Plenty is going on in this vampire trap turned vampire lair. The monsters and encounters are both evocative and engaging; reading it, I couldn’t help but think how an adventurer might use or trick the monsters. The entry itself is designed to change in response to player actions and the treasures are on theme as well as useful. Do the players try to clear the place themselves to keep the anti-undead spellbomb or trigger it for an easy win?
The navigation of the dragon’s cave must be made in lieu of the tooth fairy, to prevent a powerful tooth from falling into the wrong hands. Players must wander its cave, hoping to find their way to the bedroom before waking the dragon. The system sounds fun, but the randomness factor is a large problem, it should have randomness to negate the obvious (and boring!) route of going super slowly, but most of the trackers should be the result of player choices. Maybe add in outcomes and choices to the encounters that trade off against one or the other tracker? Fighting through servants gets you higher on the “find the tooth” tracker but also costs you more “wake the dragon” tracker. Retreating or rerouting through hazards to let the dragon settle back down.
23 Time Loop Castle By Marshall
Simple time loop magic of unknown origin keeps all the people in this keep unknowingly locked in an endless repeat. Only the condemned seems to know anything, but can the players navigate through and stop the magic? There are plenty of ways to navigate the map and outsmart the guards locking the place down, especially as the players themselves don’t reset every 30 minutes. The main thing missing in this is a hook for why the players should be interested in this time loop and a reason for the time loop to be happening. Even a throw-away line about the condemned being important or related to someone that started the magic would give this some ability to tie into larger events rather than be a one-off fluke.
Poor Ernie became bitter and turned is museum into a death trap when people stopped coming to hear stories of his adventures. The traps are lots of fun, well themed to the various rooms of items Ernie has taken during his adventuring days and the seemingly innocent ghost guide is an excellent touch. I would have liked it if the traps seemed more inadvertent or the result of curses/magic gone haywire to keep the charade going longer.
25 City of Amber By Patryk Ofat
Broken dwarves and monsters inhabit this cave, each trying to scrabble back a bit of the power they once had, but since they are at cross-purposes, none of been able to make much of themselves. The cave is densely packed with encounters, information, and treasure. The influx of new names and terminology does make it a bit difficult to follow what is going on, but overall, this entry is jam-packed with things for players to explore and interact with, provided they are willing to risk the dangers.
26 Barrow of the Two Brothers By L. Shaffrey
This entry tells a short tale of warring brothers in its succinct but engaging dungeon. The things like salt lines make for simple but evocative magical effects that hint at a deeper story that could easily be tied into current events (perhaps of current royal claims) for any game you want to slot this tomb into.
Twisting mirror magic has caused the deaths of performers and the players have been called in to investigate. The mirror swapped version of the NPC’s and the attempt at betrayal is fun, but I would have liked at least the possibility of the players saving one or more performers if they recognized what was happening early enough. The creepy vibes can really be dialed up, especially if this map is expanded a bit instead of being a single corridor house, taking the same encounters but spread over many hallways and empty rooms for ambiance would be a great way to upgrade this outside the limitations of a one page dungeon.
These caves are the ongoing lock on a large magical beast of significant power. The trial to open the door, for wahtever ungodly reason the players decide they want to just to fight the thing imprisoned here, is more time-consuming than arduous. The main penalties for taking risks or moving fast are that the creature will be roused before they get inside, so it could theoretically ambush them when they open the door. While I like the concept, I don’t know why the players would have incentive to open up this prison or if they are coming after someone else did, could figure out how to put it back inside.
The graphical layout nicely fits the spy theme, but I do find it annoying to read flipped and rotated text digitally in the pdf. As a template for one-shots, it can work to have the randomized and vague scenarios mean that less detail can be put in any one of them. The dungeon really suffers that the various rooms aren’t given any detail, which means that DM will have to prepare all the encounters and challenges themselves.
This one is mine, but I’d love to hear your opinions on what you liked and disliked about it!