Near the ruined city of Peridane’s Fall are a series of small plateaus, roughly 50 yards tall, each bearing the ruins of a strange tower that were said to be part of the city’s supernatural defenses. With the fell dragon that once claimed Peridane’s Fall as it’s home now slain, adventurers are coming into the ruins to seek out whatever was left behind in the city by the dragon, it’s minions, and those who fled it during the wars, but also in it’s ancient defenses.
There were 24 of these plateaus, each with a tower upon it. Various rumours still float about regarding the nature of these defensive installations, but all of them point to them being strange magical weapons. While the towers are long destroyed, there exists a small subsurface structure built into the face of one of the plateaus, “The Tower of Corvel” according to the old maps.
The Ruins of Corvel on the Mount is intended for a party of Labyrinth Lord or B/X Dungeons & Dragons adventurers of levels 6-7 as written. There are no wandering monsters once the front door to the ruins has been breached, so the party has all the time they want to explore. Although if you want to change things up a bit, consider having other adventurers come in after the party, having seen them breach the doors from their position in the city of Peridane’s Fall.
1. The Breach
Once fully hidden on the inside face of the plateau, erosion and warfare have combined forces to break open this small chamber from the rock. The walls are made of stone, but worked in a way unusual to the realm – they appear to have been melted and formed into the clean smooth shapes of the chamber walls, floor and ceiling. All interior walls are of this incredibly strong igneous stone except for those of area 7. The breach itself is not easy to get to, it is over a hundred feet up the side of the plateau, and is still thirty feet from the top.
There are two doors within the breach that lead further into the plateau. Both are identical steel panels devoid of markings, handles or other protrusions, inset into the walls and showing no means of opening. Both have remained sealed since the wars. Each has an effective AC of -4 and 150 hit points (attacks failing to hit still strike the door, but deal no damage). The mechanisms to open the doors require a special key that is no longer available (unless the party has somehow come across one elsewhere, which has lead them here), but it can be opened by a knock spell or by being struck by any electrical spell such as lightning bolt. The doors slide into the floor, and will reseal after 1 turn.
2. Guardians’ Antechamber
Ceilings in areas 2 through 6 are 15 feet tall, and the structures are as described in area 1. The doors to area 1 are just as inoperable from within area 2 as on the other side, however they are transparent from this side, allowing those within area 2 to look out into area 1.
A crackling sound can be heard from the open doorway to area 3.
The southeast wall (set at 45 degrees from the other walls in the room) is built around a single silvery metal sphere that appears to be roughly 2 feet in diameter. The defensive sphere ( AC:0, HD:9*, hp:40, Mv:0, Att:1, Dmg:3d6, Sv:M9, M:12 ) fires shimmering bubbles at anyone entering the room, projecting them in a cone 60 feet long (just far enough to reach either door to area 1) and 20 feet wide. Anyone within the cone of bubbles must make a save vs wands or be struck by 1d4-1 (minimum of 1) bubbles which burst on contact producing the following magical effects (roll 1d8 for each bubble).
- Pink Bubble – 4d6 lightning damage.
- Blue Bubble – loud bang and shockwave sends the victim staggering back 20 feet and causes deafness for 1d6 turns.
- Pearlescent Bubble – covers the victim in flammable ectoplasm. If the ectoplasm comes in contact with fire it deals 3d6 damage per round for 1d3 rounds. The ectoplasm cannot be removed but evaporates in 1d4 turns.
- Purple Bubble – 1d6 Strength damage, recovers at 1 point per day.
- Orange Bubble – 4d6 fire damage.
- Black Bubble – Renders the target unconscious for 1d3 turns.
- Grey Bubble – Slow (the opposite of haste) for 1d6 turns.
- White Bubble – 4d6 cold damage.
Further, the defensive sphere can strike with painful accuracy anyone standing within ten feet with strikes of lightning (the sphere’s normal attack, listed above).
The south door to area 5 appears identical to the metal doors to area 1, except it has a set of three two-inch triangular buttons set in a triangle shape in the centre of the door (on both this side and the other). If all three buttons are pressed at the same time, the door slides open for 1 turn. Pressing only the bottom button locks the door for 4 hours.
3. Arc Chamber
Lightning arcs to and from the walls, ceiling and floor of this room. Each round that a character is in the room, they must make a saving throw against dragon breath or suffer 3d6 lightning damage. In the midst of this savage lightning storm are four iron living statues ( AC:2, HD:4, hp:14, 18, 22, Mv:30 (10), Att:2, Dmg:1d8+3/1d8+3, Sv:F4, M:11 – special: non-magical iron weapons will stick to the statue unless a save vs spells is made, immune to electrical damage ) that will attempt to interdict any movement through the room. Because of the electrical charge in the room, attacks from the living statues deal an additional +3 electrical damage (included in the stats above).
4. Electrum Systems
Down the stairs from the arc chamber, this chamber hums with electricity, but is otherwise absent of life or movement. The back wall of this chamber is plated entirely in electrum, with a set of two dozen electrum cubes (3 inches wide on each face – roughly 1.5 pounds each or 15ep value if using 1 cn = 0.10 lb) mounted into receptacles in the wall.
On the floor of the chamber is a wooden crate containing another 48 electrum cubes identical to the above cubes.
Attempting to remove a cube from the wall immediately deals 3d6 electrical damage to the person trying to dislodge it, and they must succeed at an open doors check to successfully remove the cube with each attempt. Once half of the electrum cubes have been removed from the wall, the lightning arcs in area 3 stop.
5. Strange Chamber
The layout of this chamber is unusual, with multiple columns of various sizes. Lurking in the back of the room, in the upper level, is a greater crystalline earth elemental ( AC:0, HD:12, hp:73, Mv:60 (20), Att:1, Dmg:2d8, Sv:F12, M:10 – special: deals +1d8 damage to targets standing on earth or stone; can move through earth or stone unimpeded; cannot cross water more than 12′; can cast the following spells each 1/turn: mirror image, colour spray ). The elemental will attempt to prevent anyone from accessing the secret door at the back of the chamber, as well as the entrance to area 6. It will prioritize those close to the secret door above those accessing area 6 – perhaps giving characters a hint as to the presence of said secret door.
This chamber contains a pair of silvery metal chests mounted to the floor. Both chests are locked and trapped.
The east chest will magically deal 4d6 cold damage to anyone attempting to open it or pick the lock without first disarming the trap. Once the lock is picked, the chest can be opened but a second trap triggers a blast of cold that fills the room dealing 6d6 damage unless a save versus dragon breath is made. The west chest is identical, but deals fire damage.
The east chest contains a scroll of protection from undead and a potion of Hero’s Heartblood (the user of this potion gains a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls, retainer morale goes up by +2, and is immune to fear. Neutral characters gain half this bonus, and Chaotic characters must make a saving throw against spells – if successfull they gain the full bonuses as they force the spirit of the hero to help them, otherwise the chaotic character suffers a -1 penalty on attack and damage rolls for the duration).
The west chest contains 20,000 ep.
7. The Secret
This room ends shortly beyond the door with a drop into a natural cave. The cave is natural stone with an elongated underground lake at the west side. The lake reaches a maximum depth of 30 feet at the narrowest point and is home to the spectres of a pair of magical engineers who helped build this place ( AC:2, HD:6**, hp:25, 33, Mv:300 (100), Att:1, Dmg:1d8, Sv:F6, M:11, Special: touch drains 2 levels ).
At the west end of the cave is the black and blue statue of an ancient extradimensional entity, which appears almost as if the statue was partially melted. A close examination of the statue will always come up with a different number of tentacles on the creature, somewhere between 6 and 12. The statue is nine feet tall and six feet across. If pushed aside (open doors check with a -2 penalty), a hideous extradimensional spectre is released from the space beneath it ( AC:2, HD:6**, hp:31, Mv:300 (100), Att:1, Dmg:1d8, Sv:F6, M:11, Special: aura of fear and insanity – anyone within 20 feet must save vs petrification or be unable to act each round; touch drains 2 levels ) which will surprise opponents on a 1-4 in 6.
Within the space where the spectre has been trapped is a single massive diamond-like gem worth 12,500 gp.
The original map of the Ruins of Corvel on the Mount was posted in the summer of 2011. Sometimes it takes me a while to find the right inspiration to stock each map I draw. There are many that sit unused, waiting for exactly the right moment to appear in game, or to be linked to a strange flitting idea.
This particular adventure owes a debt for inspiration to the Count Brass Eternal Champion series by Michael Moorcock. It’s also one of the few science fantasy / weird fantasy adventures I’ve taken the time to fully write up for the blog – thus I’m even more interested in your feedback than normal.
If you like maps like the Ruins, or my award-winning adventure design, be sure to check out Dyson’s Delves – a 150+ page book of maps, adventures and dungeons (and the primary method by which I pay for the time and internet connectivity to work on this blog).