Dungeons of Despair (The Vault #28)

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The dungeon is a place most adventurers inevitably find themselves, whether after being captured, storming the castle, or springing an important or innocent person from the depths. Below are 20 ideas for your dungeon delving:

  1. _The Escape_ (#Escape) The adventurers have been taken captive and must escape. If only their gear hadn't been taken! > Blind shuffle your cards, then discard half of them. You also suffer a -3 on all ability rolls.

  2. _Screams of the Damned_ (#Screams) The tales of the torments administered here spring to mind as the screams of its occupants reach your ears. You shudder to think what will happen if you fail in your task. > Make a Persona roll of 10 or above. Add +1 for every level of Persona above base. Subtract -1 for every level below base. If you fail, your next ability roll suffers a -5 on the roll.

  3. _Desperate Pleas_ (#Desperate) As the adventurers pass the locked cells, desperate and filthy prisoners plea for help. Will you assist them? What if any are justly imprisoned? What if they are not?

  4. _The Traitor_ (#Traitor) One of the prisoners you released has no true hope this attempt at escape will succeed. > When the next combat event begins, draw a Tier I Bandit Encounter card, update the Tier Sum, and immediately resolve that Bandit's Surge ability.

  5. _The Departed_ (#Departed) It doesn't take supernatural senses to feel the pain and torment that has soaked into the very stones of this place. The souls of some who have perished linger here still. > Draw 2 random Undead encounter cards and begin combat. No Tier 4 or 5 card can be drawn for this battle.

  6. _Fae Shackles_ (#Shackles) The shackles in this cell have been enchanted by a Fae Lord. They begin to writhe and weave light snakes... > Each set of Fae Shackles has the stats of an Aspic Viper (Tier I Beast Encounter card). On surge rounds, the Shackles latch onto any adventurer with an ability roll less than 10. They must lose 1 health if they wish to play any future abilities.

  7. _Diamond in the Rough_ (#Diamond) A person of great worth is confined in the dungeons, unbeknownst to the jailers. You need to win them free. Who are they? A high-ranking noble? Kind-hearted twin of the ruling tyrant? Reincarnation of a hero of old, foretold to do great deeds if they survive to adulthood?

  8. _Prisoners of War_ (#POW) After a recent battlefield engagement, some of the men you've bled and toiled with are interred in the enemy's camp. For the sake of your brotherhood, you must free them or die trying. > Until the men have been freed, on every combat surge round one of your fellows is killed by his captors. If this happens you lose 1 Persona.

  9. _Buried Treasure_ (#Buried) Rumor has surfaced that the recently executed mobster, Errik the Earless, actually hid his most valuable treasure in the cell he last occupied. Are the adventurers mercenaries out to obtain it for themselves, or members of the King's Men tasked with defending the prison from the soon-to-descend horde of criminals bent on obtaining the treasure? What is the coveted item that so many are willing to kill for?

  10. _Torturer's Justice_ (#Just) One of the adventurers' parents has been taken to the most notorious prison in the realm, to be questioned about the adventurer's recent activities. Why? Will the full weight of the monarch's might soon fall upon you?

  11. _Deja Dungeon_ (#Deja) For a week the adventurers have been afflicted with terrible nightmares. Now, they realize this dungeon is the very one in their dreams. It is the place where they will perish. > Each adventurer must choose one of their abilities and set it aside, they must use it before refreshing the discard pile, but may use it whenever they want during the next battle. That ability becomes an automatic critical failure unless they make a Persona check of 10 or above.

  12. _Room of Lost Whispers_ (#Whispers) This room was enchanted long ago to capture the secrets and confessions of those broken and driven mad in its confines. Those who stand in its center sometimes hear secrets of great worth. At other times, they've been driven mad by the revelations. > Make a Persona check of 10 or above. On a failure, lower Persona by 1 level. On a success you may increase Persona or swap out one ability card.

  13. _The Pain Lab_ (#Pain) Dedicated to the science of torture, this chamber is the favorite of the Warden. > Encounter cards battling adventurers in this chamber are experts in dealing pain. All adventurers take 1 point of damage at the beginning of each round.

  14. _Rusted Hinges_ (#Hinges) The compound is suffering from extreme neglect and all cell doors are doubly difficult to open. > Any attempt to break open a door requires an Athletics check of 13 or above. Failure means the door is immovable.

  15. _The Drowning Room_ (#Drowning) This secondary well has been turned into an execution and torture chamber. Victims are chained and submerged until they break or die. Perhaps there is loot still on one of the corpses in the depths. Perhaps an adventurer is knocked into the well and must untangle themselves or drown by degrees.

  16. _The Yard_ (#Yard) Prisoners are allowed fresh air and sunlight in this walled-in, well-guarded enclosure. Still, many plots are hatched right here. The adventurers may have to survive a certain number of rounds before guards intervene, outnumbered by the other prisoners. Or they might have to use distraction and sleight-of-hand to smuggle contraband underneath the watchful gaze of the guards.

  17. _Shadowhold Sanctum_ (#Shadowhold) The souls of many who've died here vow never to give the adventurers peace until they destroy the place. If they don't, the Necromancer who built Shadowhold will continue to siphon souls for his nefarious purposes.

  18. _The Mess Hall_ (#Mess) Whether from deliberate poisoning or rancid food, this may be the deadliest location in the prison. > Adventurers must make a Fortitude (Melee) check of 13 or above or suffer 3 points of damage.

  19. _The Hidden Tunnel_ (#Tunnel) The work of countless prisoners, most of them now dead. > A random Beast (draw the Encounter card) has taken up residence in the Tunnel. Was it put there by the sadistic dungeonkeep?

  20. _The Morgue_ (#Morgue) Why is it so large? And what is that faint scratching coming from the masoleum style doors?


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* Confused by the formatting of the list? The _underscores_ (#hashtags) :icons: and > Special instruction scripts are provided for the ease of Quest Authors, who can copy and paste these directly into the Quest Creator to save time. 

Horrorscapes [The Vault #19]

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Dream vistas twisted by alien intelligences of frightening power. Environs out of Nightmare. Lands inimical to the continued life of thinking races. All these and more dwell in the provinces of the Horrors. Many have been catalogued by brave and foolhardy wizards. Some have only been spoken of during palaver with the Fae and the shades of the Dead. Few have been survived. The Codex of ibn Al-Kazad relates twenty such locations:

  1. _Cloud Castle_ (#CC) Large, black, and ominous... > Perception :ranged: :roll:s must be made each cycle around the table. Failure means the :adventurer: falls through a thinness in the cloudfloor or wall, suffering 3 hp of damage OR 1 Persona loss.

  2. _Deathlight Spire_ (#DSpire) The darkness beaming from it's pinnacle steals the minds from all things it touches. You watch a flock of birds cease their flight and plummet... > Approaching the Spire is difficult and must be done between the cycling of the deathlight. An athletics :melee: check of 13+ is required or 1 Persona is lost. If Persona hits minimum the mind of the :adventurer: is stolen by the light, as their body crumples into coma.

  3. _Crystal Caverns_ (#CCaverns) Stalagmites as large as humans litter the floor. Twisted simulacrums of the adventurers leer from their surfaces. > On a failed Persona check a simulacrum of the victim leaps from the crystal. It has half the hp of the :adventurer: and uses 1 ability drawn at random from the type(s) known by the :adventurer:.

  4. _Spore Halls_ (#Spore) A long corridor covered in fungal blooms. > Make a Perception :ranged: check. For every multiple of 5 draw 1 :magic mushroom: encounter cards. They take -1 damage and deal +1 damage while in the Hall.

  5. _The Writhing Plains_ (#WPlains) Spoken of by the surviving members of The Shining Band before they were committed to an asylum. They related a tale of a farmer's field, covered not in stalks of corn, but in grasping tentacles. > Passage through the plains requires 3 successful Athletics :melee: checks of 10+. Each failure results in loss of 1 Loot OR 2 hp.

  6. _Sucking Sands_ (#SSands) Stand still for any length of time and you're dead. It is as though something follows beneath the sands, but at a pace just slower than one can walk. > Traversing the sands requires 3 successful Endurance :melee: or :music: checks of 8+. Failure results in being sucked below the sands for 4 hp damage and combat with a foul horror.

  7. _Hairy Hole_ (#HH) The Devil's Navel, some call it. It quivers at your touch, but you see not what lies below. > Make a Persona :roll: of 11+. On failure you're compelled to enter and lose 1 Persona. On success it belches forth 1 random Loot item.

  8. _The House of Hieronymous_ (#SHouse) A vast shell, large as a small castle, now vacant. Lesser creatures live inside it now... >

  9. _Serpentskin Tunnel_ (#SS) You realize you're not in a tunnel adorned with glistening mosaic walls. Rather, this is the molted skin of a vast, dread serpent! > Make a Persona check or enter a trance induced by the glittering scales. Suffer -3 to all checks until you take damage. If combat is initiated, entranced :adventurer: s must attack another adventurer on the first round.

  10. _Dreadhome_ (#Dhome) An immense cube floating in the sky. Every few decades cyclopean stones move and shift along its surface. Sometimes things exit to bedevil the world, or plummet to gory and enigmatic deaths. > On the approach to the Cube, make a Notice :roll: of 9+. On a failure, you are attacked by 2 :nightgaunts: for each person who failed the :roll:. On a 1, the :adventurer: is also struck by a falling body (or flying body parts from impact) for 3 hp damage.

  11. _Incubation Plain_ (#IPlain) Barren plains scorched by sun and salt crystals, hatched eggs as tall as two and three story houses litter the flats. One remains, surrounded by a tentscape of adoring cultists. A ritual is about to take place atop "the One". > If the :adventurers cannot stop the 5 :Acolytes: from completing the ritual in 5 rounds, a :Cthulhi: comes forth.

  12. _The Sloar!_ (#Sloar) It's not a smoking cavern. It's the belly of a terrible beast. Like the Keymaster said, "Many shubs and zools knew what it was like to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you!" > Every round in the Sloar one suffers 1 hp of damage. Two successful Climb :melee: checks of 11+ must be made to escape back up it's gullet.

  13. _Horror Flats_ (#HFlats) The flat landscape is pocked with holes the size of wagons. Gore lingers at the edges of some. Something came from below... > Whatever foe you encounter while traversing the Flats gets a free attack against the adventurers (resolve no abilities the first round).

  14. _HellMist Hall_ (#HMHall) A venerable manor, shrouded in mists without and within. Where are they coming from? Why won't daylight dissipate them? Why do you feel so...odd? > The mists distort :music: abilities. Failure on their :roll: is treated as a "1" :roll: instead.

  15. _The ShieldWall_ (#SWall) It stands higher and thicker than a skyscraper. What was it meant to keep out? Luckily the lifts still work...for now.

  16. _The Annihilation Arch_ (#Arch) Majestic and horrific at once, sacrifices are thrown from it into the mouth of a vast, sleeping terror far below. If it could be held against it's fanatical worshipers, the terror below might be starved to death...

  17. _Webwoods_ (#WebW) If only those that spun them were spiders... > Any :roll: of 5, 10, or 15 results in the adventurer being ensnared in a web. Next round they take 1 extra hp in damage and suffer -3 to ability rolls.

  18. _The Voidswamp_ (#Void) An unnatural vacuum above the swampy surface makes all breathing impossible. > No sound travels in the void. :Music: abilities do not function here, and :magic: abilities suffer -3 to rolls.

  19. _The Trackless Dream_ (#Dream) In this place all objects return to their prior form. Nothing inanimate can be truly destroyed here. > Any :loot: spent or destroyed mysteriously re-forms two rounds later.

  20. _The Quaking Caverns_ (#QCaverns) They are constantly moving and shifting, perpetually threatening to bury anyone traveling through them. > Two Perception :ranged: checks and two Athletics :melee: checks of 9+ are required to come out of the caverns. Each time a Perception :ranged: check is failed the adventurer who failed is separated from the party and must fight a Tier I Encounter card. Each time an Athletics :melee: check is failed, the adventurer suffers 2 hp damage from moving walls and falling stone.

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Bandits' Abodes [The Vault #17]

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Whether a pirate ship,  Thieves' Forest, or hive of scum and villainy in a galaxy far, far away, the elements of subterfuge and lurking danger have been keys to adventure since time immemorial.   So far your Bandits have probably been fighting on your turf or the open road.  Let's take the standard highwaymen and let their trickery truly shine with 20 intriguing iterations that give them a little "home field advantage"... 

Alternatively (and as suggested in last week's Vault, "Tools of the Trade") a clever GM or author could allow some of these to be used by adventurers preparing to withstand a siege or defend a village. 

  1. _The Narrow Pass_ (#Narrow) It's like fitting a camel through the eye of a needle. > Only 1 adventurer with a :melee: ability can attack at a time. Of course, that also means only one non-Archer :bandit: can as well.

  2. _Trapdoor_ (#TrapD) Ackbar saw it coming... > A Notice :ranged: :roll: of 11 or above detects its presence. It either conceals a Tier II :loot: item or allows one enemy or obstacle to be circumvented.

  3. _Spiked Pit_ (#SPit) Finding one is often the beginning of a bad day. > An Athletics :melee: :roll: of 13 or above is necessary to leap over the pit. On a 12 or below suffer 4 hp of damage. On a 1 also lose the next action due to impalement.

  4. _"Guard" Shack_ (#GShack) Theft is worse when the government is the thief. > On the first round of battle up to two :bandits: suffer -1 from all damage.

  5. _Toll Bridge_ (#TBridge) Pay the toll or face the troll! > Cleverly concealed :bandits: surround the party from both sides, forcing them to take either +1 to damage this round or -3 to ability :rolls:.

  6. _Pillared Pathways_ (#PPath) The path to the next room takes you over a dark pit. You'll have to cross a dozen narrow wooden pillars to get there. > Make an Athletics :melee: :roll: of 7 or above to cross. If you fail, you perish.

  7. _Cistern_ (#Cistern) The bars preventing swimmers through to the castle's well look like they're old and ill-tended. > Make a :melee: attack successfully and two Swim/Hold Breath :music: :roll: s of 8 and 10 or above to gain entry.

  8. _The Impressive Vault_ (#Vault) Just look at the size of her knobs! > A Pick Lock :roll: of 12 or above cracks the code on the vault. Countless treasures (and perhaps a few traps) await you inside.

  9. _Supply Wagon_ (#SWagon) Drive it like you stole it... > If chasing the wagon, an Athletics/Ride :roll: of 8 or above gets you near enough to board it. On a 1 you fall off and suffer 2 hp damage. If driving the wagon and being pursued, a :roll: of 13 or above evades pursuit. Failure results in combat with two random Tier I humanoid enemies. A 1 on the :roll: adds a Tier II encounter card.

  10. _Palisade Screen_ (#Screen) Portable, spiked wooden screens have been set in your path. > Jump the palisades with a Ride :melee: :roll: of 9 or above. On a failure you're thrown for 3 hp damage.

  11. _Spider Hole_ (#SHole) This one is figurative, not literal... > On a Notice :ranged: :roll: of 8 or above you see the ambusher and deal +1 damage this round against it's occupant. On a failure take +1 damage this round.

  12. _Dank Alleyway_ (#DAlley) It's dark, and nasty...hey, does someone smell patchouli? > An Intimidate :influence: :roll: of 10 or above can frighten away the lurking ne'er do wells. Failure emboldens them. Add an extra Tier I Bandit to the encounter.

  13. _Drinking Hall_ (#DHall) Designed for revelry and contests of skill. > Axe Throwing. Darts. Gambling. Drinking contests. Pick your selection of role playing fodder or skill checks. Start a brawl if you want to.

  14. _Campfire_ (#Camp) They thought they'd gotten away. Show them differently. > During combat, on all rolls of 7, one of the Bandits stumbles into the fire and suffers 2 damage. On all rolls of 13, the same happens to an adventurer.

  15. _Forest Hideout_ (#Hideout) A camp camouflaged and hidden in the treetops. > All :bandit: Archers deal 1 extra damage each round and take -1 damage from :ranged: and :melee: abilities. If an adventurer makes a Climb :melee: :roll: of 9 or above, they can inflict +1 damage in future rounds with :ranged: attacks.

  16. _Tunnels_ (#Tunnels) They twist and wind...it'd be easy to get lost in here. > Unless a successful Knowledge :magic: :roll: is made of 11 or greater, you get lost in the tunnels or your quarry escapes.

  17. _Dead End Chamber_ (#End) There's only one way out... > The confined chamber hampers any retreat and any :magic: abilities that damage more than one target also damage an adventurer on odd rolls (1, 3, 5, etc.).

  18. _Pitchblack Cavern_ (#Pitch) There's no light here, and the dripping water quickly drenches you and dowses torches. > Unless a Perception :ranged: or :magic: check of 10 or above succeeds in the first round, the difficulty of all ability :roll: s is increased by 3.

  19. _False Floor_ (#FFloor) With a swift yank on a lever, the bandit makes the floor collapse beneath you. > An Athletics :melee: :roll: of 10 or above allows you to absorb the fall. Below a 10 and you suffer 2 damage.

  20. _False Wall_ (#FHall) Reinforcements come screaming out of the fake wall panel! > Add two Tier I :bandit: s to the Encounter.

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