flat-footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple: +17/+44
Attack: Slam +28 melee and 2 stamps +23 melee, or gore +30 melee
Full Attack: Slam +28 melee and 2 stamps +23 melee, or gore +30 melee
Damage: Slam 2d8+15, stamp 2d8+7, gore 4d6+22
Space: 20 ft./10 ft.
Special Qualities: Undead senses
Special Attacks: Trample 4d6+24
Saves: Fort +20, Ref +11, Will +20
Abilities: Str 44, Dex 11, Con -, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 7
Skills: Listen +19, Spot +15
Feats: Alertness; Endurance; Improved Bull Rush; Iron Will; Power Attack; Skill Focus (listen); Weapon Focus (gore)
Climate/Terrain: Nocturnal in plains and steppes
Organization: Solitary or herd (6-30)
Challenge Rating: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 25-32 HD (Gargantuan); 33-47 HD (Colossal)
Tusk Gore: Skelephants swing their sharp tusks at their prey, skewering them in the pale darkness.

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Dungeon Robber

Last Friday, Johnn Four included a link to this fun little online dungeon generator/game, inspired by (and maybe cloned from) Gygax’s random dungeon tables. Yes, I’m just getting to fun RPG emails from last week nowish.


Screen capture of Dungeon Robber running in a browser. More adventure games should run like this!

Try it out!

Posted in Review, Video Game by with no comments yet.

Room 7: Athganazar’s Laboratory

This area is a separate level that can only be accessed by the methods described in Room 6: The Crucible.

As the arcane mist dissipates, you appear in what looks to be an ancient laboratory which while dusty and archaic, has seen recent use. Tables along the walls and shelves set into alcoves in the walls are filled with various alchemical apparatus, half-completed mixtures and parchment. In the center of the room is a stone bier upon which rests a body draped in silken robes. A cracked flask with what remains of a dark, viscous liquid is on the floor nest to the body.

Athganazar is not actually dead but is instead a Proto-lich who has so far failed in the attempts to achieve the full undead status and abilities he desires.

This laboratory is where Athganazar’s soul has been awaiting new bodies to possess and attempt to finish his transformation into a lich. His dead body is what is lying upon the bier while his soul has moved into his phylactery (a plain seeming stone jar upon the top shelf along one wall of the room. It will appear as magical to detect magic, despite its otherwise plainness. The jar is tiny and has 40 hit points, hardness 20, and a break DC of 40) from which he will attempt to possess (via magic jar spell) the character that has seemed the most resourceful in solving the challenges up to this point.

His plan is possess one of the players and attempt to have them drink the remains of the liquid in the flask to attempt to create a new lich body for himself. If he succeeds then he will go ahead and kill the party.

Failing that, he will attempt to kill as many characters as possible, leaving the possessed body if it is slain to return to the jar and to possess another, continuing this until there is only one character left. When only one remains, he intends to possess that body and to use it to make another attempt at successful lich creation.

To defeat him, the party will need to locate and destroy the phylactery (thus leaving him no avenue of egress) and to either kill the character which he has currently possess of to find a way to otherwise force him to leave that body. If forced to leave or the possessed body slain after the phylactery is destroyed, (and there is no active Proto-Lich body ready for him) Athganazar will be destroyed.

The flask of dark liquid in the flask is the remains of the lich creation potion that Athganazar drank which killed his body but left it in a state of perfect preservation. If a PC tastes the dark liquid then they must save or die (Con DC 30). If they succeed they then take 20 pts of damage. If they fail their body becomes a new, empty proto-lich ready for Athganazar to possess. Likewise, if they spill or apply the liquid to the body lying upon the bier then that body will also become a revitalized proto-lich vessel suitable for possession as well.

Posted in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, Encounter, Magic Item and tagged , by with no comments yet.

Room 6: The Crucible

The Word “Crucible” is carved above the doorway into this room. In the room, a large fire elemental is seemingly contained by the magic circle upon the floor. Between you and the elemental is a large marble bowl set upon a stone base.

DM Notes: The bowl is literally the crucible needed to re-forge the broken key. For this challenge the party will need to place all four of the key fragments into the bowl and then free the elemental and lure it into engulfing the crucible. Once that happens the elemental will be consumed and the key will be restored. All four fragments must be in the bowl for this to work. Any less and nothing happens.

If the elemental is instead slain by the party it will reappear in the circle one round later (and the circle will be restored of any damage it may have taken as well) effectively resetting the encounter.
Once the key has been re-forged, a keyhole will appear in the north wall of this room. Once the key is placed into the keyhole and turned, the tumblers will wail and the party will be teleported to the actual “tomb” of Athganazar. If lured into the crucible:

The elemental lumbers into the crucible, arms surrounding the rim, legs dropping into the heap of keys. Its eyes stretch downward as if tears and its gaping maw crackles with embers. A fiery blaze fills the crucible, the elemental disappearing among the smokeless flames. Suddenly, the warm light of the fire is extinguished. Among the ashes you see an ivory key.

Once the key is lifted from the ashes, they will notice that the head of the key is carved into the head of a skeleton:

As you turn the key over in your hand, you note that the skeletal head of the key has reflective eyesockets, iron fangs, and a crown inset with six prismatic gems – ruby, topaz, sunstone, emerald, sapphire, amethyst. Iron fang-like prongs jut out into the darkness at jagged angles.

Once the key is inserted and turned:

The eyes of the key ignite in a bright burst as the floor swirls into a rainbow portal. You fall in.

Posted in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, Encounter and tagged , by with no comments yet.

Word Up to the Columbus Free Press

With a shout out to the Columbus Free Press, I have to give props to Damp Heat’s The Lich.

Review by Gerry Bello.

Posted in announcement, Editorial by with no comments yet.

Room 5: Monster Summoning Trivia

As you enter this room you feel a coldness as if a frigid vapor sucked the life out of the room. Then you see a nebulous cloud of energy which seems to be contained within a summoning circle engraved upon the floor. The 5’ square tile directly before the circle glows with an opalescent silvery sheen.

A plaque set into the floor reads:

“How well do you know the creatures that you may face? You will be asked questions about the creatures that you will see before you. A correct answer defeats the beast. Answer incorrectly and the beast may defeat you.”

Once a character steps upon the colored square, the energy in the circle will resolve into the image of one of the following creatures and a disembodied voice will ask a question related to the specific monster. A correct answer will cause the image to disappear and the voice to say “Correct!” With an incorrect answer, the creature becomes corporeal and is unleashed upon the adventurers.

DM Note: Choose a number of questions based on what you know about your players’ preferences, the session time and how well the players have answered the questions (for instance, you may not want to play out five successive combats). In my experience, players tend to answer 5 or 6 correctly and then end up fighting 1 or 2 combats. Once the creatures/questions are defeated (one way or the other), a fang key fragment will appear in the center of the circle. If you want your players to be presented with another challenge, explain that the circle is still active and see how they retrieve the key without being telefragged.

Sample Monster Trivia

Wail from this undead creature causes hearers to die on the spot • Banshee
Slimy scavenger that can flow through narrow openings and lives underground • Black pudding
Teleporting canine • Blink dog
Distant relatives of halflings; also name of a delicious desert • Brownie
Also known as the ‘landshark’ • Bulette
Half man, half horse • Centaur
Tiny creatures that drain psionic abilities • Cerebral parasite
Rooster-like creature whose touch turns flesh to stone • Cockatrice
Arch-enemies of devils • Demon
Humanoid shape shifter • Doppelganger
Can belch forth a cloud of scalding steam • Dragon turtle
Leaves eggs in creature’s head which hatch and eat host • Ear seeker
Giant-like creatures with two heads • Ettin
Purple mushroom with tentacles that cause flesh to rot • Violet fungi
Indistinguishable from ghouls except for their carrion stench • Ghast
Hyena-like humanoids • Gnoll
Magic servants made of clay, flesh or iron • Golem
Slimy horror that resembles wet stone or sedimentary cave formations • Gray ooze
Fire breathing dog • Hell hound
Larger tribal cousins of goblins • Hobgoblin
Multi-headed reptilian monster • Hydra
Evil Intelligent manta rays • Ixitxachitl
Jackal able to assume the form of a man • Jackalwere
Half woman and half animal, touch drains a creature’s wisdom • Lamia
formerly ultra powerful magic-users now non-human and non-living • Lich
Reptilian humanoids that dwell underwater • Lizard man
Disguises itself as part of the ceiling • Lurker above
Worm-like fish with poison spines • Masher
Psionic humanoid forth brains with its tentacles • Mind flayer
The ‘Wraith of the deep’ • Morkoth
Big cousin to the Otyugh • Neo otyugh
Water sprites/pixies • Nixie
Giant amoeba that is golden and sludge-like • Ochre jelly
Fiercely competitive bullies made popular by LOTR • Orc
Half owl and half bear • Owlbear
Lower bodies of birds and the upper bodies of stags • Peryton
Dragon-like with a flexible sting-equipped tail • Pseudo dragon
Giant polar worms • Remorhaz
Lives in poo, but burrows into live flesh • Rot grub
Humanoid eats ferrous metals such as iron, steel, and steel alloys • Rust monster
Fiery magic amphibians • Salamander
Half lion and half fish • Sea lion
Slimy, ambulatory, intelligent heaps of rotting vegetation • Shambling mound
Screaming fungus • Shrieker
Mosquito-like magical beast • Stirge
Horrid carnivore able to regenerate damage taken • Troll
Magical equine woodland creature • Unicorn
Feeds upon the life force of dying beings • Will o’ wisp
Undead with chilling touch that drains life energy • Wraith
Magically animated corpses • Zombie

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Room 4: Wands vs. Wall

Upon entering this hexagonal chamber the first thing that you see is a mesmerizing wall of warm, red energy which seems to cut straight through the center of the room. On the wall to your left are six stone shelves carved into the stonework. Upon each shelf rests a single wand. An ebony plaque laid into the floor reads:

“To gain your prize you must pass the wall”

Under each wand is an etching in the stone each with a single word engraved upon it. The words from left to right are:

Blow, Chill, Bolt, Zap, Sun, Pass

These are the command words for the wands and a clue as to the effect that each wand casts. The wands themselves have a single charge and may be used by anyone capable of uttering the command word. The wall can be destroyed, color by color, in consecutive order, by various magical effects; however, the first color must be brought down before the second can be affected, and so on. Thus, the “Chill” wand must be used before the “Blow” wand etc. in order to bring down each successive layer.

If the party fails to use the wands in the correct sequence, the wands will regain their charges and the wall will reset to its original state once someone attempts to pass through the wall.
Anyone attempting to pass through an active wall will take each and every one of the effects that remain active.

Red (1st)
Stops non-magical ranged weapons.
 Deals 20 points of fire damage (Reflex half).
Dispel: Chill (Cone of cold)

Orange (2nd)
Stops magical ranged weapons.
 Deals 40 points of acid damage (Reflex half).
Dispel: Blow (Gust of wind)

Yellow (3rd)
Stops poisons, gases, and petrification.
 Deals 80 points of electricity damage (Reflex half).
Dispel: Zap (Disintegrate)

Green (4th)
Stops breath weapons.
 Poison (Kills; Fortitude partial for 1d6 points of Con damage instead).
Dispel: Pass (Passwall)

Blue (5th)
Stops divination and mental attacks. 
Turned to stone (Fortitude negates).
Dispel: Bolt (Magic missile)

Violet (6th)
Stops all spells. 
Will save or become insane (as insanity spell).
Dispel: Sun (Daylight)

DM Note: another method of gaining the key fragment would be through a creative use of the Passwall wand to create a passage either under or to the side of the prismatic wall thus allowing someone to squeeze around the wall (Dex check DC 14) to get to the key with the wall still up. However Passwall will not create a passage directly through the prismatic field and will have no effect upon it at all except to negate the 4th layer (provided that layers 1-3 have already been correctly neutralized).

After red is disabled:
The wall of red energy sputters under the chill wind projected by the wand. In its place, a swirling orange edifice with bands that stretch across the room.

After orange is disabled:
Bolts of acid bombard the swirls, which writhe like tentacles, grasping the bolts and dissolving into withered hulks of petrified wood wrapped with barbed wire. Yellow electricity arcs between the tips of the metallic sinews.

After yellow is disabled:
The wooden wall disintegrates into a line of lime green sawdust, which wisps up into the form of mortar in a brick wall, only there are no bricks.

After green is disabled:
The mortar drips with a viscous gel that runs down the spaces between the mortar, dissipating in iridescent blue stones that run the length of the corridor and pulsate with each heartbeat.

After blue is disabled:
A large volley of bolts shoots from the wand, landing in a door-shaped pattern among the blue stones. Blood runs down the wounds, the blue stones turning a deep purple.

After violet is disabled:
A flash as bright as daylight temporarily blinds everyone in the room. When you rub your eyes, you see no signs of the prismatic wall. There, resting on a seventh shelf at the far end of the room is a prismatic key, its hexagonal handle aglow in all six colors of the wall.

Posted in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, Adventure, Encounter and tagged by with no comments yet.

Room 3: Golem Guardian

A 40′x40′ chamber opens before you. Nestled in between two large stone fountains set into the wall, a rusty statue twice the size of a man dominates the far wall of this room. Its chest is puffed out, revealing an oversized keyhole. The heads of jackals adorn the walls above the marble fountain basins, their jaws open wide, spewing a steady stream of gurgling, sudsy liquid.

As they approach the fountains or statue:

Glowing embers illuminate the eyes of the ruddy statue. Its metallic jaw rumbles, spilling bits of nuts, bolts, and screws upon the floor. Finally, it speaks.

“I am G-L-M.  I hold great mysteries.  I will not attempt to bar your way – if and only if you can assist me in my existential dilemma. If you challenge my existence, or my authority on such matters, you will face my wrath.”

The rusty statue is a rusted iron golem with a door on its chest and inside there are various potions to heal and restore the party as well as one of Athganazar’s key fragments, an iron key.

If they answer the golem’s questions correctly then they gain the key and the potions.
If they do not answer the questions, then they must fight the golem and the potions will be destroyed. In this case, they will also need to find a way to open the golem’s chest, since it it rusted shut.


  1. What is my condition?
  2. What beast think you that crossed my path to bring me to this condition?
  3. What can be used to soothe my weary joints?
  4. What other materials are my brethren made from that would not suffer the same fate?
  5. Yet I am the mightiest!  Take these metal boxes and give me an appropriate name.  Not all boxes are needed, but all must be heeded. With this he opens his chest and out drop 10-12 boxes labeled with letters. DM Note: Use letter dice or tiles from a popular word game for this.
  6. Now tell me how I have earned this name and how I am the mightiest!

One set of answers the golem will accept:

  1. Rusted; angsty; bored; disused.
  2. A rust monster attacked the golem; the golem has been here between the fountains for far too long; golem has idled too long.
  3. Grease or some lubricant; the grease spell; a higher purpose.
  4. Flesh, clay, stone (also bone, straw).
  5. The answers to this challenge depends on their roll of the letter dice. They will have to make this up themselves – the more patronizing the higher chance of success.
  6. Here they should air on the side of honoring and praising the golem to earn its respect.

Upon success, the golem will seem pleased and it will present the healing potions and the iron key.

With each incorrect answer, it will take a 5′ step closer to the nearest adventurer and bellow “Incorrect!”, “No” or “This angers me.” With each correct answer, it will say “Correct” or “Yes” or “This pleases me.”

Posted in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons / d20 fantasy / Pathfinder, Adventure, Encounter and tagged by with no comments yet.