Traps should be unfair, deadly and combined. The poor sods triggering the boulder trap (by opening the doors) will get a chance to dive into the alcoves for cover. Too bad for them the alcoves are really pit traps.
Depending on your playstyle, you can either let players roll suitable saving throws (such as reflex or vs. breath) to avoid the different traps, or you could go for the more grim approach of OSR games – “no saves, if you didn’t look for traps it’s on you”.
You could also reward clever, quick and creative thinking, spellcasting, etc.
Players who approach this situation carefully, examining the alcoves, should be able to find the pit traps, and perhaps realize something sinister awaits them on the other side of the door. I would probably not allow the mechanism of the rolling boulder trap to be found, but that’s really up to you as the dungeon master.
I didn’t have a specific reward in mind for surviving this situation, but if you want, there could of course be a hidden cache or an important inscription behind the boulder.
Option: you could also decide that the boulder is an illusion, and enjoy watching the player characters needlessly throw themselves into the pit traps 😀
Draw your own maps!
Would you like to draw your own maps? It’s a lot of fun! I’ve done several tutorials to help you get started. Check them out here!
In the spirit of Halloween, I drew this map picturing the horrible crypt of the depraved Scarbrough family. Should provide a spooky adventure location for dungeon masters wanting to add a little horror to their campaign.
The crypt is the final (un)resting place of the noble Scarbrough family. These awful people terrorized the countryside in life, and continues to do so in death.
In their mansion in the moorlands, the Scarbroughs practised foul necromancy and other perversities. Lord Edgar Scarbrough and his cousin and wife Elsbeth had five children, each newborn more sinister and depraved than the previous – culminating in little Pamela who’s cruelty became the stuff of moorlands legend.
The family sealed their fate in a grand ceremony, the “Scarbrough Bloodbath”, where they murdered the villagers of Worthon and reanimated them as ghouls, and then committed ritual suicide in the family crypt. The newly risen ghouls buried the Scarbroughs according to their instructions, and then sealed the crypt.
The ghouls of Scarbrough estate roam the vicinity of the mansion and attacks (and eats) any intruders, keeping the crypt safe from inquisitors and grave robbers alike. The ghosts of the family haunt the countryside, and most feared of them all is little Pamela – commonly referred to as “the tooth fairy”.
Click here for a larger version of the map
Click here for a version without the legend
A medieval fantasy castle map I drew using the same techniques described in these tutorials:
I added a side view to this map, mainly because I think top-down maps of large structures can be a bit hard to interpret. The side view is also a useful tool for the dungeon master to show the players when describing the scene.
I decided to merge two of my previous dungeon maps – the Arcane Chambers and Svart Grift tomb. I also took the opportunity to add some illustrations to set the scene for whatever adventures awaits in this dark place.
These maps work well together, as they are both leaning quite heavily towards dark fantasy, somewhat bordering horror. This asset should work well for OSR-games like Lamentations of the Flame Princess or D&D campaigns set in a grim world.
I hope you enjoy the result!
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A place where cosmic insanity becomes reality, where the stars whisper, and horrible secrets are just itching to be revealed.
Magic, sorcery and witchcraft is at best frowned upon, but will more likely earn you a death sentence. None but the most power hungry or insane (or both) will tap into what lures beyond the veil of reality, and those who do keep it a secret in hidden chambers and deep dungeons. This is an example of such a place, where a mad sorcerer studies the cosmos and beyond.
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“Svart Grift” is Swedish, and means “Black Grave”. This map pictures an ancient burial tomb filled with secrets, traps and probably a few restless dead. I hope you will enjoy it – I’m sure your player’s wont! 🙂
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Of all the tropes of fantasy, the Underdark of Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting Forgotten Realms is probably one of my favorites. It is a concept I often borrow for my own world building.
My own, loosly defined, fantasy world has an extensive underdark filled with both wonder and horror – a world beneath the world, usually referred to as “The Underside”. While large parts of the Underside is a pitch black, mostly lifeless labyrinthine wasteland, there exists also beacons of life and (to some degree) civilization. It is a vast, dark cosmos in which subterranean societies thrive beneath the feet of an unsuspecting world.
To the people of the above, this place is alien and terrifying and very dangerous.
The underside of the world has it’s own sprawling network of connections, much like the roads of the “surface”. Tunnels stretch for thousands of miles, and are used for trade and travel between the different creatures and settlements of the inky blackness.
One such “road” is the endless tunnels of the Stygian Trail, and to use it means paying tribute to whoever currently occupies the ancient toll houses. It is contested territory – bitter wars and countless skirmishes has been fought over the Stygian Trail and its fortified tollhouses. This map shows one of those toll houses, with enough room to house a small band of humanoid guards and plenty of storage for tribute.
Getting past the small fortress will not be cheap, and the toll master might not settle with gold coins – there are more valuable resources in the dark.
Click here for a full sized-version of the image.
Oh, and if I’ve inspired you to run underdark adventures of your own, make sure you pick up a copy of Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart – it’s by far the best module I’ve ever read on the subject!
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A small map I made with dungeon masters in mind. It should be quite easy to fit into any typical fantasy/horror dungeon! Feel free to download it for personal use, to spice up your next adventure.
The MURDER HOUSE consists of a Prison Wing, where the Sacrificer keeps his unfortunate prisoners, and a Murder Wing where they are offered as sacrifice to the dark lord.
I’m working on a project describing a cult of snake worshipping knights – the Ordo Vipera. Thought I’d share the map of their chapter house, should anyone want to use it for their own campaign in the meantime. There’s much love and labour behind the map, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Click here for a larger image.
This is (one of the levels of) the underground chapter house of the Ordo Vipera – the Knights Viper. The Knights Viper are one of several knightly orders in my world, and quite likely the one that is viewed upon with most suspicion.
While not necessarily “evil”, the Knights Viper are secretive, non-transparent (more so than other orders) and has many hidden agendas. They rarely intervene openly with politics or the general struggle for power but tend instead to keep a watchful eye from the shadows. They do not have the martial striking capacity of some of the other knightly orders, but knowledge is power, and they use it well. The serpent knights know secrets that could potentially topple kings and queens should they be revealed.
Snakes, especially vipers, are revered by the Ordo Vipera. The inner sanctum of the chapter house is the lair of a large female viper referred to simply as “mother”. Mother is very old and very intelligent. She whispers advice to the knight-brothers, and her offspring forms tight bonds with them. Mother shares her venom with the knights, and they are considered to be the most proficient alchemists in the realm (some would rather call them poisoners, but that is not the full truth).
At any given time there are nine brothers of the Knights Viper (each filling a specific role, such as Master Librarian, Keeper of the arms, Apothecary, etc.) and nine squire-acolytes. Ruling them is the chapter master – the Lord of Scales. The order commands a host of two hundred men-at-arms.
Built in Sweden, and considered one of the first true exploration vessels capable of manned missions beyond Mars, the HMS Nordenskiöld is mankinds greatest explorer, and our biggest hope to bring us answers to the riddles of the great unknown.
Captain Palander and his crew of sixteen (incluing legendary adventurers like Giacomo Bove and Ernst Almquist) have not seen Earth in eleven years (only restockning occasionally at the Martian colonies), as they tirelessly explore the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
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