Totally Not IRB-Approved Wizard’s Lab – [Tuesday Set Piece Map on a Wednesday]

The wizard is running experiments in here on human and demi-human test subjects; he’s got apprentices, no doubt, but the research is probably not IRB-approved.

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Lair of the Basilisk – [Sunday Map on Monday]

A portion of a megadungeon I’d created for a short-lived campaign called Ruins of Wengemerlin. Included are some (incomplete) notes!

lair of the basilisk map

The Lair of the Basilisk

After the basilisk Zzazzafrig crawled up into the Netherhalls of Ogo the Brainless, it has since enjoyed cultivating its sculpture garden composed of the luckless spelunkers and creatures who have dared enter the lair. As a being of some power, Zzazzafrig enjoys a life of relative ease in the Netherhalls. Most of the other dwellers in the Netherhalls avoid Zzazzafrig’s lair at all costs, but rumors of the treasures of her victims draws spelunkers into her lair on a regular basis. Zzzazzafrig is also intelligent enough to allow some to escape and spread tales of her lair and its riches.

 

Reaching the Lair:

There are three primary means of directly reaching the Lair of the Basilisk: 1) Entering the underhalls through the basement of the House of Skins, an luxury tannery that deals in the exotic pelts and hides of creatures who dwell in the Netherhalls and the Dungeons of Castle Wengemerlin; 2) Through the sewers, which are inhabited by a plague of Rat Bastards and other unsavory creatures; 3) down The Well in the Reconnoitered Deathtrap Taproom, a tavern in the Doomsditch Neighborhood on Spelunker’s Square. Entering any of these ways will lead to its own issues.

 

Zzazzafrig the Basilisk

Treat as normal basilisk except Zzazzafrig is much more intelligent and will stalk spelunkers through her lair in an attempt to get them into a position where they offer the most aesthetically pleasing addition to her sculpture garden. She can also speak. She has a voice that’s slightly refined, like the aesthete she supposes herself to be.

A: The Entry Stair

This 20’ broad stair and platform leads into a large cavern across which stretches a bridge leading to the Lair of the Basilisk. There are several statues along the platform and the stair. Random Encounter chance is a 3-in-6 in this chamber. Additionally, there is a 2-in-6 chance that the clan of Bat-winged Cave Dwarfs who live in the chasm will notice anyone’s arrival and begin stalking them in order to attack on the bridge.

 

B: Chasm

This open chasm drops off to the Great Lichen Plain far below. In the air above the chasm float particulate spores from the plain below. Peering down into the chasm, one can see the faint glow of the lichen plain several hundred feet below, but it is too murky with spores to make out with any clarity. Random Encounter chance is 3-in-6 here and the Bat-winged Cave Dwarfs are have a 3-in-6 chance of noticing anyone’s presence in this area. Natural stairs lead off into the cave systems underneath the Netherhalls, eventually taking spelunkers onto the Great Lichen Plain below.

 

C: The Basilisk’s Bridge

This crumbling stone bridge crosses the chasm to reach the broken doors of what has become Zzazzafrig’s lair.

  • There is a 1-in-6 chance the PCs encounter Zzazzafrig on the bridge. Her ability to climb, though, means she will be lurking underneath the bridge and she will follow the PCs in an attempt to pick them off one by one. She will not attack a well-armed party outright but will attempt to flee.
  • On a 1-in-6, a rival group arrives.
  • Monsters: 3d3 bat-winged cave dwarfs will attack the once the PCs reach the bridge.

 

D: The Dripping Gallery

This large chamber was once a gold-domed gallery of some sort covered in nonsensical frescos. Over the years, though, the spores from the Great Lichen Plain have embedded here and grown into a riot of colorful rock-eating platlife.

  • The spores abound herein, forcing a Save vs. Death or a living creature will contract a lung disease. The moisture in this chamber has pooled on the ground and the floor is a squishy mush of plant and fungal matter that seeps up to the ankles.
  • Scraping away the growth reveals that the gilded embellishments on the walls is intact; they can be scraped away so that 25 gold worth is uncovered per 1d3 turns.
  • The statues herein are also overgrown with lichen, making it difficult to determine their identity. The lichen, being lithophagic, has also eaten away at them.
  • Monsters: A swarm of Blooderflies (3d4+2) emerges from the lichen (New Monsters).

 

E: Hall of Statues

This long hallway remains intact and only bears some lichen growth at its northern end. Statues abound in this hallway in all sorts of poses of horror and obliviousness.

  • Two glass doors bound with bronze along this hall are shut. They cannot be opened except through magical means; however they can be easily broken, but doing so results in a curse.
  • This hallway is a likely place for an attack by Zzazzafrig. There is a 3-in-6 chance she will attack in this chamber.
  • Monsters: Growing on several of the statues in this hallway is Mephical Mold (New Monsters). One of the “statues” is actually a Mimic that will attack when someone approaches; it is the only one in the hallway not covered in lichen.

 

F: Interdimensional Webway of the Grandmother of Spiders

This chamber is filled with entangled webs that make it impossible to see the farther end of the room. In fact, peering into the web gives off the impression that the room extends an impossible distance. The web isn’t sticky enough to hold anyone in place. Several strands of the web are massive, reaching 5’ to 10’ in width and appear to extend into the distance through the tangled webs. These webs are part of the Grandmother of Spiders’ interdimensional webway that connects various locations in Wengemerlin, the Netherhalls, and Castle Wengemerlin. Traveling along this route is dangerous for those who are no “in the know” with regards to the spiderkin.

  • Breaking down the door to enter in this chamber results in a curse. Roll on Dungeon Curses
  • The fresh corpse of a warrior lies about 30’ along the webway and can be seen from the room. He’s wearing a suit of +1 chainmail, carrying a broadsword, and on her corpse is a fancy shaving kit wi/trimmers, fine whale bone comb, and mustache wax (50 gold); a smattering of 4d10 gold coins spilled from her pouch; and 3 gems worth 10g, 1,000g, 50g, and 100g.

 

G: Vault of Broken Statues

Within this stone chamber Zzazzafrig keeps the shattered pieces of statues. These pieces are random body parts of her victims that are shattered to the point they no longer please the basilisk’s eye.

  • Putting together a randomly constructed body from these pieces and casting any sort of Stone to Flesh spell will create a flesh golem-like creature with the intelligence of the original head.

 

H: Collapsed Hallway

The walls and ceiling of this hallway have partially collapsed, leaving only a narrow crawlspace by which the rest of the hall can be reached. Beyond this point is the Basilisk’s actual nest. Zzazzafrig will guard her nest with viciousness. If she has been following the PCs up until this point, she will attack. If she has not noticed the PC’s presence, there is a 7:12 chance she will be found in the nest.

  • A single statue of a strongman is found in the tunnel. He is in the position of holding aloft the collapsing ceiling but caught in the middle of looking up which was when he saw the basilisk.

 

I: Zzazzafrig’s Private Collection

Within this portion of hallway, the basilisk keeps her most treasured statues. These include the following:

  • A well-endowed woolly Neanderthal club-maiden named Zarooga. She stands holding her club aloft, a primal scream of fury upon her face.
  • Two dastardly hobbits, one standing on the shoulders of the other, both wielding two axes; they were a pair of acrobat-warriors.
  • An impressively plumed knight upon a steed, lance at the ready, horse and rider both turned to stone.
  • A man in voluminous robes, his arms thrown out, a staff in hand, who has one eye shut tight and the other peeking out. This is Bazzlethorn.

 

J: Basilisk Nest

This cavern connects to the tunnels that run through the tunnels that run through the lair. The bottom chamber of the cavern is filled with 1d3+2 basilisk eggs. There is a 1:6 chance that 1d3 of them will hatch while the PCs are in the chamber or if they carry them. The basilisk eggs can be sold to the right buyers for 2,500 each.

Go ahead, use it!

(After receiving multiple email asking: I should add that the title was meant as a joke about how these maps are always named something specific as if a GM would use it for that purpose instead of whatever they want otherwise. It was not intended to mean that it’s open for commercial use. Oops.

If you’re interested in using this map or any others for a commercial product, please contact me.)

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Cave Fortress of the Whatever You Want to Use It For – [Tuesday Map]

Encounter Site: Orgy Lounge/Cannibal Soup Kitchen of the [Insert Terrible Monolithic Cult] – [Sunday Map]

I’m a big fan of set piece battles like the princess rescue scene in Conan the Barbarian, but it’s difficult to find good encounter maps. Most DIY dungeon maps out there are just a series of rectangular rooms, which, let’s be honest, are boring as hell.

I think a good dungeon cartographer needs to consider what it’s like to walk through the dungeon he-or-she is drawing, to explore it, get lost in it.; otherwise, the layouts and room design just becomes repetitive. Dungeon cartography isn’t about just being able to draw a straight line on graph paper; it should be a creative endeavor on the level of  populating or writing the history of the dungeon.

And at the core of this problem is the lack of set pieces, places where shit goes down. Of course, any room can be such a place in a good dungeon, but sometimes you gotta have a place where the big bads gather. I’ll be posting a lot more of these types of maps in the future.

So here’s the multi-use Orgy Lounge/Cannibal Soup Kitchen of the [Insert Terrible Monolithic Cult], inspired by that scene in Conan the Barbarian. It’s not a full dungeon, obviously, but can be easily dropped into a dungeon or castle when you need somewhere to run a large battle or sneak-about.

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