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The Red Daring

While I have a campaign log entry covering my players’ run through this dungeon, I figured I put enough work into this dungeon that a little polishing could see it usable by my readers here. I will be posting sections of it as I edit it, then I’ll be putting the whole thing together once complete as a PWYW dungeon.

The Setup

  • The Red Daring is one part of a series of challenges presented for various adventuring teams of the five great adventuring schools across the world. It is the challenge created and sponsored by the Steinreich School of Mines. Each year it is designed in secret by a hand-picked architect, trapsmith, or archmage with an eye towards being a multi-use test for the teams to compete on gathering the most treasure from within. The secret designer this year, for those that can uncover that information, is Einn Casterly, a professor of the Steinreich School of Mines, a dwarven dungeoneering school. His academic focus and personal interests lie towards constructs, puzzles, and matching his wits against those who think they are clever. Digging through hidden records of past Red Daring’s he has designed one dungeon for the contest six years ago and it featured a layout of puzzles, monsters, and traps in a fairly linear dungeon with a hidden trick that each room had multiple routes of success, but one of those routes would be more difficult. Taking the more difficult routes from the beginning was required to get access to all the treasures available in the dungeon, something hinted at in the murals of the first room. It is said that he likes hiding puzzles within puzzles, but often thinks of himself as cleverer than he truly is.
  • Students that had approached him asking advice on the Red Daring were given a puzzle to test for his research on its difficulty and enjoyability. This puzzle of interlocking blocks had two solutions, one revealed the word “SPIDERS” on the outside when put together correctly but the more subtle and secret solution required laying out the pieces side-by-side to uncover the word “LIGHT”. On completion, he offers any group that has uncovered both solutions a favor in return for aiding him, that he will try to dig up answers about one question they might have about the Red Daring, as he thinks he might know who is designing it this year. Again, not as clever as he thinks he is.

  • Anyone sneaking into the well secured construction camp surrounded by temporary wooden palisades and eagle-eyed security guards on the lookout for cheaters and gawkers. It is staffed by local dwarves and halflings from the nearby towns, will find many points of information to be found within. There are three adjacent versions all being built to minimize the ability of one team to pass on information to a later team. The guards are bribeable, as are the workers, but those requirements will vary depending on how much subterfuge or information an adventure might be expecting. Some cheating is expected, as adventurers in the wild often do scouting, but getting caught will severely penalize one’s score by 10%. Areas of note in the camp are 
    • Dwarven runesmiths carving runes into large stones. (They test them by touching to see that they light up.)
    • The architect’s building. (They can see an overall floorplan but no markings about what is inside them.)
    • A locked warehouse. (Goods are well secured but there is a manifest summary of the different hoard sizes and values.)
    • A smithy hammering complex mechanical parts together. (Plans can be seen showing a mechanical spider with poison and lightning components too.)
    • The central meeting hut. (Has a black board with the following written, “What should we put inside the puzzle? Fix guardian pattern glitch. Still too much furniture available.”)
  • Enemies are all spider-bots of various constructions. Their parts are not very valuable, same with the traps, raw materials, and most dungeon dressings. To mimic reality and avoid tedium in this competition, there will be a limited ‘market’ for such things and going overboard will hurt the resale value of those things more than they’ll bring in, hurting your score. The groups are given an overview of this and will know their limits, they can of course take more for personal reasons. 
  • Ties are decided by more efficient raids, whoever took less time and suffered less damage, judged by the Dean of the Steinreich School of Mines.
  • Teams keep their winnings. The items within are donated by businesses, alumni, governments, the schools, and future employers. After exiting, the team’s total treasure is tallied up. The Red Daring judges are on hand to purchase anything found in the challenge at the listed sale value as a convenience to the competitors. 

The Treasure

There is 20,000 total treasure possible to be retrieved:

  • [600] Junk: Furniture, decor, doorways, equipment, raw materials, tools, parts, or any other suitable raw material the team extracts from the dungeon. (50 each)
  • [1000] Tiny Treasure: 5 Cow Futures (250), Stunning Bolt (625), Porcelain Planter (125)
  • [2400] Small Treasure: Trap parts, monster parts, or other refined goods the team extracts from the dungeon (200 each)
  • [3000] Normal Treasure: 
    • A set of 10 Water Pegs (900) {Arrange the pegs in non-magical liquid to set a three dimensional shape. Lock a peg in place for a few seconds by pressing and twisting it, when one of the fixed pegs is turned three times, the pegs connect with an invisible barrier. The fixed shape can be moved as a unit, as if the liquid was held in a polygonal glass container. Any peg can be turned and removed from the shape, causing water pours out of that ‘hole’ like a spigot. Twisting any peg three times counterclockwise ends the effect. A set of water pegs is linked together and can only create one contiguous shape at a time. Its form is created intuitively by connecting each peg with a straight line to its neighbor in a way that roughly maximizes its overall volume. No matter its shape, a set of Water Pegs can only hold up to 20 lbs or 2 gallons of liquid per peg used in its shape. Pegs not touching or submerged in the liquid cannot be set and they hold in place just long enough to quickly place the others but fall in moments if a shape is not set.
    • 20 tiny rubies in felt bag (1100)
    • Land deed to 10 acres of forested coastline outside Rhydyr (1000)
  • [5000] Good Treasure: Draconic toy chest (5000)
  • [8000] Best Treasure: 
    • Minor Metamagic Rod, Inconspicuous (1500) {No somatic/verbal component required for a 3rd level or lower spell cast while touching this rod, usable three times each day.}
    • Lesser Rilmani Ensouled Atlatl (1500) {A magical javelin throwing aid that applies the following magical effect to javelins throw using it. Creatures struck by the weapon lose one point of initiative and the wielder gains one point of initiative. The changes take effect next round, but if the target was already at the bottom of the initiative order, they skip their next turn and their initiative increases by 20 points. If the wielder was at the top of the initiative order they may choose to drop their initiative by 20 points at the end of their next turn. They act twice during that round, once at the high initiative then again at their new, lower initiative.}
    • Dripping Moon Holy Symbol (1500) {Once each day, tapping this metal necklace against an empty potion refills the potion with the most recent potion or liquid it contained within the last hour. This only restores potions or liquids consumed, destroyed, or used up. It restores a single dose, use, or portion.}
    • 2 sets of platemail (1500)
    • Thief’s Bells (1500) {A small bracelet with three silent bells. Three times each day the wearer may cast either Knock or Hold Portal. While there are any uses left in the Thief’s Bells, domesticated animals treat the wearer as one step friendlier than normal.}
    • 10 bottles of cherry brandy (200)
    • Cask of port wine (300)

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