My players have just completed the first floor of my most recent dungeon, which I am sharing here that it might inspire some puzzles, combats, or ideas in your campaign. If you do end up running any of these puzzles, let me know how your players solved them or what clues you had to improvise to get them to the solution.
Tomb of Heroes: Floor 1
- For some history, the adventurers would have received a geared mechanical book with the entry “Welcome to Olloch I-I:Olloch holds many secrets and it holds a greater destiny for you. Seek out the lost heroes to learn their story.”
- They had chased a collection of Dark Mask cultists to the entrance to the Heroes Tomb. The outside of this depicts a carved mural of the six heroes and a metal door to a staircase down. Outside is a campsite inhabited by a collection of Owlbears with strange mutations, the three smaller owlbears are permanently invisible and detectable only by the disturbances of grass or physical objects stuck to them like projectiles or adventurer blood. The larger owlbear will emerge from a log cabin, with the property of splitting itself into three out-of-phase copies that act independently. All the copies share the same hit point total but the owlbear can vanish a copy at any time until only one remains, a sort of schrodinger’s owlbear.
- Heading down the stone stairs to a room that holds an everburning brazier for offerings, and painted murals depicting the heroes battling against armies and monsters, with a double door to the next room. A quick search of the brazier will reveal a half-burned note, “It appears, in their final years, they had some sort of delusion about teaching lessons to future heroes. Keep that in mind when solving their puzzles.”
- Moving through the double doors reveals a second room with an empty writing desk, a painting of the heroes as a group signing the mechanical book, and plastered walls with a door on either side, metal, with no handles. The painting is on hinges and behind it is a slot for the book, when inserted, it writes an entry into the book “Finding the Lost I-II: It is time you learned from the past. You have discovered the resting place of the forgotten heroes, take heed of their lessons to pass their trials.”A 6”x10” depression is next to the door on the left with gears and levers extending into it, fits perfectly with the geared book. When inserted the book writes “Facing Down the Corruption I-III: Prove that you can understand this lesson by presenting an Akshi crown, then push forward to show that you will not back down from certain doom.” and this also unlocks the door to the left.
- Beyond the door is a small antechamber with a mural and a silver humanoid statue with a ringed depression in its carved hair. The mural depicts the heroes in multiple scenes. The first has them standing against paladins with leashed horrors controlled with blazing scrolls attached with wax seals, the second shows them bloodied and now fighting against horrors that have thrown off their leashes (with dead paladin bodies in the background), and the third shows them badly wounded still fighting the greater horrors while the monsters in the background begin to break ranks and flee. If an akshi crown or other headgear of authority is placed on the head of the statue, the double doors unbar and open.
- This chamber is a large and complex one with barriers, raised platforms, three progressively larger magical circles, and an elaborate stone altar. Each round, horrors spew forth from these altars to fight the adventurers and a few rounds in the altar summons a massive horror that belches out tentacled creatures. These are all cross-combinations of various deadly animals, with the first portal summoning small horrors, the second medium sized horrors, and the third large horrors. If the adventurers can keep fighting in combat after getting wounded (losing a significant number of hit points) without retreating, the horrors will begin to flee out of the magical portals and the double doors around the corner will unlock. If any of the tentacled beasts have survived they will cower and show their bellies to the adventurers, taking them on as their new masters if shown any kindness. Should the adventurers flee, the monsters will instantly disappear and the double doors will slam shut behind them. The next time they open the doors, the portals will be in different locations, possibly with additional magical traps or monsters.
- A square room has four colored crystal clusters in the corners of the room providing scintillating illumination across two, three-sided statues flaking a central moving piece of machinery. The angel statue and devil statue swivel to face the first entrant, insulting them for a virtue they lack and a vice they fail to fully take advantage of, respectively, that will keep them from achieving what they need to do. The central machinery is a golden sphere with an inset emerald to appear as an eye quickly spinning inside multiple concentric rings criss crossing each other. If the outermost moving ring is touched, it freezes in place while touched, but if the same creature touches another ring, they will receive a continuous electrical shock until they release one. By going in order outwards in, the five rings can be frozen such that the adventurers can pull out the inner sphere. Going out of order will not halt the rings and risk slashing and bludgeoning damage. Inside the hinged sphere are shaped velvet spaces and metal clasps that once held geometric drawing tools, chalks, crystals, and scrolls that have been removed. (The Dark Masks have stolen these instructions and items to use for their own teleportation needs). At the back of the room is a very well hidden secret doorway to the first part of I-IV. Once the eye has been removed, the plaster wall in 6 opens to reveal another book slot adjacent to the door on the right.
- You are not strong/ambitious/powerful/cunning/ruthless/confident enough according to the devil faces.
- You are not courageous/patient/kind/wise/hopeful/humble enough according to the angel faces.
- Upon placing a book in the newly revealed slot, the book is updated with the entry “Temper Your Impulses I-IV: When you have navigated the heated tensions of the free cities, return with a a freely given banner and show you can separate your emotions from doing good.” Beyond is a small antechamber with a large, illustrated book and a silver statue of a soldier with an empty flag pole. If a free cities banner is placed upon it, the double doors open. The illustrated text is a series of children’s stories, with minimal words, describing the following tales:
- Heroes dashing forward at the mention of a town in distress, to later be torn apart in the town by townsfolk using the story as cover.
- A classic story of the heroes on a sea-journey, ignoring a dangerous looking island for fear of predators, and losing many of their crew to starvation when the island’s fierce appearance is what allowed it to thrive as a peaceful sanctuary of bounty.
- A quicktale depicting the heroes as regular shepherds, where they keep failing to discover where their missing sheep are going, until there is only one sheep left that they work to desperately shear, only to find a wolf underneath an old pelt.
- The next set of rooms opens to a chamber with a claw-footed tub, a painting of a blindfolded lady of justice, and three wooden doors leading off to small chambers. The tub bears the inscription, “Make a choice of which of the three to save as only one will save you”. The tub is half full of liquid. One of the statues must be placed in the tub. If the soldier is placed in the tub, the painting will glow and become a faint white portal. If the woman is placed inside, the statue will animate and attack with claw and fang, a strong striker that heals herself as she does damage. If the satyr is placed inside, he will animate and attack with stone arrows and respond to missed attacks with a headbutt that knocks foes back. When either animated statue is defeated, it freezes in place again.
- The first chamber contains an incredibly life-like marble statue of a halberd wielding soldier in Akshi livery. The figure is even shown with beads of sweat. Next to the statue is a chest containing a bedroll, some camping gear, and a loose collection of improvised rations. Close inspection of the statue will reveal a brand on the wrist of the soldier indicating a deserter.
- The second chamber has a beautiful woman in a damaged dress bearing a large cut on her thigh. She stands next to a pile of dirt. Close inspection of the statue reveals her fingernails have a subtle edge and her wound is not depicted as bleeding. The dirt next to her smells like a graveyard and a solid search reveals human finger bones.
- The third chamber holds a tall satyr with a composite bow strung over its shoulder. Next to it is a juniper bush. Close inspection of the satyr reveals a necklace bearing human teeth. Searching the juniper bush will uncover a half-buried humanoid skeleton with an arrow hole in its skull.
- Taking the portal in the painting will bring the adventurers to a new hallway, lined with alternating rings of white and red crystals. Taking the stairway up will find an overlook with a clear quartz window and a crystalline dais with a large button. Down below is a wraith trapped in a magical circle with the appearance of a dark mask cultist, it bashes mindlessly against the barrier. Pressing the button will engage the white crystals to create an impassible, damaging barrier of light. At the end of each turn, the colors will switch, red then white and so on. Any creature touching a barrier takes radiant damage and the wraith, on its turn, will rush forward at the nearest creature, even if it hits a barrier and is stopped by it. Every three rounds, the wraith will be recalled to the original spell-circle, increasing its rage, greatly improving is damage and number of attacks. Incorporeal and tough, the wraith takes ¼ damage from physical attacks and ½ damage from non-radiant magical attacks. If played smart, the wraith can be quickly defeated by allowing it to run into barriers, otherwise it will be a tough fight with an increasingly damaging foe. Once the wraith is defeated, a side chamber opens a black portal to an empty room of metallic wracks. The only evidence of what it used to hold are a few bits of bone and armor pieces, investigation will reveal them to be of old Ollochian design, similar to the skeletal soldiers the players have fought in previous encounters with the dark masks. Their is an empty space opposite their entry portal where the remains of a few chalk designs can be seen and residual teleportation magics can be detected. Behind where the wraith stood, the large metal door rises up into the ceiling, to reveal a staircase down to the next floor.