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Monday, September 5, 2011

Forgotten Crypts of the NecroToads

I almost didn't have a map for this Map Monday. I started late, intending to do an entire level with encounters in the megadungeon modular hub style (what Ed Dove has named a "megamorph".) Then, it looked like I wouldn't finish the map, because I did a lot of work and wound up not liking what I'd completed. I started over, and fortunately finished the map, although it could use some ornaments. Also, I didn't finish the keying.

So, here is a map for a set of sub-levels that could be dropped into any megadungeon. It's called The Forgotten Crypts of the NecroToads. It's meant to be roughly level 1, maybe level 2. Most of the rooms are unlabeled, but there are a couple areas noted:

Crypt Area: The entrance was a burial crypt for a town, but it was abandoned when the ancient dead began to walk again. Even though the undead seemed to be skeletons, they seemed to be tough for clerics to defeat. The crypts were sealed and forgotten.

Secret Vault: Not entirely a secret. Those who know the story about the crypts being abandoned also know a rumor that a great treasure was sealed into the crypts when an important hero was buried, but no one knows where. Research may eventually turn up the details: a vault for the hero's final resting place was loaded with his valuables and sealed with stone. It will take mining or powerful magic to break into the vault.

Battle Room: A corridor from the crypt area leads to a balcony that looks down on a lower room, originally a depository for the weapons of many slain warriors; since it was not meant to be accessed, there's no obvious way down, other than jumping. Now, however, it's a battle ground for mostly ordinary skeleton warriors which fight each other continuously; when one is "slain", it eventually rises again. The skeletons ignore anyone on the balcony, but attack any living being that falls or climbs down into their battlefield. These can be turned normally, but slain skeletons that are not pounded to dust thereafter will rise again in 2 to 12 rounds.

Corpse Storage: These rooms are more recent construction. These contain ordinary, inactive skeletons that mill around aimlessly. They do not attack unless ordered to by one of the other inhabitants of the dungeon.

Burrow Trolls: These are 1+2 HD halfling-sized trolls with weak regeneration (instead of healing damage, a troll at 0 hp or less will only die if an attack does 6 points of damage or more.) They are turned to stone by sunlight. The skeletons in the corpse storage area have been ordered to obey the burrow trolls, who are in charge of expanding the dungeon and mining important resources.

NecroToads: These intelligent 1 to 2 HD toads have the unusual ability to crawl inside the skull of an undead skeleton and control it. The effective HD of a possessed skeleton equals 1 HD plus the toad's HD, making them harder for clerics to turn; skeletons ridden by 2 HD toad are effectively immune to 1st level clerics. Ordinary NecroToads can't open doors without the aid of the skeletons.

NecroToad soldiers are larger (3 HD, 1 to 2 feet tall) and unable to fit in the skull of a human-sized skeleton, but they can turn undead as a 3rd-level cleric and have primitive manual dexterity; they can open doors with difficulty (takes 1 turn, no chance of surprise) and use javelins as weapons.

NecroToad necromancers are even larger (4 HD +, 2 to 3 feet tall) and can animate a number of undead per day equal to their hit dice. Some have additional necromantic spells, such as the one used to create the skeletons in the Battle Room.

The Frog Pools are flooded with 1 foot of water and inhabited by unintelligent carnivorous frogs of 1+1 to 2+1 HD.

These are the basics of the dungeon; I'll have a more detailed write-up later this week.

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