Apparently there’s this thing called #swordtember, where artists dedicate the month of September to drawing sword. Well, count me in – I love swords! I’m also a mapmaker though, so I just couldn’t resist drawing a fitting dungeon for this entry.
Standing guard over the ancient, shattered sword is a demonic statue. The room also hosts six plain stone plinths, each with a heavy stone bowl containing rusted iron residue. In the southern part of this dungeon section there’s a round room with a large half-sphere made of the darkest black obsidian, and covered in mystic symbols. What secrets can this strange vault hold?
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The Bazaar of the Sun and the Moon was once a bustling marketplace, filled with exotic trade goods from far and wide. A deadly sickness befell the merchants and other residents of the bazaar and it is nowadays a deserted place, void of life. Every full moon, however, the spirits of the dead tradesmen rise and for just one night haggling whispers fill the air as ethereal (and most peculiar) goods are exchanged for prices just as peculiar.
It is a dangerous place, this bazaar of the dead, but for those who require items not of this world visiting this market might be the only chance to acquire them. Living customers must be careful though, as the ghosts might sometimes demand more than one would be willing to pay.
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This map is free to download for personal use (but not for publishing without my consent). Feel free to use it at your gaming table should you need a map of a desert marketplace.
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More desert fantasy maps
This map is part of my series of “desert fantasy” maps. If this is your jam, make sure you check out the others as well! (links open in new tabs)
Here’s a simple isometric map for you to use should you need a spooky, desecrated church in any horror-themed Dungeons & Dragons adventure. I intentionally skipped drawing details in the rooms on the floor plans. Treat it as a blank canvas to fill with whatever creepy things you can come up with!
In my own campaign I plan to use the Chantry of Desecration as a non-combat encounter. A place where atrocious deeds have been committed in the past, but where remnant energies still linger.
”Deep in the bowels of this forsaken labyrinth stands a strange monolith adorned with blasphemous runes. The stone whispers ancient curses in maddened voices. Its language is that of the Abyss – infernal and sacrilegious.”
Just a little bit of “dungeon dressing”. I’m imagining the monolith to be somewhat sentinent, so a player character with the right knowledge can communicate with it. Initially it would be very helpful and provide sound advice, but sooner or later it would require something in return. How far will the players go to please the monolith? What would they be willing to pay?
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The Spudfield Good Girl is a free two-page adventure for use with Dungeons & Dragons. It was made with the B/X edition of the rules from 1981, but can easily be adapted to any edition of the game.
The adventure is meant for a party of low level (1-3) adventurers but can be adjusted for higher level play by introducing tougher enemies. If you choose to make the adventure harder you should consider increasing rewards/treasure as appropriate.
The Spudfield Good Girl is a fantasy adventure with light horror elements, but nothing too gruesome.
Conrad and Eliza Spudfield and their five well-mannered children are in need of adventurers. Two days ago, when Eliza was about to bring up some potatoes from the root cellar under their kitchen she spotted a monster! An undead abomination peered at her from the shadows. She quickly escaped up into the kitchen and slammed the hatch shut. Eliza heard growling from below, and then everything went silent.
Conrad bolted the hatch securely and just to be safe they moved their large cupboard onto it. They need adventurers to go down the hatch and dispose of the monster so that they can gain access to their food supply or there will be no spuds for the children trickin’ and treatin’ on Olde Hallow’s Eve.
Free to download for personal use
The adventure is completely free to download and print for personal use with your gaming group. Please do not re-publish the adventure without my written consent. You may never sell copies of this adventure.
Would you like to translate this adventure?
Some of my previous adventures have been translated by other gamers to their native languages (for example Italian and Portuguese). Please reach out to me if you’d like to translate The Spudfield Good Girl into your own native language and I can provide you with the source material. E-mail me at email@example.com.
In loving memory of Doris
This adventure is dedicated to the best friend I’ve ever had, who I miss so dearly. You were such a good girl.
Let me be very clear: the content on this website is free for personal use, and it will stay that way. That said, I sometimes get questions if there’s any way to support my work. If you insist on giving me a tip my Ko-Fi account is https://ko-fi.com/pathspeculiar. This will make me very happy, but is not expected!
As Dungeon Master you’re responsible for making up interesting and rememeberable non-player-characters (NPCs). It’s easy to focus on the most exciting ones – evil villains and mighty heroes. However, I think it’s really important to also present mundane NPCs to your players.
Creating some friendly and likeable townsfolk can really bring another layer to the adventure. Give the player characters something to protect. Not all adventures needs to be about finding gold and treasure (although that is certainly important as well). If you can get the players to feel for the common folks they will get more invested and put themselves in harm’s way to keep them safe. Can you get them to embark on adventures without any other reward than the gratefullness of the village?
The Spudfields are just those kinds of NPCs. Warm and welcoming, truly friendly an honest people. They don’t have anything more to offer than their friendship and a warm meal – but sometimes that might be just what the adventurers need.
In early editions of Dungeons & Dragons (as well as in many of their modern day OSR clones) one of the goals of the game is to advance in power and wealth to the point where you can build a stronghold. The type of stronghold your character can build depends on his class; clerics build temples, magic-users erect towers, thieves establish guilds, etc.
In D&D B/X from 1981 (as well as in it’s outstanding modern clone “Old-School Essentials“) the fighter is the only class save the halfling without a level restriction for establishing such a stronghold, although they still need to raise the funds somehow. This is my vision of a typical fighter keep, this one located in secluded Dunkelmoor which is a backwater part of my campaign world.
Forget the romantic idea of thieves as roguish scoundrels, daring swashbucklers and charming tricksters. The townhouse of the thieves’ guild is a sombre place, it’s labyrinthine hallways filled with tragedy, deceit and greed.
There is no honor among thieves, only ruthless ambition and a long trail of suffering. Sooner or later this trail always lead to the House of Withered Flowers.
The Blacksand Bastion is the main stronghold of the Emerald Edge mercenary company. Experts at desert survival, the Emerald Edge is the only free company in the Ossuan desert. They are regularly employed as guides and caravan guards by rich merchants. The company are also able to muster larger battlefield formations when such a contract is secured.
The stronghold of the Emerald Edge is named after the region of the desert where it is located. Blacksand is a stretch of desert known for it’s coarse, volcanic sands and rocky terrain. It is an almost lifeless wilderness and the Blacksand Bastion is located on top of one of the few sources of water. While the Opal Trail runs through Blacksand, few caravans stop here to make camp unless absolutely necessary.
The Blacksand Bastion consists of two main structures: the keep and the tower barracks.
The keep houses the leadership of the Emerald Edge company; the Ra’id (major, company master) Abbad, his chief lieutenant Hazem and the master-of-arms Salman Salim. The company train new soldiers in Blacksand so there are usually around 20-50 recruits stationed in the ground floor of the keep. The keep also houses the company armory, commonly refered to as “the thousand spears”, as well as kitchen, library and treasure chambers. There is a large bath house in the keep cellar.
The fifty men of the elite Qalb unit is permanently stationed in the tower barracks. They are lead by veteran lieutenant Sol-Zaluum nicknamed “the Scorpion” by the Emerald Edge and “the Death Stalker” by their enemies.
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Barzoum – or the “Ghoulshaft” is an infamous dungeon located off the Opal trail, deep in the Blacksand region of the Ossuan desert.
The tombs of depraved aristocracy
A place of great evil, the ancient burial place of Barzoum is constructed vertically and descends almost a mile into the black earth. Here rests sleepless the souls and corpses of the depraved and murderous noblemen, priests and necromancers of the old Koparan empire. The minds and acts of the Koparan aristocracy was wicked beyond comprehension during the years of the empire, and their ill deeds finally led to the destruction of the great city Amun-Shar – the jewel of the east and the capital of the empire.
The Ghoulshaft today
Over the centuries, the surface structures of Barzoum have withered and crumbled in the strong desert winds. Left are only gaping mouths, and winding stairs descend into the inky blackness of below. Alcove-tombs pepper the walls, some contain monetary as well as occult treasure. Others contain curses and undead abominations. While some of the alcoves are shallow and houses only a single grave, others stretch further into the desert bedrock forming vast catacomb labyrinths. An example of such a catacomb is the SVART GRIFT, or “Black Grave” of the dread necromancer Khamul.