Sunday, 16 June 2019

Miniature Painting

I used to paint a lot of miniatures back in high school and even through university. This would be back in the mid-'80s and mid-'90s.  I gradually slowed down and rarely painted anymore as an adult. Even though my tools, paints, and miniatures became much better.

The last miniature I painted was in 2013 for a Harnmaster game I was taking part. I decided to paint recently when I designed a Heroforge miniature on their site for my D&D 5th edition online game "Once more into the Void". My character, the overweight mage Otrivush Oto. There was no miniature on the market that looked like him so I went to Heroforge.

Otrivush Oto

I still could not get a body type big enough to be representative of Oto but I went as large as it would let me.  Given the cost, after shipping, I definitely wanted to paint it.

Unfortunately, I now need reading glasses and I found it very hard to paint wearing glasses with such a narrow field of focus. You cannot move closer to the miniature to get more detail. I ended up painting much of the miniature while looking through a magnifying glass on a stand. The nice thing is that the glass had LED lights the illuminated the miniature.

The results are okay. I was a much better painter in the past but maybe that will come with a few more tries. I also had to struggle with paints that had not been used in six years. I lacked the proper glue to attach the mini to a wood stand so I used carpenters glue. The glue I used was too strong and the mini broke off at the ankles and the base broke in half when I removed it from the wood stand. I managed to fix this with my pin vise drill, wire, and some contact cement.

Accident Repair

Otrivush Oto Heroforge Miniature

The Colossal Caves Lower Dungeon

Part 2: The Lower Caves

The Orcs have given away their duties of protecting the entrance to the Lower Caves from intrusion to a tribe of Kobolds. The kobolds have taken the time to scatter traps throughout the Lower level. Most of these traps are in rooms but in a few locations noted by a “T” there is a hallway trap. The Hallway traps are a tripwire that triggers a poison dart trap hidden in the wall (save vs. poison or die).

Wandering Monster Table
Every two turns the DM should roll a 1d6 and on a 1 the adventurers encounter a wandering monster from the table below.

1 Acolyte NA 1-8, AC 2, HD 1, hp 4 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 mace, Dmg 1-6, Save C1, ML 7, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT U. Acolytes of Itrix.

2 Bandit NA 1-8, AC 6, HD 1, hp 3 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short sword, Dmg 1-6, Save T1, ML 8, AL N, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT U. A straggler from the bandit band.

3 Bear, Black NA 1, AC 6, HD 4, hp 16, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 2 claws/1 bite, Dmg 1-3/1-3/1-6, Save F2, ML 7, AL N, xp 75, THAC0 16, TT U. A mascot kept by kobolds.

4 Orc NA 2-8, AC 6, HD 1, hp 4 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 8, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT D. A wandering patrol.

5 Skeleton NA 2-8, AC 7, HD 1, hp 3 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 12, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT Nil. Some corpses animated by the Itrix temple.

6 Kobold NA 4-16, AC 7, HD ½, hp 3 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 dagger, Dmg 1-4, Save NM, ML 6, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT P. Members of the Kobold tribe.

Entering the Dungeon

Key to the Lower Caves.

(1). The Entry
The rough-hewn stairs descend 20 feet into a dungeon chamber. There are four wooden doors leading out from the chamber. The chamber itself has a scattering of debris lying on the floor. Broken wood crates, barrels and torn fabric. It looks like goods stolen from the village.

If an adventurer has set off the trip wire trap at the top of the stair, the kobolds in areas 2 and 4 have been alerted and will rush into the chamber to attack.

(2). Guard Chamber

This chamber is a barracks or sleeping area. There are a number of crude wood beds with thatch covering them. On the thatch are a mess of wool sheets probably recently taken from the village. Some clothes hang from wooden pegs pounded into cracks in the stone block walls.

There are 6 kobolds resting in this chamber. If they were alerted by noise in area 1, they will move to attack while the heroes are still in area 1.

Kobolds (6) AC 7, HD ½, hp 3 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 dagger, Dmg 1-4, Save NM, ML 6, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT P.

(3). Concealed Vault

This room looks to be a sleeping area. There is a battered chest of drawers with the drawers pulled out and the wreckage of a wooden bed. A pile of old rags rests on the bed. A door to the north appears to lead to a closet.

The closet contains some rotting, old clothes and robes hanging on wooden pegs. If one of the pegs is pulled down it is the trigger for the secret door to area 27.

(4). Holding Pens

The room has a rank smell of sweat and urine. Chained to the west wall are four human men. They look filthy and malnourished. The men are dressed in rags.

Several Kobolds are in this chamber guarding the humans. The four men are hunters that were captured by the orcs and turned over to the kobolds as slaves. If released the men will plead for food and water. If they are allowed to eat too much, they will become sick and will have trouble moving.

Kobolds (6) AC 7, HD ½, hp 3 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 dagger, Dmg 1-4, Save NM, ML 6, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT P.

(5). Stable

The chamber has been turned into a stable for some type of animal. There are six stalls on the east wall made of wood. The chamber smells of urine.

The southern door from this chamber is trapped. There is a 1-3 on 1d6 chance when the door is opened of triggering the trap. A trapdoor in the floor in front of the door opens and drops characters into a pit 10 feet deep filled with 3 feet of water. The cover of the pit swings closed and locks after 1 round. The wooden trap door can be smashed with weapons. Treat it as having 12 hit points. If the players try to smash open the trap door there is a 1-3 on 1d6 chance of attracting a wandering monster.

The stables are used to house wolves. They are out patrolling right now.

(6). Spoils of war

The room is dark and smelly. Filling the area are open wooden crates and debris. Torn clothing litters the floor.

There is nothing in this chamber. The crates are emptied of goods.

(7). Watch post

The room appears to be a watch post for the dungeon. There is a table with two chairs in the middle of the room. Lying on the floor is a dead kobold, face down with a bleeding wound in his back. Going through the kobold’s tunic pockets is a man wearing light, brown armor.

The man is a thief, a member of the band headed by Reginald the Mumbler. The thieves still loyal to Reg's leadership have decided to make a foray into the caves. This thief, Nivmes, was scouting and got cut off from the rest of the band.

Bandit (1) AC 6, HD 1, hp 4, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short sword, Dmg 1-6, Save T1, ML 8, AL N, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT U. In a small bag in his pocket are two green gems each worth 50 gold.

(8). Green Slime

The secret door leads to a 20-foot square chamber that appears empty. Even the walls and ceiling look clean and bare. The floor, however, is covered with green muck.

The green muck is green slime that the orcs and kobolds use as garbage disposal.

Green Slime (1) AC -, HD 2, hp 14, MV 3’ (1’), #AT 1, Dmg see note, Save F1, ML 12, AL N, xp 25, THAC0 18, TT Nil. In a small bag in his pocket are two green gems each worth 50 gold.

Green slime can always be hit but it is only harmed by fire or cold. It dissolves clothes and armor in 6 rounds. Once in contact with skin, it will stick and turn the skin into slime. A victim will be turned into slime in 4 rounds if the slime is not burned off (doing half fire damage to the victim as well).

(9). Running Water

As you approach you can hear the sound of running water. Water rushes out of a small opening (2-foot square) in the north wall filling a pool with water. It appears to leave through a similar opening in the south wall. The cave pool filled with the water looks to be clear and about five feet deep.

The water is clean and cold, safe to drink. There is a crack in the south wall just as you enter the chamber. The first person to enter the cave will trigger a trap that fires a jet of flame out of the crack in the wall. If will burn anyone in front of the crack for 1d10 points of damage. There is ash on the floor and around the crack that is visible if the heroes are checking carefully.

(10). Latrine

The room is walled in stone blocks covered in a sheen of moisture. There is a 3-foot high wooden bench along the southern wall. Small holes have been cut into the top of the bench in a row. The stench of waste in this chamber is overpowering.

The latrine of the dungeon.

(11). Secret Door

Two passages end in secret doors at this spot in the dungeon. The doors are found normally (1 on 1d6 for most). The trigger on each side is a small stone in the wall that is depressed. The secret doors are clearly visible from inside the room. The room between the doors is empty.

(12). Trap / Secret Door

The passage ends in a small chamber. There is a battered statue of an elf holding a short bow in the center of the chamber. The elf’s arrow is pointed at the north wall.

Upon closer examination, players will note that the statue can be rotated. It will take a combined strength of 25 to turn the statue. If it is turned to face south a click will be heard and the secret door to area 13 will open. The giant ant located at area 13 will attack immediately.

(13). Ant ambush

As soon as the door to this secret room is opened a giant Driver Ant will lumber out and attack.

Driver Ant (1) AC 3, HD 4*, hp 20, MV 180’ (60’), #AT 1, Dmg 2-12, Save F2, ML 12, AL N, xp 125, THAC0 16, TT Nil. The ant will attack relentlessly and fight to the death.

There are several broken bones scattered about the floor of the chamber. They are humanoid and some could be human. They are all broken up so it is hard to tell.

(14). Doppelganger

This room appears to be a meeting area or speaking area. Wooden benches face a podium and lectern near the north wall. The room is well lit by a lantern held in the hand of a tall man dressed in leather armor. The man has a bushy red-bearded face and smiles as he sees you revealing a mouth missing almost all of his teeth.

The man is actually a doppelganger. He will smile at the players and ask what took them so long, how did they get separated from the group. The man appears to think the players are bandits’ part of his band. If he is asked his name, he will grow confused realizing they are not bandits. He will attempt to cover up his error by demanding to know who they are and warning them that his large group of bandits is a short distance away. If he can work his way into the group of heroes he will, he will attempt to avoid most fighting. If he gets a chance to get a hero alone, he will attack and replace him.

Doppelganger (1) AC 5, HD 4*, hp 21, #AT 1, Dmg 1-12, Save F10, ML 10, AL C, xp 125, THAC0 16. Immune to sleep and charm spells. It can shape change to resemble any humanoid creature up to 7 feet tall. Because it assumed the players were thieves it has taken the appearance of Reginald the Mumbler.  He is armed with a short sword but it is part of the shape change. Use the 1-12 damage if he attacks.

(15). Art Room

The large room is decorated with three tapestries. The tapestries each depict a large black dragon, at war, sleeping, and flying.

These are idealized portrayals of Scatha, the black dragon. Scatha is not actually this big. The tapestries suggest an enormous dragon 50 feet long.

(16). Storage

This large chamber is currently used for storage. There is at least a dozen, square wooden crates stacked along the east wall.

The crates are recently places here. They are marked as the property of Noss Shipping. Inside the crates are trade items useful to the town of Carlion. These include blankets, clothing, nets, fishing rods, candles, soap, etc. Hidden amongst the contents is a brown sack that contains 90 gold coins.

(17). Amused Orc

There is a large mirror on the west wall of this chamber. Also, in the chamber is a table with two drawers, an open wooden chest, and a chair. Clothes spilled out of the wooden chest. Standing before the mirror is an orc holding a red, women’s dress up before it so it can see the effect in the mirror.

Orc (1) AC 6, HD 1, hp 7, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 8, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT D. The orc was part of a wandering patrol and decided to snoop.

(18). Gas Trap

There are two racks against the east wall between a pair of doors. Four spears rest in the rack.

There is a bottle of poisonous gas resting behind the blade of one of the spears. It is not visible from the front. If the spear is removed the bottle will fall to the ground and break. Gas will spill forth and fill the chamber with a greenish-yellow cloud. All those within the cloud must Save vs. Poison or die. The gas remains for 6 turns.

(19). Arrow Trap

There are two racks against the east wall. Two spears and two crossbows rest in the rack.

There is a trip wire stretched across the entrance to this room at the top of the stairs. It is connected to the two crossbows. If it is not noticed a character climbing the stairs will break the wire. Both crossbows will topple to the floor and fire at the stairway entrance. This should be treated as a pair of attacks by a 2 HD monster (THAC0 19). The bolts do the standard 1-6 damage.

(20). Magical Chamber

The room is octagonal in shape with each wall being 5 feet long. The ceiling in the room is domed reaching a peak of 15 feet overhead. On each of the octagonal walls, there is a painting of what appears to be four different gods, three male visages and one female. In the center of the room, there is an iron-bound chest. Lying on the ground near the chest are two charred orc bodies.

If anyone touches the chest in the center of the room, they will be struck by a lightning bolt emanating from the ceiling. The bolt of electricity does 2d6 damage. On the second round, after anyone enters the chamber, the dome will begin to glow red. A voice will call out, “Who goes there?” The dome has an enchantment cast on it to be an oracle. The voice can answer simple questions. It does not know much about the current situation in the Caves having been created on a whim by a wizard many years ago. It does know that the paintings represent Nis (Law), Nebus (Judgement), Vaion (Rivers), and Irus (childbirth). It is aware of the Temple of Itrix to the north and that orcs inhabit the caves.

The chest contains 156 copper and 45 silver coins. It is a collection box for those gifting the oracle.

(21). Well Room

This round chamber is clearly a well-room. In the center of the room is a ten-foot in diameter hole. There is no barrier around the hole. Lining the wall are a dozen clay pots. Four men are holding a rope that descends into the hole at the end of which is another man climbing down (or up). Another man directs the proceedings from across the well.

The six men are bandits, part of Reginald’s band. These men are currently loyal to Ikalis and have been directed to search the well. The well descends 20 feet to the water level. Just a few feet above the water level is an apparent opening on the north wall. An almost completely flooded room. In this room, there is a submerged iron chest (8 feet under the water). The chest contains 80 gold coins and a Crystal ball.

Bandits (6) AC 6, HD 1, hp 3 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short sword, Dmg 1-6, Save T1, ML 8, AL N, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT U. The bandits will tell adventurers that they are men from Carlion who have come to avenge the village. They have not put a lot of thought into the ruse and can be caught out fairly easily.

(22). Temple Cloakroom

This chamber has a number of wooden pegs on the walls from which hang more than a dozen black, cleric robes. There are also two wooden benches and a large trunk.

The cloaks are the standard robes for the clerics of Itrix. In the trunk are four pairs of slippers, 3 tassels to cinch the robes and a green robe that looks oddly out of place (an Elven Cloak).

One of the wooden pegs can be twisted clockwise to open the secret door to area 20. The clerics of the temple are unaware of the secret door.

(23). Temple of Itrix

Against the north wall of this chamber is a stone altar five-feet long and three-feet high. The altar is stained brown with dried blood. A blood red carpet extends across the chamber in front of the altar. Behind the altar is a bronze symbol of the sun. Two braziers of stone rest against the west wall. Four robed figures stand before the altar, one appears to be holding a curved, ritual dagger. A man in rags is being held down on the altar by the other three robed figures.

The four men are clerics of the evil god Itrix. Ikalis has convinced them to support his plans of local domination in return for captives they can sacrifice for the favor of their evil god.

The man on the altar is Ragnar Bonde one of the captives takes from Carlion. He has the statistics of a normal man.

Clerics (4) AC 2, HD 1, hp 6 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 mace, Dmg 1-6, Save C1, ML 7, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT U. Acolytes of Itrix.

(24). Temple Guards

This chamber is unfurnished bare stone. There are six humans standing in the chamber rocking slightly back and forth. The humans are dressed in rags, carry spears and their skin is a sickly, rotted grey color. Some of the “men” have obvious grievous wounds that hang open with no sign of blood.

The men are zombies raised by the clerics of Itrix to serve as guards. They will attack anyone who enters this chamber who is not wearing a black robe.

Zombies (6) AC 8, HD 2, hp 12 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 12, AL C, xp 20, THAC0 18, TT Nil.

If Ragnar Bonde is with the adventurers, he will recognize one of the zombies as Nils Mossing who was a resident of Carlion and the local cobbler.

(25). Spider

As you look into this room you can see an enormous spider.  The spider is near the center of the room beside a large, wooden box with a closed lid. The spider starts to scuttle toward you clicking its mandibles.

The enormous spider is a magical giant tarantella.

Tarantella (1) AC 5, HD 4*, hp 22, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 bite, Dmg 1-8 + poison, Save F2, ML 8, AL N, xp 125, THAC0 15, TT Nil. The bite of a tarantella causes damage and painful spasms which resemble a frantic dance. The victim of a bite must save vs. poison or start dancing. Anyone watching the dancer must save vs. spells or start dancing in the same way. Dancing victims have a -4 to hit and when attacked the attacker gains a +4 to hit. The effect lasts 2-12 turns. Victims will drop from exhaustion in 5 turns and will be helpless if attacked.

The wooden box is unlocked, inside is a suit of plate mail +1, a shield +1 and a bag with 35 silver coins.

(26). Meeting area

Many doors lead into this large chamber. The ceiling is a 20-foot-high dome resting on the 10-foot-tall stone walls. At the peak of the ceiling, the stone is cracked and a small opening seems to lead outside. In the center of the room is a smoldering fire pit. Stone bricks have been placed in a rough 6 foot in diameter circle to contain the embers. Mismatched chairs and tables are placed around the firepit. Against one wall is a pile of broken wooden doors.

This is a resting area that the orcs and kobolds use.

(27). Kitchen

This chamber is a cooking area. There is a large cooking fire in the middle with a spit. The fire is long gone cold. On the east wall, there are a number of wooden boxes stacked double high. There is a sound of running water from the west.

The wooden boxes contain rotted foodstuffs. It looks to have been left unattended for several weeks.

(28). Running Stream

The sound of running water is very loud in this chamber. Water runs from a hole in the north wall and out through another hole in the south wall. The floor of the chamber is tilted down into the water and back up on the other side. The water does not appear very deep. Stranded on the other side of the water is a 3-foot-long black beetle. There is also a wooden chest lying against the west wall.

The beetle fell into the stream upriver and managed to crawl out in this chamber. It is quite agitated and will attack anyone approaching it.

Oil Beetle (1) AC 4, HD 2*, hp 14, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 bite + special, Dmg 1-6 + special, Save F1, ML 8, AL N, xp 25, THAC0 17, TT Nil.
The oil beetle can squirt out an oily fluid at one of their attackers at a range of 5 feet. If the oil hits it raises painful blisters, causing the victim to fight with a penalty of -2 to hit. This can be cured by a cure light wounds spell or it will go away after 24 hours.

The chest is unlocked and contains 130 silver coins.

The Oil Beetle

(29). Old Armory

This room is a crude armory or weapon storage area. There is a wooden table with a pile of bent, broken and twisted spears lying upon it. A pair of daggers sticking out of a wooden board attached to the north wall. Two wooden staves lean against the west wall.

All of the weapons are broken, rusty and useless.

(30). Pendulum Trap

There is a wooden crate lying unattended in the middle of the room. There is a 2-inch-wide crack in the north wall that extends from the ceiling to the floor of the chamber. Recently added wooden posts and beams have been added to this chamber to shore up the ceiling.

Inside the 2’ square crate is a single piece of paper. Scrawled in charcoal on the paper is a headless body with “X”’s through its eyes.

A huge metal ball on a metal chain will swing out of the ceiling with a good chance of hitting anyone in the chamber. All heroes in the chamber must make a Dexterity check to duck aside. Those that fail the check are struck for 2d4 points of damage.

(31). Barracks

This room is clearly a barracks, several wooden bunks line the walls and there is a rough, wooden table surrounded by six plain, wooden chairs. On the table, there are several melted candles, a knife, and a few playing cards.

There is nothing of interest in these Orc barracks. The playing cards are crudely drawn.

(32). Lever Room

This chamber is empty of furniture. On the north wall, there are 3 metal levels. All of the levers are in the up position. They do not appear to be connected to anything.

The levers are magical and ring alarm bells in different parts of the dungeon. If a level is pulled down, a deep bell will be heard somewhere in the distance. The same thing is heard for each level but each seems to come from a different part of the dungeon. Pushing the level back up ends the ringing.

The western level rings a bell in room 4, the middle level rings a bell in room 35 and the last level rings a bell in room 36.

(33). Dungeon Guardian

The entry from the north is blocked by a frayed curtain that parts in the middle. The door to the hallway is barred from the inside.

The room beyond is a simple bedchamber. There is a bed with covered in sheets, a small table with chairs and a large fur on the floor. Two large, open trunks rest on the floor. Wooden beams stretch across the ceiling. A woman in a dark dress stands with her back to you, she is bent over a wooden cane. Here long hair cascades down her back and seems to move about as you watch.

The woman is actually a medusa. Ikalis hired her to be a guardian of the lower dungeons. The trunks contain her clothing, bedsheets, and furs. Under the straw mattress on the bed are a leather sack holding 45 gold coins and 3 rubies worth 500 gold each.

Medusa (1) AC 8, HD 4**, hp 28, MV 90’ (30’), #AT 1 snakebite + special, Dmg 1-6 + poison, Save F4, ML 8, AL C, xp 175, THAC0 15. The medusa has a +2 on saves vs. spells.

A medusa has snakes growing from her head instead of hair. The sight of a medusa will turn a creature to stone unless the victim saves vs. Turn to Stone. The bite of the snakes is poisonous (save vs. poison or die within 1 turn). The group of snakes may only attack once per round.

A medusa can be safely looked at in a mirror or reflective device. If a medusa sees itself in a mirror it must save vs. Turn to Stone or petrify itself. Anyone trying to attack a medusa without looking at it must do so at -4 to hit. The Medusa gets a +2 to hit against creatures trying to avoid its gaze.

The Medusa

(34). Lookout

This chamber is noticeably colder than other areas of the dungeon. There is a rickety wooden scaffold with a ladder pushed against the south wall. The scaffold platform is ten feet overhead. The ceiling of the chamber is 20 feet overhead. On the scaffold platform is an orc with a short bow. The orc is looking out a window in the south wall at a height of 15 feet up the wall.

The window is 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. It provides a view down the side of the mountain overlooking parts of the path up from Carlion in the valley below. The pool outside the dungeon is not within the view of the lookout.  The orc is on guard and his attention is on the valley. If he is alerted, he will kick over the ladder and open fire with his short bow.

Orc (1) AC 6, HD 1, hp 6, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short bow, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 8, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT D. He will bellow a warning in orcish hoping to alert the orcs in the guardroom (35).

(35). Watch room

There are two tables surrounded by crude benches in this room. Seated on the benches are five orcs. Only one of the orcs appears to be awake.

The orcs have the potential of being alerted by the orc in area 34 or the ringing of the alarm. If this is the case the orcs are positioned to either side of the eastern entrance and attack with surprise.
Orcs (5) AC 6, HD 1, hp 5 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 club, Dmg 1-4, Save F1, ML 8, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT D. They are armed with wooden clubs.

(36). Guard Room

This small chamber has a wooden table and two chairs. One chair lies on its side. There is nothing else in the chamber.

This is a guardroom but the orc guards have been moved to area 43.

(37). Temple Quarters

Several doors enter this chamber and the room has four comfortable looking beds which seems out of place considering what you have seen in this dungeon. There is a wooden trunk at the foot of each bed.

This is the living quarters for the priests of this temple of Itrix. There is clothing in the wooden trunks.

(38). Altar to Itrix

Eyes are immediately drawn to the statue of a demon against the east wall. The statue is at least twelve feet tall and depicts what you assume is a demon with goat feet and head. A single row of 3 wooden benches faces the statue. A small, stone altar sits before the statue. Chained to the south wall are six humans in rags. Two humans in black robes are kneeling before the altar.

The two clerics are the high priest Orjun and Pheklios the primary acolyte. They will be found kneeling in prayer even if noise has alerted them to the adventurer’s presence. But they could be surprised. The humans chained to the wall are destined to be sacrificed. They are travelers waylaid on the road to Carlion.

Orjun (1) AC 2, HD 3**, hp 18, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 staff, Dmg 2-12, Save C3, ML 12, AL C, xp 65, THAC0 16. He is armed with a Staff of Wounding. It does 2d6 points of damage on each hit in which a charge is expended. It currently has 6 charges remaining.  He also knows the spells Light and Protection from Good. He has a gold pendant around his neck depicting Itrix. It is worth 400 gold. He is wearing plate mail armor. He is about 60 years old and does not move very well.

Pheklios (1) AC 2, HD 2*, hp 14, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 mace+1, Dmg 1-6+1, Save C2, ML 7, AL C, xp 25, THAC0 17. He is armed with a mace +1. He wears chainmail and has a ring of protection +1 on his left hand. He knows the spells cause light wounds and darkness. He has two non-magical rings on his right hand (worth 300 gold each). His belt is made of leather with silver inlaid and is worth 200 gold. He has a pouch with 4 gems in it worth 50 gold each. Pheklios is not a dedicated follower and will surrender if Orjun is killed. He has been stealing from the temple which explains the wealth he carries.

The statue of Itrix has rubies for eyes that are worth 400 gold each. On the altar is a silver dagger with a gold sheath covered in gems. It is worth 700 gold.

The human captives are the family of Baran (NM age 54) and his wife Onara (NM age 42). Their children Fingola (NM age 16) and Aileen (NM age 14). The fifth captive is their hired guard Fiac Wodde (F1 age 22).  Fiac is willing to lead the family out of the dungeon if they are released. They have not eaten in three days.

(39). GateKeeper

The stout wooden door to this room has a viewing slot at eye level that cannot be opened from the outside. If heroes try the door, they will find that it is barred from the inside. In the room is the Orc gatekeeper. He will open the slot even someone knocks on the door. Given the number of human bandits in the dungeon, he might be tricked in believing that the heroes are bandits working for Ikalis. There is a lever in this room that is used to open the portcullis at area 40. There is no password, the orc just needs to be convinced that the heroes work for Ikalis. The orc speaks common, orc and goblin.

The room is lightly furnished with a rug, a filthy tapestry on the wall depicting a tiger, a crude bed covered in dirty blankets, a desk and two chairs. There is a lever in the middle of the floor that is currently facing north at a 45-degree angle.

The level needs to be pulled south to open the portcullis. Under the bed is a wooden box, with 23 silver coins and 12 gold coins in it.

Orc (1) AC 6, HD 1, hp 8, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short sword, Dmg 1-6+1, Save F1, ML 10, AL C, xp 15, THAC0 19, He gains a +1 to damage due to his strength.

(40). Gate to the Upper Dungeons

Further passage east is blocked by a portcullis. There is no clear way to open the portcullis and the thick metal bars look well used.

The gate can be opened from area 39. Heroes can try to bend the bars of the gate but at least 4 bars would have to be bent just to allow a thin hero (elf or halfling) to pass through. There is no way to raise the gate from the other side.

(41). Watch Room

This room is furnished with six chairs a table and ten simple cots. There is no one in the room currently but it looks like it was recently occupied.

This is the sleeping chamber for the orcs guarding the entrance to the upper dungeon.

The orcs that will ambush heroes in area 42 come from this room. If the ambush is in the northern hall they will come out behind the heroes through the north door. If the ambush is in the southern hall, they will come out in front of the heroes through the open passage.

Orc (8) AC 6, HD 1, hp 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 8, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 8, AL C, xp 10, THAC0 19, TT D.

(42). Orc ambush

At these points on the map, heroes will be ambushed by orcs coming out of area 43.

Orc Ambush

(43). Secret Guard Room

This chamber is a guard room. There are two small, wooden tables, several stools and a weapon rack against the east wall. A brazier in one corner with hot coals burning in it keeps the room warm.

There is no one using this chamber currently.

The adventure continues in the Upper dungeons of the Colossal Caves.

The Dungeon Map

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Colossal Caves Part 1


The Colossal Caves is an adventure written for the B/X edition of the D&D rules. The adventure is meant for character levels 1-3. Large parties may fare better.

The Colossal Caves was originally written in 1982 and it was one of the first adventures I wrote. It is definitely a dungeon crawl and representative of many adventures written at the time. I believe I used the random dungeon generator tables in the back of the Dungeon Masters Guide to generate the basic structure of the dungeon and then free-handed in other areas as I saw fit.

For this version, I have cleaned things up a fair amount. For the most part, I have kept the same monsters in the same dungeon map but I have rewritten the room descriptions. The original version text was very basic. So be prepared for monsters, lots of monsters and an above average number of traps.

The Colossal Caves Setting and Background

The Colossal Caves are under Mount Vorhut in a low range of mountains. Vorhut is the highest of the range and is a long extinct volcanic cone. The dungeons beneath Vorhut or at least 200 years old but no one remembers who constructed them. Most rumors assume they are of dwarven construction or the result of some evil overlord with an army of goblinoids. Whatever their origin they have been repeatedly used over the years by bandits, orcs, and goblins. The most recent occupiers of the caves were bandits lead by one Reginald the Mumbler.

Recently, a wizard arrived at the Mount Vorhut accompanied by a black dragon. With the dragon’s backing the wizard Ikalis Blackflame convinced the bandits to accept him as their new leader. Once he moved in, Ikalis was joined by the Red Claw clan of orcs led by Tarak Bonebreaker.

The Colossal caves can be set in any wild lands area of your own campaign.  The village of Carlion is small enough to fit in practically anywhere.

Part 1: Carlion and the road to the caves.

The adventure starts with the heroes on the road north. On their map, there is a tiny village marked a few miles north where they should be able to rest and hopefully sleep under a roof. As the mountains are just becoming visible, they see smoke rising on the horizon in the direction of the village of Carlion.

As they continue toward the village, they see three horse-drawn carts loaded high with bundles of possessions. The carts are those of three families of villagers fleeing from Carlion. If the players stop the refugees to question them, they will hear that Carlion is burning. A dragon arrived early just before dawn and burned down most of the buildings and killed all of the local militia. Only a handful of people remain in Carlion. If the refugees are questioned carefully the players can learn that the dragon had very dark scales and was difficult to see. There also appears to have been orcs involved in the attack.

The attack was actually carried out by a black dragon known as Scatha. The burned buildings were from fires set by orcs but the dragon did knock over sections of the town palisade, damage buildings and kill the militia.

Leading the refugees is Rob Hegge who was the blacksmith in Carlion. He is in the lead wagon with his family. In the second wagon is the family of the carpenter Leiv Caspar. The last wagon has Hannah Voll with her three children.


The village sits astride the Darkrun stream. A wooden bridge crosses the stream and was not damaged in the attack. There are only 14 buildings in the village and the larger buildings are in ruins and still smoking from this morning’s fires. There is one stone building in the village, a sanctum dedicated to the nature god Eses. The palisade around the village has three large sections that have been knocked over on the west side of the river.

There are no guards blocking the way into the village and the village gates lie open. Ahead a few men can be seen gathering bodies and laying them on the main street in front of a stone building that appears to be a temple. The locals look up in concern at your approach.

The locals are in no condition to start a fight so they look about concerned until one bearded man wearing soot-covered clothes approaches. He introduces himself as Dragfinn Noss the leader of the village. Judging that they are adventurers he asks if they can take a message to the local Watchtower that is manned by soldiers of the realm. The watchtower is just visible on the horizon to the northwest on top of a hill. Noss is concerned that the soldiers did not come to the aid of Carlion so he suspects the worst but someone needs to check on the tower.

Noss will answer questions about the attack. He awoke to find his home (the provisioner shop) on fire. He got his family outside onto the street and saw a dragon fly overhead. Father Solberg, the town priest, cast a beam of light at the dragon which flew back over the priest and killed him in a blast of its breath. Noss believes the dragon breath was acidic. He also saw orcs carrying torches setting the buildings on fire. Noss suspects that the orcs came from the caves up in the mountains. There is an infamous dungeon up in the mountains rumored to be beneath Mount Vorhut called the Colossal Caves. He tells the heroes that they can get to the watchtower by following the road west out of Carlion. The Caves are at the headwaters of the Darkrun stream.

The Watchtower

The watchtower is located on a hill just over half a mile from the village of Carlion. The hill is 180 feet in diameter and 60 feet high at its peak. The watchtower is small, only 25 feet tall and 12 feet square. There are two floors. The ground floor is a storeroom and a stable. The second floor is a living area with a kitchen and six beds. There is also a roof with a low wall around it. The tower is entered through a wooden door across the ten-foot span of a drawbridge.

The drawbridge is currently down and the tower looks quiet and deserted. Heroes hailing the tower from a distance will get no response.  Once heroes reach the 30 foot in diameter top of the hill, they will come under fire from five orcs stationed atop the tower who are armed with short bows.

Orcs (5): AC 6, HD 1, hp 4 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short bow, spear, Dmg 1-6, Save F1, ML 8, AL C, xp 10 each, THAC0 19, TT D.

The door to the tower is closed and barred but its hinges are damaged and the door can be bashed open (1-2 on 1d6). The orcs broke the hinges when they stormed the tower the previous evening. The ground floor is a shamble, broken crates, barrels and the stains of blood on the floor. A stone stair leads to the living area.

The living area is also, trashed. The beds have been knocked over and sheets piled on the floor. There is a stew pot over a cold fire. There is nothing in the pot. A wooden ladder leads to the roof.  There is nothing of interest on the roof but there is an excellent view of the mountains and the village in the distance.

The Watchtower

Ascent to the Caves

The main dirt road leads from Carlion to the watchtower and appears well- traveled. But there is another path, this one more recent, that leads along the Darkrun Stream up into the hills toward Mount Vorhut. The trail is easy to follow and leads directly to the entrance to the Caves. If the players indicate they are checking for tracks they will be able to see many booted feet going to and from the caves along the trail.

Adventurers advancing toward the caves along the trail will face two ambushes.

Ambush 1
As the heroes pass a grove of pine trees they come under attack by a pair of human bandits. The bandits will rush toward the heroes out of a position of concealment.

Bandits (2): AC 6, HD 1, hp 3 each, MV 120’ (40’), #AT 1 short sword, Dmg 1-6, Save T1, ML 7, AL C, xp 10 each, THAC0 19, TT U.

The two bandits were once a part of Reg’s band and lived here in the Caves. They know the rough layout of the entrance area of the caves but things have changed since they were evicted. They have become desperate since the change in ownership and have come as close as they dare to the Cave entrance waiting for an opportunity. If one of them is captured and questioned he can tell the heroes the story of their bandit leader Reg the Mumbler and how he was overthrown by a dark-cloaked wizard. They immediately made a run for it so they do not know much more. This all happened several months ago.

Ambush 2
The trail moves further up into the mountains and trees become infrequent. As the trail winds through a clump of several enormous boulders, a group of kobolds attacks the heroes from both sides of the trail.

Kobolds (6): AC 7, HD ½, hp 2 each, MV 60’ (20’), #AT 1 spear, Dmg 1d6-1, Save NM, ML 6, AL C, xp 5 each, THAC0 19, TT P.

These kobolds have come to the Caves to worship the dragon. The orcs have put them to work as scouts and guards.

The Entrance to the Caves

The trail leads up the side of the mountain following the Darkrun Stream. Eventually, the trail ends at a large pool of water, the source of the stream. Judging by the steady rate of outflow into the river, the pool has an underwater source. On the other side of the pool on a deep ledge is the entrance to the Colossal Caves. There is a rickety rope bridge with a wooden walk crossing the pool leading from the trail to the entrance to the caves. The bridge is 75 feet long and 6 feet wide. Wooden boards are fastened to ropes to form the bed of the bridge. It looks dangerous but aside from some ominous creaking and a lot of swaying it is safe.

The Cave entrance itself is a 10-foot square, rough stone block entrance that extends 20 feet into the mountain before descending 20 feet down stone steps in the dungeon.

There is a trip wire stretched across the entrance at the top of the stairs 6 inches above the floor. If adventurers are careful, they will find the trip wire (1-2 on 1d6). If they miss the trip wire the first to move to the stair will trip and tumble down the stairs into the dungeon taking 1 point of damage. They will also hear a bell ring from below.

The Cave and pool

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Can Carlion be Saved?

Over the hill ahead of you lies the Village of Carlion. Except that is is now in ruins, with all of the wooden buildings burning fiercely and the few stone buildings flattened to the ground. Wreckage and the charred the remains of peasants and soldiers litter the streets giving off a terrible smell. Several vultures pick through the bodies, one of which is clubbed away by an old man wearing grey robes.

Can Carlion be Saved?

In 1982 I wrote my second Basic D&D adventure. The first entry was a single paragraph introduction to the adventure (above) concerning the destruction of the town of Carlion by a black dragon. With little encouragement beyond a need to bring justice, the players are expected to hike up into the mountains to confront a black dragon.

To provide for a small trading post that can be used in any fantasy campaign setting. I have given Carlion a full detailing, before the arrival of the dragon. When there was still hope it could be saved.

Welcome to Carlion


Carlion is located well north of Stillwater valley at the end of a trail from the village of Grimwell. Carlion was established fifty years ago as a trading post for trappers, loggers, and the odd homesteader. The current village has grown to a population of 30 in recent years. The village leader is Dragfinn Noss, the owner of much of the property in the village. Noss owns and runs the Provision shop, handed down from his father Atle. From the profits, he has purchased much of the rest of the village. He helped fund the building of the Temple, he owns a small market, the warehouse, the Inn and the Townhall. Noss also pays the wages of the five men-at-arms who protect the village.

Carlion lies in the middle of a flat valley floor in the shadow of Mount Vorhut, a long, quiet volcano. The Darkrun stream passes through the center of the village bringing cold, snowmelt water from the nearby mountains.

Carlion is surrounded by a wood palisade that is nine feet tall. The palisade has withstood two, night assaults by goblins in the past 15 years but generally, it has dissuaded most local humanoid tribes. In times of trouble, the five men-at-arms are bolstered by a 15 person militia of able-bodied locals.

Entry to Carlion
The two gates into Carlion face roughly north and south. The north gate remains closed unless someone requests it to be opened. The south gate is open from dawn to dusk. It is manned by two men-at-arms at all times. The men-at-arms are only checking for obvious trouble makers, most everyone is welcome in Carlion.

Noss Provisions
The town provision shop is the largest building in Carlion. Over the years extensions have been added onto the front and back of the wood building. It is one of the few two-story buildings in Carlion. The second story rooms are the personal apartments of Dragfinn Noss and his family.

In the main shop, visitors can find a wide selection of goods. Most of the common items in any Player’s Handbook equipment list. Prices start at +20% rulebook listed prices. There are no metal weapons. There are mundane hammers, axes, and knives but none designed for combat. The shop does sell dried rations.

Dragfinn Noss - Human, middle-aged (45). The owner is also the leader of the village. As has been noted he owns much of the property. His trading company buys a lot of the furs and meat brought in by trappers. He also provisions the town with food and equipment. Noss drives a hard bargain. He knows he has a monopoly and his prices reflect this.

Noss Family - wife (46), two sons (22, 20). Emelia is married to Noss. It was an arranged marriage and she had never met Noss before arriving in Carlion. She is reasonably happy with the arrangement and Noss treats her well. She does not help in the running of the business. Jorn and Ove are the two sons. Both work in the provision shop. Ove is the youngest and he also trains regularly with the men-at-arms. Ove is ready to set out on life as an adventurer. He has never seen another settlement and longs to see the big towns of the south.

Torn Shoe Tavern
The tavern was purchased by Noss from Marta Dahl when she pulled up stakes and moved to Pirn. Marta called the tavern the Torn Shoe because she stopped in Carlion to get a boot repaired and then stayed awhile. Marta was a sometime caravan guard and adventurer.

The tavern ground floor has three rooms for guests. On the roof of the three rooms is an area in the rafters where the tavern workers sleep. The rest of the ground floor is the kitchen and tavern. There are four tables each surrounded by stools. The tavern has a limited list of food and drinks available (ale, water, wine, porridge, venison, stew).

Working at the tavern is the Innkeeper Agnar Loberg (human, 34) and the barmaid Gunnhild Jelle (human, 36).

A small wooden shack near the south gate is the home of Nesby, a human hunter. Nesby makes his living hunting deer and selling the meat and hides to Noss.

Nesby - human middle-aged 35. Nesby has long, matted, grey hair and dresses in simple leather clothes of his own manufacture. Nesby is a good source of information on the local area all of the way up into the mountains.

Across from the shack of the hunter is the workshop of Rob Hegge the village blacksmith. The main building is a shop and at the back are three rooms - private rooms and kitchen. Attached to the building is a lean-to style shed that is open on the front and houses the forge.

Rob Hegge - human 28. Rob is adept and making nails, horseshoes and barrel hoops. He is assisted by his son Ulf (14). Rob’s wife Rebecca works in the shop.

The smith can shoe adventurers horses but it not of much help on other items. He has never forged or repaired armor or weapons.

Looking West

The charcoaler burns wood collected in the nearby forests to produce charcoal that other villagers use to heat their stoves and fireplaces. The smith also makes use of the product.

Ragnar Bonde - human 32. Ragnar is a perpetually filthy human covered in soot.

The carpenter’s shop is build of freshly painted pine boards. Half of the area under the roof is the home of the carpenter. The other half under the roof is open. Under this roof is a plie of raw logs, and freshly cut wooden boards. There is a long work table with tools lying on it.

Leiv Caspar - human 34 is the carpenter. He maintains the bridge over the river and repairs most of the buildings in the village.

Caspar family - wife Marta 25, daughter Aud 8 and son Bard 6. Marta has her hands full with the two children most of the time.

Small Market
The small market is a simple wooden building with a large open front. When the shutters over this area are pitched open a table is placed under the window where local vegetables are displayed for sale. Inside are wooden boxes full of vegetables. The building is managed by Ove Graven (human age 24) on behalf of Noss. It is open most days in the summer between dawn and a few hours before dusk. The rest of the year it is closed and Ove works at the Tavern.

Erland Market
The market is the second largest building in the village. It is made of wood that has aged grey. Bendik Erland is the owner of this market. The ground floor of the building is a shop that sells food and some general items. Most of the items are imported into Carlion.

Bendik Erland - human 44. Bendik has lived most of his life in Carlion. He is the second most important land holder in Carlion. He is assisted by his son Reidar (age 21). His wife died ten years ago.

The cobbler’s shop is a small, single-story cottage. The front half of the cottage is the tinker/cobbler shop with various benches holding leather goods. Hanging from the rafters are pots and pans. The back half of the cottage is the living area for the cobbler Nils Mossing.

Nils Mossing - human age 26. Nils repairs shoes and pots and pans for a living. There is a large opening on the front of the cottage facing the street. During the day when Nils is working it is open allowing passersby to view his shop. Nils is a notorious drunkard, but when sober he does reasonably good work.

Noss Warehouse
Near the river is a large, wooden warehouse. Nearby, is a wooden dock. The warehouse is currently full so there is a large number of barrels resting on the ground outside the warehouse. The door to the warehouse has a chain and padlock on it. The key is held by Dragfinn Noss. Inside are furs packed to be sent south and goods for which there is not enough room in the provision shop.

Sanctum of Eses
There is a small, stone temple in the village. Noss paid for its construction and brought the dwarf Age Hofstad to the village to build it. The temple is of solid construction and is a place of safe refuge for the villagers if the village is attacked. Inside there are small shrines to six, popular local gods. The main altar in the center of the back wall is devoted to Eses a god of the wild places.

Father Solberg - human male priest of Eses, age 45. Solberg was convinced to move to Carlion by Noss. He gets an annual stipend and his food is free.

Father Solberg resides in a wooden extension added onto the back of the stone temple.

Noss Stable
The wooden stable has six stalls for animals. There is a small loft that holds fresh hay and a sleeping area for the stable boy Dag. Noss owns two horses that are stabled here.

Dag - human male boy age 14.

Great Hall
Carlion has a small town hall. The hall rests on a closed wooden platform. There is a wooden porch at the front of the hall. Inside is a large, single room. Cots and hammocks have been set up for the five men-at-arms hired by Noss to protect the town. Town meetings are held in this hall. There are three men and two women fighters hired by Noss to protect the village.

Men-at-arms (5), Alt Sharpe, Ramsey Mac, Hugo Dani, Ina Helly, and Cara Moris.

The town bakers are Marius and Hannah. They are there three children live in this wooden cottage and run a bakery as well. For the most part, they make loaves of bread. But their son Simon is able to make passable pastries when they have the supplies to do so.

Marius and Hannah Voll - humans aged 45 and 43. There children Dan (19), Simon (17) and Anne (14).

The loan non-human member of the village is Age Hofstad, a dwarf. He is an outcast from his mountain clan and has lived among humans for more than 20 years (he is 55 years old). Noss brought Age to Carlion to build the temple. He has remained because he likes the solitude and the nearness of the nearby mountains. He occasionally repairs the foundations of some of the buildings in town.

To the North
North of the village of Carlion are foothills rise into mountains including Mount Vorhut. The mountains are the home of humanoid races and have been a source of trouble for the region. Because of this, a small, two-story stone watchtower was built on the top of a flat hill. The tower is visible from Carlion. The Watchtower has a permanent garrison of five soldiers from the Realm.

Carlion Map