Here’s a new effort I’ve been working on – combining a Dyson Logos-style map with a bit of description for each location. Though this is a bit larger than a Five Room Dungeon, I’m using the same general concepts, keeping things simple with the eventual goal of fleshing this out further.
It is a work in progress, so bear with me. Eventually I hope to finish it off and release it as a PDF.
Throne of the Missing King
A few weeks ago, 13-year old Alys du Lac went into the forest to find firewood and didn’t return to the village of Lacmore before sundown. Her family and friends searched high and low for several days before she turned up dirty and hungry at home. She didn’t come empty handed however. She had a silver knife emblazoned with the crest of the Missing King. Seeking shelter for the night she found a small opening in a hillside and explored within. She braved a few monsters and escaped with a single silver knife from the King’s embossed silver collection.
Though Alys was unable to tell others exactly where the entrance was, she and her family shared their good fortune at the return of their daughter with a potentially pricey artifact, eventually selling it to the local blacksmith. The blacksmith then did some digging and found a collector in a nearby city interested in memorabilia from the time of the Missing King. When news got out about the find, treasure hunters for miles around began the search for the fabled vault of the Missing King, lost for nearly two centuries.
The Missing King’s name was King Morax Tempest, a usurper of the throne of the Kingdom of Daosine. Shortly after usurping the throne from his younger brother Zane, he and his court were bombarded by assassination attempts. Several minor nobles were killed along with their retinues. Anyone who supported the usurper was a target. Morax quickly became jumpy and paranoid, startled by the smallest noise or shadow. He ordered his retainers to have an underground throne room built on the edge of a great forest, then had anyone who knew of the place killed before he and his staff moved in with any and all valuables from the palace.
After a few weeks, he began to relax. Only his most trusted guards were allowed in and out of the complex to keep supplies flowing from trusted vendors. The King however quickly grew bored.
King Morax threw a party for his closest friends, had them hooded and brought into his secret lair, and they had a celebration that lasted three days. Unfortunately during the frivolity a disgruntled servant managed to escape the lair and contact the assassin’s guild with details on where to find their quarry. A pair of assassins swept in and dispatched everyone in the compound with a magical poison given to them by the head of their order. The poison kills the target but reanimates them to continue their tasks as if nothing had happened. Morax and his staff would remain half alive as a warning to other usurpers.
A pair of treasure hunters may have found the entrance to the complex already, but there are two other groups also seeking the riches buried there.
This entrance was blocked years ago by a rock slide, whether deliberately or through an act of nature. It would take significant effort to clear the rubble for anyone to get in this way.
Here is where Alys made her way into the complex and retrieved the silver knife. Though blocked by overgrown hedges, a party can slip through with only minor scratches.
1. Preparation Hall
This hallway contains the remains of what have been a beautiful rug tightly woven and stretched taut the width of the floor. Broad alcoves on either side of the corridor contain long counters with rusty bowls and utensils, along with shelves full of small jars and containers dirty or broken after years of disuse.
This used to be the food preparation wing for the King who abandoned his castle and moved into his underground bunker to escape waves of assassins seeking to destroy him and his kingdom. He and a hand-picked staff would continue to entertain in the bunker, with guests brought in with bags over their heads or magically put to sleep so they could not reveal his location to outsiders. Unfortunately, someone did get the word out and a pair of assassins dispatched everyone in the compound with a magical poison given to them by the head of their order. The poison kills the target but reanimates them to continue their tasks as if nothing had happened.
If any character has a passive perception of 18 or higher, they can hear muffled footsteps from up ahead which reveal themselves to be nearly mummified zombie servants locked in the same jobs they held while alive.
Thin figures walk this hallway, cooking imaginary meals, moving platters from station to station, and cleaning plates never dirty. They do not immediately react as you approach them.
The PCs can avoid any trouble with the zombies if they simply ignore them and walk straight through to the other end of the preparation hall without disturbing them. The zombies’ footsteps are muffled by the remains of the carpet and the PC’s footsteps will also be muffled.
If a PC attempts to interfere with one of the zombies, they will attempt to ignore it once. If it occurs a second time, the zombie will attack the PCs with silverware or claws until they are no longer disturbed and can return to their duties.
If more than half of the zombies are disturbed, all the zombies will begin attacking the PCs to eliminate the annoyance.
If a PC is knocked unconscious, prone, or is dying, the zombies will cease to see them as a threat and go after one of the other available targets. If the PCs flee the area, they will not be pursued and any zombies undamaged enough to return to their duties will do so.
If the PCs get into a fight with the zombies, there is a chance (Perception check DC 20) that the zombie guards in the next area will hear the scuffle and investigate.
Little of the silverware or dishes are salvageable, but they may be worth something to a collector if the PCs can collect a full place setting (10 gp) or the full set (50 gp).
2. Sitting Room, Outer Door
Standing outside a large wooden door gilt with golden lions are two imposing figures with two handed swords. They once were hulking brutes, but are now merely emaciated shells of their former glory.
Any PC who walks past will not be molested, but if they attempt to go through the doors they will be stopped.
3. Bedchamber Outer Door
This plain looking door is locked, but unguarded. If a PC attempts to open the door, one of the guards from (2) will come to investigate and attempt to stop them.
4. Sitting Room
Once the sitting room for those seeking an audience with the King, this room features two long benches for the wait. A door to the east leads back to the preparation hall. And a pair of beautifully decorated doors to the throne room are behind what once was a detailed tapestry that opens down the middle.
Four guards wait at the doors, in similar condition to those at the entrance (2). If a battle occurs at (2), two of the guards will move to wait on either side of the door for their attackers. The remaining guards will do everything they can to stop any attackers from reaching the King.
5. King’s Bedchamber
This is the King’s bedchamber, once lavishly decorated, now mostly destroyed. The body of the King’s mistress (not undead) lay decomposing in the bed.
6. Throne Room
This is the throne room containing 8 zombie guards, one big baddie, and the King.
Several traps have been set to keep any invaders at bay. A large lit brazier sets in each corner of the room.
Two secret doors lead out of the room – one into the King’s bedchamber and one to the back hallway leading to the vault.
7. Memorial Hall
Here is a great hall of pillars, with each pillar represents a hero of the King’s lineage.
8. The Vault
Hundreds of pieces of jewelry, coins, paintings, family heirlooms, etc. Four large zombie guards are at the entrance.