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1001 Interesting Quests/Dungeons

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  • 1001 Interesting Quests/Dungeons

    Yes, it's another one of these threads. Throw interesting ideas for TTRPG adventures or dungeons. Themes, challenges, puzzles, enemies, and/or treasure. Whatever you decide is worth talking about.

    Use whatever system you like, or keep it system agnostic. Whatever strikes your fancy.

    1) The Bard's Tomb [Fantasy RPG; short Dungeon]:
    The tomb of a once-renowned Bard. Built in the bard's home town, which enjoyed great growth years ago when the bard's tomb drove tourism by mourning fans. That was long ago, however, and few remain who remember the bard's name. Due to the town's remote location in relation to other major cities and trade routes, few visit it anymore, and so the tomb's exterior is overgrown with foliage and vines.

    As of late, the outer chambers of the tomb have become inhabited by goblins, lead by a troll. Because music is anathema to trolls, the troll orders visitors to be killed on sight (well, that and because the troll is perpetually hungry). Visitors tend to play music at the tomb, in honor of the fallen bard, and that pains and angers the troll. However, neither troll nor goblins dare enter the inner chamber, where the bard's remains lay. This fear is not entirely superstitious.

    The inner chamber is littered with mountains of long-dead flowers, and by more than a few corpses. The freshest corpse is that of a goblin, whose face has been melted off. The rest of the corpses bear musical instruments. Upon the walls are written lyrics from the bard's most notable songs. At the end of the chamber is the bard's sarcophagus, built into the floor. Hundreds of old musical instruments and faded sheets of music, as well as innumerable tokens from long-departed admirers, are heaped on the lid.

    Behind it, against the wall in its own recessed section, is a life-size statue of the bard, depicting him in his prime. The statue is flanked by images of his notable companions and musical partners, depicted holding their own instruments. The statue holds an actual instrument - one of the Instruments of the Bards (found in the DnD 5e Dungeon Master's Guide); the GM chooses which one, or creates their own custom magic instrument. On the wall above the statue's head are written, "If You Would Have My Power, Prove Your Artistry / If You Would Steal My Power, I Will Rebuke You".

    Puzzle/Trap: The statue is magical. The hands have a tight grip on the instrument, and cannot be pried off easily under the best of circumstances. However, the statue will relinquish the instrument "willingly" if music and/or song of sufficient beauty is performed before it. A PC must score 3 successes on an extended Performance check, difficulty 20. If the character cannot, the instrument remains locked in. If they succeeded, the statue animates long enough to bow and present the instrument, ceding it to a True Bard. If the character ever rolls a 30 or above, the statue will animate and join in the performance.

    If a character tries to force the instrument out of the statue's hands or tries to break the statue or open the sarcophagus, the statue will cast Thunderwave on the character. If the character persists even after this or otherwise tries to destroy or defile the chamber and its contents, the statue will animate fully. It is a Bard of level sufficiently high for the encounter, and its marble body has resistance to physical damage. If additional challenge is needed, it can Animate Objects on the scattered instruments (or weapons of fallen creatures) to aid it, or even summon ghostly echoes of the bard's old comrades, who are also bards. (Each bears a different instrument, of the GM's choice).

    Other Treasures: Under the statue's pedestal, there is a hidden compartment with a tome. The tome is a book of sheet music, filled with a complement of Ritual spells. A bard who attunes to it may, when reading from the book, cast a selection of spells as Rituals. Even spells not normally on the Bard spell list. The corpses in the room have a number of items on their person. Coins and gems, odds and ends. Maybe a magical weapon or two. Instruments, some of fine quality or even with minor magical enchantments. The pile of offerings on the head of the sarcophagus have items mostly of sentimental value, although some instruments or trinkets could be worth something to the right buyers. Inside the sarcophagus itself, the bard's skeleton is interred with fine funerary clothing and topped with a jaunty hat. Rings sit on his bony fingers, and around his neck are multiple separate lockets, with pictures inside of lovers long gone, but not forgotten.
    Last edited by Bluecho; 09-07-2019, 08:48 PM.

  • #2
    2) Assemble the Horde: Part 1: The time is fast approaching, when the forces of evil will march across the realm in another attempt to conquer the world of man. But before the horde can be unleashed, it must first be assembled. And the first batch of allies the warchief has their sights set on, are the mighty Hill Giants.

    Hand picked by the warchief himself, a number of envoys from various tribes are to make their way to the stronghold of the Hill Giants, to recruit their muscles into the horde's ranks. But while they may be big on brawn, Hill Giants are notoriously small on brain power, and it may take some extra convincing to get them to comply.

    The giants have three primary concerns, before they'll agree to lend their support.

    1 - A test of strength, to prove that you are not so weak that you need the giants to do all the fighting for you. Fortunately, there seems to be a clan of Hill Dwarves residing nearby, who have been giving the giants trouble up to now.

    2 - A sustainable food supply to appease the Hill Giants' ravenous appetite. The hills are rich with opportunities for farm lands and the raising of cattle; unfortunately, the land is currently under the ownership of the baroness, who would be loathe to hand over such valuable resources to a bunch of monsters!

    3 - A ceremonial marriage, to unite their chief's bloodline with a respected member of the horde. The societal and physical obstacles involved with such a marriage will probably make this the most difficult task of all!

    Wrapping Up: Once the Hill Giants have had their demands satisfied, and agree to join the horde's war efforts, it's time to report back to the warchief and prepare to recruit the next batch of allies!

    Note: This is intended to be a monster campaign, with an obviously villainous route to it. Although races available to the players are ultimately up to the DM's discretion, I feel like Goblinoids, Orcs, Tieflings, and various types of beast folk would be the most appropriate choices.


    • #3
      [Here we see a strange fusion of the high fantasy of Magic: The Gathering and one of HP Lovecraft's lesser known works.]

      3) Chill Atmosphere, or The Curious Case of Dr. Kuleshov [DnD, Ravnica; short adventure]:
      On the plane of Ravnica, "the city" is all-consuming. A densely packed and multilayered super-metropolis, the omnipresent guilds - and what falls in the gaps between them - take prominence in the lives of all Ravnicans. Whether they like it or not, adventure - and horror - can so often be far closer than they think.

      If one of the players failed to mention where their character lives, the GM can place the PC by default into one of the seemingly infinite number of apartments somewhere in Ravnica. The storyline should begin long before the "adventure" starts, with the PC being informed about one of their fellow tenants. A habitually retiring medical man, one Doctor Ivan Kuleshov, who runs an office out of his apartment. The PC is liable to learn of him first if they go asking after items like Healing Potions or for Healers, or if have sudden medical trouble in their apartment. DMs may arrange the latter through a number of usual methods - the delayed onset of a disease caught wading through a Golgari sewer, being attacked in their home by an assassin, etc. The point is getting the PC aware that there is, in fact, a doctor in the house. One, they will be informed, "is quite amiable, competent, and does not ask too many questions".

      Indeed, if the PC visits Dr Kuleshov, they will be struck by three things. First, that he is very friendly and willing to help (in return for modest payment or even pro bono if it's an emergency), albeit very pale and gaunt. Second, that despite being a medical professional, he doesn't seem to be a member of the Simic Combine, the guild for whom medicine is their specialty. And third, that the good doctor's apartment is VERY cold, at all times. Every visit, the DM should press upon the player just how noticeably cold the office is, like walking around in an ice box. When asked about this, the doctor will say (honestly) that it's because of the presence of his advanced air conditioning system, which is rigged throughout the apartment. He will also say (honestly) that he keeps it around due to a medical condition he suffers from; the air conditioning accompanies a cocktail of alchemical substances he imbibes as a means of keeping "in good health". The cutting edge temperature control tech, he will explain, is derived from materials he sources from certain contacts within the Izzet League.

      Both his seeming ties to the Simic and Izzet should be used by the DM to try steering the players towards seeing Dr Kuleshov as a potential resource. Not only is he a doctor - and can sell potions - he's also got connections. Making Kuleshov useful to the party is important, and the DM should attempt to establish a rapport between the PCs and the good doctor. It makes what eventually happens more effective.

      When the DM is ready - usually between other major adventures - the plotline begins to pick up steam from a series of targeted attacks by zombies, who burst into businesses and warehouses. Always after one thing: ice. Lots and lots of ice. Crushed ice, ice cubes, giant blocks of ice. The zombies ignore everything but the ice, and only strike those who impede them. If, at any point in their investigation, one of more PCs return to the apartment building, they may hear about the frantic activity going on from Dr Kuleshov's floor. Calling upon the doctor has him not open his door, but beg for the PCs to bring him ice. He will explain that his AC machine has broken down and resists efforts to repair it. He doesn't want to send for help from the Izzet League, but if one of the PCs is Izzet, he could be persuaded (difficulty 16) to let them in to examine the machine.

      If the party doesn't return to the apartment within a few hours, they will instead likely be lead there by the sudden onset of an unseasonable blizzard falling over their district. With Nature checks, they can tell it comes from their apartment. And indeed, some newfangled antennae has been installed on the roof. It's a weather machine.

      The Truth: Doctor Kuleshov is (or was) a normal human being...who is over 150 years old. He was a Simic-educated doctor and bioresearcher, before his advancing age and deteriorating health caused him to pursue unorthodox lines of research. Eventually, he discovered a way to prolong his "life" using chemicals and cold temperatures. Doctor Ivan Kuleshov is a mostly moral, good-natured...undead.

      And now his air conditioning unit has failed. With it, his body begins to break down.

      At first, he tries to use a squad of zombie test subjects - corpses obtained from hitherto unmentioned contacts within the Golgari Swarm - to retrieve ice needed to buy time. As this proved little more than a stopgap measure, he turned to a desperate course: a weather control machine obtained from the Izzet. (An emergency precaution obtained for exactly this sort of situation). A further stopgap, in the hopes he could leave his apartment and look for more options.

      If the PCs enter his apartment after the weather machine is turned on, he will be deeper inside, either on a higher or lower level of the building, that the PCs didn't know could be accessed. They will almost certainly have to fight through his zombie minions and maybe a few elemental creatures ("frost weirds"), who will defend their master by default. Kuleshov himself fears the authorities - like the Azorius or Boros (or more sinister factions) - and if taken by surprise he may shoot first (he has levels in Wizard). If the party approaches openly, he will try to defuse tensions, and try to convince them that he's not evil. He doesn't want to fight anyone, though he will fight to defend himself. He's just an old man who doesn't want to die.

      The party has many options:

      -Turn him in to the police. The doctor won't go quietly if he can't get assurances that his unique "condition" will be taken care of by the Azorius. At the first opportunity, though, he'll try to escape if he thinks the party is of no help. Even braving the seasonal heat, if he can find a way to cool himself off later. He has plans for a kind of "Mister Freeze" cold suit, that he's never built or needed until now. He may show up in just such a getup, down the line.

      -Help him repair his air conditioner. Other guilds may still be a problem, that the PCs may need to intercede or defend Kuleshov from. It would take some work to convince the Azorius to let Kuleshov "live" under house arrest, and the Boros would need to be talked down from killing the "undead abomination" in their midst. Other guilds or parties might set off a full-blown battle to defend the doctor. But Kuleshov himself will be grateful, and will help them in any way he can in the future.

      -Help Kuleshov take shelter in the auspices of a guild, who can protect him and give him resources (in return for using his skills and mind for their interests, of course). The Izzet always seek new minds, willing to push the boundaries of sense and sanity. Kuleshov has friends in the Simic, including an elf researcher who was one of his student peers - that elf may have informed the PCs of the doctor's unusual longevity ("Ivan? He's still alive?"). The Golgari and Dimir could benefit from his insights into undeath, though going with the latter means the party and everyone else will likely never see Doctor Kuleshov ever again. There are liable to be any number of wealthy Orzhov (or simply aristocratic) persons who would be willing to become Kuleshov's patron, in return for sharing his method of bodily immortality ("None of that ghost business"). The Rakdos will either kill him outright for the kicks, or capture him and "help him" by letting him build a new AC and then installing it into a tiny glass container; the good doctor, reduced to the centerpiece of a giant snowglobe, for the amusement of crowds or even Rakdos himself.

      -Kill him. While they could fight without the intent to kill, Kuleshov is unlikely to survive being beaten without the cold, the heat finishing off whatever's left of him.

      -Destroy the weather control device, without confronting Kuleshov. If the party decides to focus on the machine instead of confronting the doctor, he will flee, trying to use what cold remains outside to last until he can find another way to survive. He will NOT be friends with the party, at worst feeling betrayed by the PC who was his neighbor for so long. Maybe he dies. Maybe he builds that freeze suit, and comes back as a villain with a vendetta. It's up to the DM.
      Last edited by Bluecho; 09-08-2019, 12:07 PM.


      • #4
        4) Trouble Down the Twoson Well [DnD; short dungeon]:
        A hamlet has been troubled recently by bandit attacks, always occurring at night. Those who survive the encounter speak of darkness even deeper than night befalling them suddenly, and being assaulted by brigands who seemed to fade into the shadows effortlessly. The bandits spoke a strange foreign tongue, and fought with styles unknown in those parts. The bandits rob people blind, of whatever supplies they can get their hands on.

        Most recently, a family who moved into a farmhouse ("the old Twoson place") a mile or two away from the hamlet disappeared, and haven't been heard from since shortly after settling into the property. If the party elects to investigate the farmhouse, they find most of the family murdered, though one survivor may be hiding in the attic, to deliver exposition as the DM requires. Examination of the house and grounds will reveal little of interest besides the bodies, except for an old, overgrown well near the edge of the property, at the bottom of a hill and partly obscured from the road by trees. Several footprints lead directly to the well.

        Climbing down the well reveals it goes directly into a subterranean lair.

        The Dungeon: Beneath the ground is a series of tunnels partly carved from natural cave formations. An earlier civilization carved them as the basement levels of some surface structure, but obviously the latter decayed to nothing long ago. For centuries, the tunnel entrances were buried, the structure and its builders forgotten. Decades ago, the previous owners of the farm (the Twoson family) built their house and dug the well. Sometime after misfortune caused the farm to be abandoned, an earthquake or a particularly heavy rain caused the bottom of the well to collapse, opening up into the roof of the dungeon beneath.

        Monsters: The current inhabitants are a squad of a dozen odd Drow, what remains of a military company exiled for one crime or another. Their leader - a brooding Drow veteran - led them out of the Underdark and across the land, until they took brief shelter in the abandoned farmhouse. They discovered the well's secret by chance when they sought to quench their thirst, and opted to move into the dungeon. The underground space was roomier and more to the liking of the light-sensitive dark elves, and moreover it was far less conspicuous than the farmhouse. They've been hunting and raiding ever since, under the cover of night to evade notice as best they can.

        They know they've failed in this regard, several victims fleeing and no doubt making known their activities (though not their identities or base of operations). What makes leaving difficult is that the Drow bandits have a prisoner stored in a makeshift cell. A minor Drow noblewoman, taken hostage back in the Underdark to facilitate their escape. Moving her around is problematic, and doing so without risk of discovery even moreso. But they dare not let her go (lest she lead surface dwellers or even other Drow to them), nor do they dare kill her (she's still a possible bargaining chip against their former countryelves).

        To round off the list of threats, the Drow could have brought any number of creatures with them - like giant spiders or strange underdark hounds - or captured local wildlife (or beasts being transported by merchants) and trained them to fight. (Imagine the Drow captain assisted in battle by a jet-black panther). The natural cave portions of the dungeon may, by contrast, be the den of some native monster beyond Drow control, such as oozes or giant moles.

        Treasure: Aside from whatever wealth the Drow took with them from the Underdark or stole from merchants, the main point of interest is the Drow noblewoman. While she's perfectly Evil, she will offer great rewards to any adventurers who free her from bondage and escort her back to the Underdark. She may even make good on her promises, if the PCs treat her well. If not...well, the Drow can always do with more slaves. Either way, this minor diversion could easily spin off into further adventures in the Underdark.
        Last edited by Bluecho; 09-09-2019, 12:20 AM.


        • #5
          5) Betty Blacktooth's Gingerbread Mansion [DnD; Medium Dungeon]:
          Everyone in the city knows not to venture too deep into the Shady Pines. But not just because of the presence of the usual wild monsters. A Night Hag dwells there with her circle of lesser hags, a Night Hag called Betty Blacktooth. She lives, not in a mere house made of gingerbread, but a Mansion.

          The grounds about the Gingerbread Mansion are overgrown (including with razorweed and other botanical hazards), and the air is thick with the smell of sweets. The large manor is composed of candy and baked goods; walls of gingerbread supported by hard candies and embellished with chocolates and other such delectables. The candy can be eaten right off the building, but anyone foolish enough to do so must make a Constitution saving throw, or be put to sleep for some hours. Betty Blacktooth's minions patrol the grounds regularly, to capture anyone they can and bring them to her kitchen.

          Betty Blacktooth and her fellow hags do as hags are wont to do: the butcher captured creatures and bake them into various foods, to be consumed. Those insufficiently plump are held in cages, to be fattened up. There is likely to be 1d8 creatures held in such a manner at any given time, with one being cooked every 24 hours or so, unless they're already quite substantive.

          Monsters: Besides Betty Blacktooth (Night Hag) and her 1d4+2 lesser hag companions (various lesser CR hag creatures), the mansion is filled with monsters that obey Blacktooth's commands. The halls are patrolled by animated suits of armor (taken from brave warriors who tried and failed to end the hags' evil), as well as various animated objects (all the cutlery in the kitchen animates to defend Betty et al and to kill intruders, for example). In the basement is a troll - affectionately called "Sweet Tooth" - that is chained up and held in a cage whose bars are alight with constant flame. The poor troll is fed on sweets (really, he gnaws on the walls out of hunger, though they are rebuilt regularly), and the hags will come down and cut off chunks from his regenerating flesh when other sources of meat are lacking.

          Other interior horrors include swarms of gingerbread cookies, the occasional mimc that snuck in, and a colony of rats in the basement, gnawing perpetually at the mansion's candy foundations. Somewhere in the house may exist a "candy golem", though there's no telling if Sister Bunion, the resident arcane researcher of the hags, has created a working prototype. The attic, meanwhile, has its own infestation of giant wasps, which Betty will happily trade the extermination of in exchange for letting captives go free (though perhaps with only a five minute head start).

          The grounds outside are patrolled by Unseelie fey creatures, like Red Caps and Boggles, and by wolves and dire wolves in thrall to the hags. The grounds are kept (terribly, just as Betty likes it) by a surly and evil Satyr, though he dislikes working for the hags and would assist heroes if he thinks they can kill them all. Many unquiet souls prowl the grounds, Betty's magic having warded them out of the mansion itself. These include shadows, specters, and ghosts, and they are the tortured and maddened spirits of the hags' victims. Betty currently seeks the services of a Wraith, in hopes a sufficiently powerful and evil soul can bend the other incorporeal undead to their will, as more tools in Betty's toolbox.

          Treasure: Over time, many people have been captured and cooked by Betty Blacktooth and her coven. Their possessions are piled up in a storeroom, used as bait to lead in adventurers (into traps) or as fodder for cutting deals with unwary mortals. Many of the treasures obtained are magical items, and each hag carries one on her person at all times. A set of four Bolts of Hag Slaying were seized from a particularly resourceful (but overconfident) monster hunter; these bolts are kept under lock and key in Betty's room, guarded by dozens of animated weapons and a potent curse on the container itself.

          The other notable magical item is a Millstone of Sweetness, a millstone that, when ground, produces dozens of pounds of sugar every day. It's from this item that Betty creates the sugar needed to build and maintain the mansion. This item alone would be invaluable to any enterprising adventurers looking to steal it, provided they're willing to brave Betty Blacktooth's wrath.


          • #6
            6) Mystery of the Phone Booth Graveyard [Modern Setting RPG; short dungeon]:
            Once a ubiquitous staple of Britain's landscape, the red telephone booth has faded from use starting in the 1980s. Owing to the expense needed to maintain them and the rise of cell phones, large numbers of these booths have been removed and discarded. While some enterprising souls work to repurpose them decoratively, most fall into any of a number of rural dumping grounds, such as in the small north England village of Carlton Miniot.

            This adventure takes place in one such English dumping ground, where rows of defunct phone booths rest (and rust) in the open air. This location's booths form a series of "chambers" in what amounts to an outdoor maze. Metal edifices in fading, flaking red paint are broken up by glass windows (some broken), creating odd and distorted sight lines. Between these not-quite-clear sight lines, the state of decay, the relative absence of people, and the years of history, the spot makes for a potentially interesting setting for any number of stories.

            Ideas include, but are not limited to:

            1) An isolated spot for illegal activity and meetings, that nonetheless allow spotters to keep track of who comes and goes. The maze of booths permit a person to get lost...or to lose pursuers. If the lighting is right (read: dark), people or creatures can even hide in booths and ambush opponents. Illegal activities can include drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods/illicit technology or artifacts, or ambush assassinations.

            2) A phantom ringing noise issues from somewhere in the maze, drawing curious bystanders (or Player Characters) into the dump. The ringing always seems to come from elsewhere, leading the person deeper and deeper inside. The ringing might be ghosts, other spirits, monsters, or the machinations of sneaky individuals with ill intent.

            3) A monster or fugitive hides in the booth dump, taking refuge in the confusing maze of booths. Possibly even digging through the floors, so they can travel between locations.

            4) A nexus point of space or dimensions, several booths in the dump can be entered, and used as portals to other locations, worlds, dimensions, or time periods. Someone or something may be using the dump as a base of operations, to exploit this phenomenon.