Saturday, February 11, 2023

Obsidian Vault

Stairs lead into a blackened space – floors with the texture and temperature of slate: walls ringed with molding of obsidian rising one-third of the way up to the ceiling, 15 feet distant. Darkness hangs in the air – almost detectable as particulate against timid and flickering torchlight. 

Suitable for characters of 2nd or 3rd level.

Scale: 10 ft.
Click HERE for a PDF version of this adventure!

A little keyhole icon in a door means the door is locked.
A little "S" through a door means the door is secret.
The other icon on a door - which is supposed to look like a muscly arm - indicates a door is stuck and must be forced open.

W - West Chambers

Stairs Stone Path Down Ruin; Pixabay user dife88

W1 - Entrance

A wide spiral stair leads down into the space. Along the circular walls are pedestals housing statues made of pumice; eyes hollowed out. Upon entry, there is a 50% chance (75% with a light source) that the Driver Ants in W4 take notice of the party.

W2 - Access Control

On the south wall is a lever rising from the floor, trimmed with brass. It is in a center position. If engaged to the left, it will activate area W4; if engaged to the right, it will activate E3 - in both cases, a light will shine faintly down from the illusory ceiling. If left - or replaced - to the center, both areas remain inactive.

Against the west wall is a wooden pedestal - taller (north to south) than it is wide - flanked by urns and draped with a purple and silver cloth. In the urns are glass rods - 8 in total - inlaid with seams of gold and silver. The rods are worth 100 gp each. If the drape is removed, a hidden clasp is revealed: opening to a small hoard of 5,000 silver.

W3 - Gazing Chamber

In the center of the room is a circular, concave depression - large enough for a person to stand or kneel in. Piled around it are six evenly spaced stacks of 60 gold pieces each. On the walls, east and west, hang delicate silver chains - six in total, worth 60 gold pieces each, likewise - interwoven to connect three empty wrought iron sconces on each side.

Along the north wall are three onyx busts facing the central depression, domes of pumice covering the eyes, held on three pumice pedestals. If a character does not disturb the gold stacks (or replaces them where disturbed) and instead enters the circle, the pumice eyes of the busts will cast a low orange glow into the depression, illuminating the character. If the character does not immediately retract themselves - they will be blessed with a strange sight where all non-magical traps will, to their eyes, glow in the same orange tone: standing out from their surroundings.

This effect persists until the character sees in daylight. The effect can be artificially prolonged, as such, by moving at night and covering ones eyes or remaining in closed or underground spaces while the sun is up.

W4 - West Ascent

An otherwise nondescript ceramic alcove is occupied by seven Driver Ants (B34). The ants are scurrying about as though trying (and failing) to climb the walls - climbing upward, but then leaning back too far and falling flat.

There is a hole in the ceiling, hidden by illusion. From the ground, it looks just like the surrounding material - but if prodded, the prod will go through. Additionally, if the space is activated (see W2), there will be a slight yellow glow, gently flickering, coming down from the hole. The illusion will still be in place, but a glow will emerge from it like a spotlight.

Regardless of active or inactive, the party will have to be creative to access the space.

E - East Chambers

E1 - Upper Hall

In the hall above the door is an effigy of a pan flute. The flute has been plugged with cloth. Characters, as they approach, can hear muffled music.

If the cloth is removed, the music grows louder, though still soft, and can be heard eerily anywhere on the map. The music is soothing, if repetitive - any reaction rolls made by or for the players against monsters on this level while the music is playing in this fashion will be treated as one category better than they normally would - or, a "neutral" reaction would translate to "favorable," and so on.

E2 - Lower Hall

A chandelier of wrought iron hangs from the ceiling. It has space for six candles - but none are filled.

E3 - East Ascent

In the center of the room is a circular convex protrusion. Placed at interval around the circular walls are pedestals - onyx - on three of which are pumice statues. The eyes of the statues are all missing except for one - which has onyx domes, one of which is cracked: as though it had been struck with a crowbar or hammer. Any character which interacts with this bust is struck with a flare of intense heat: Save vs Breath or take 1d8 damage.

There is a hole in the ceiling hidden by illusion. From the ground, it looks just like the surrounding material - but if prodded, the prod will go through. Further, if the space is active (see W2), a yellow glow will radiate from it like a spotlight. Any character touched by the glow will feel lighter - able to jump twice as high, climb twice as reliably and twice as quickly - while in direct contact with the glow.

E4 - Treasure at Rest

Lining the north and south walls are three shields, each, with crossed spears behind them. These are antique and in poor repair. Against the west wall is propped a casket, sealed. Inside is a skeleton with a sword bedecked with a ruby in the pommel and crossguard - each gem is worth 100 gp.

Sword Mirror; Britton LaRoche

In the center of the room before the casket is a chest containing 500 gold pieces, a tourmaline (10 gp) and three oval-cut diamonds (500 gp each). Strewn on the floor as though spilled are a further 1,000 silver pieces.

N - Upper Chambers

N1 - East Entry

A man-sized hole is visible from this space, opening into W4. On each of the four corners of the room is a large urn: one of which has tipped over, spilling 600 gold pieces onto the floor near the hole. One of the other urns contains a further 200 gold pieces; one is empty; and the last contains dusty bones, the origin of which is unclear.

The double door to the north is trapped. If opened without disarming, a circular blade ascends along a groove sunken into the door's threshold, dealing 2d8 damage to any character in the door: rolling to hit with a THAC0 of 15.

Knight Armor Middle Ages Isolated; Gerhard Janson Knight Armor Middle Ages Isolated; Gerhard Janson

N2 - Guard Hall

Along all walls except the north face, frescoes depict armored constructs in march. Two Crystal Living Statue (B37) guard the space. If defeated, there is a 50% chance each of them will have a key to either N3 or N4 embedded in their torso.

N3 - Marble Playpen

A space three feet by four is enclosed by white marble walls three feet high. To the south-west is a raised brazier. The enclosed space is empty - its floor, black like the rest of the map.

N4 - Dentist's Coffer

On the floor, irregular chunks of marble - six to eight inches high, each - have been arranged as a border creating a crescent oriented east to west, with the ends pointing south and the curve north. The space inside of this crescent has been inlaid with specie: 9,000 silver and 200 gold pieces. Underneath, the floor is inexplicably black and textureless - but the very center reflects light ever so slightly if a light source is held nearby.

N5 - Vault

A skeleton in studded leather lies face down on the floor near the entrance, facing south-east. Beyond it are five barrels, stuffed with 1,000 silver pieces each, and a small box on the floor (locked and trapped with a poison needle) which houses a velvet sack. Five gemstones can be found in the sack - a tourmaline (10 gp), two black pearls (50gp each), and two circle-cut rubies (100 gp each).

N6 - West Entry

Six urns line the space: two to a wall, placed at 10 foot increments. Several have been overturned or damaged as six Tiger Beetle (B31) rummage through them. There is a hole in the floor, visible from this side, to the south-west which leads to E3.

Public domain and open license artwork retrieved from Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay, respectively. Attribution provided in alt text.

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