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NAP III Sneak Peak

 ·  ☕ 13 min read

This is the sneak peak of my No Art Punk III entry. It contains the first level of the keystone dungeon of the adventure. I will be looking to playtest this dungeon in the neat future, so heads up for that. Hope you enjoy!

Region Background

This region once was the personal domain of the king of a small country. A victim of location, this country is situated between several large empires. This unfortunate location led to it being conquered and reconquered several times, decimating the local population. The king fought to maintain his borders, but it was a futile effort. Eventually, he disappeared from the public eye. Before his disappearance, he called upon a powerful spell caster to curse the land. Stating that none should hold the land after him. After the curse was cast, the land fell under a deep cold and the dead from every army began roaming the land. The queen left the country but was never heard from again and is assumed dead. Afterwards, The people scattered, integrating with the surrounding nations. Eventually, it was deemed too dangerous to route armies through the accursed place and the emperors of the time took their wars elsewhere.

Recently, the young and power hungry king Baristan has determined to use the desolate land as a staging point for his own warlike ambitions.
His reports indicate that the old curse lies dormant, and the dead sleep once again.
Baristan has determined that the risk of reawakening some old kings curse to be worth the reward of a hidden staging point near his enemies.
Therefore, he has sent his most trusted mercenaries to clear out the castle and subdue the region, promising them lordship over the area afterwards.
This was done at significant personal cost to Baristan, and he expects to be repaid in full.

Unknown to the young tyrant, the old king of that nation still lingers. In his desire to uphold the curse, the old king sought undeath.
He attained it, at horrible cost. Now he and the spell caster are bound together into one hideously animated corpse. This thing dwells in the deepest cellar of the old castle, watching over the land he swore none would take again.

Castle Crypt of the Good King

The Malevolent Gaze

The lich is aware of all things that happen on the castle grounds. While mostly choosing to stay in his lair,
he is more than capable of sending minions after the party, closing and locking doors, casting dangerous dwoemer’s etc.
To denote this, this dungeon uses a version of the Underclock, as opposed to normal wandering monsters. It goes as follows:

  • The referee keeps a countdown, starting at 20
  • Any time the party makes an Escalating Action roll 1d6 and subtract the result from the countdown
  • If the count reaches less than 0, roll on the Lich’s Malevolence table and reset the count to 20
  • If the count reaches exactly 0, reset the count to 3.
  • If the count hit exactly 3, roll on the Lich’s Ire table (this includes if it resets from hitting exactly 0)
    Escalating Actions are actions that cause the lich to take more notice of the intruders. They include:
  • Entering a new room
  • Passing through three already explored rooms
  • Searching an area or lingering in a room for more than 2 turns
  • Making loud noises (excludes combat)
    Any other actions will be denoted in the room description where that action can be taken.
Lich’s Malevolence
1 Party is teleported off the grounds (once per day, replace with 2 if repeated)
2 4 Wraiths appear
3 6 Giant Black Widows drop from the cieling
4 8 Shadows swarm the party
5 All doors in the room slam shut and become locked (non-magical)
6 The room is cast in magical darkness
7 A swarm of giant vampire bats swarm the party
8 A cruel wind, smelling of death, extinguishes all torches
Lich’s Ire
1 A cold cackling is heard emanating from everywhere*
2 A Magic Mouth taunts the party in a dead language
3 The temperature suddenly swells, melting the frost off the walls
4 An unknown, disembodied voice shouts “Guards! Seize Them!"*
5 The party sees a vision of a young woman darting around the corner
6 A cold chill runs down the parties backs
7 For one turn the room is filled with a pale mist that obscures vision
8 The smell of rotted cadavers wafts from the walls*
——————— ———————————————————————————-
*if rolled, note the number rolled and use it for the next Malevolence result

It is up to the judge’s discretion if the players are made aware of the count or not. If they are, describe it
as representing a mounting dread felt by the characters as their exploits in the castle are noted with a cold

Exterior Description

This is a large granite block castle. It is surrounded by a wall that is 10 foot thick, 20 foot high. This wall is composed of granite blocks. Some blocks are missing and have been replaced with ice. Several rotting corpses and skeletons are frozen at various points up. Attempting to scale the wall incurs a Save vs Paralysis or become frozen to it. A frozen character will die in 2 days if not saved. A character may be removed by dousing them in hot, almost scalding water. After such a dousing, they fall and take 1d6 damage Thieves who succeed their Climb Walls throw by 5 or more are not affected.
The wall is patrolled by groups of 6 Zombies wielding halberds (1d10). There are four such groups, and one will pass by any given location once every 30 minutes. At the front of the castle is a drawbridge across a frozen moat. Passing over the drawbridge triggers the Gate Guardian in 21.

From above, the castle is a small T shape, with two interior gardens. There are two towers on each wing, the lady’s tower to the west and the lord’s tower to the east. A flying character may land on the walls walkway, the balcony of the ladies tower (level 2), on the lady’s tower parapets (level 2) and on the rooftop garden of the ladies tower (level 3). They may also land on the lord’s tower balcony or parapets (level 2). Finally, they may land in either of interior gardens (level 1: 13, 21). Landing anywhere else incurs the same Save vs. Paralysis as scaling the walls.

The main castle is made of the same granite and ice blocks.

Castle Crypt Level One

Level One - Courts and Quarters

1 - Commoners Court

This grand hall is made of dull cobblestone floors and high vaulted ceilings. It smalls vaguely of ice and decomposing carrion.
The center of the hall is dominated by a plain granite statue of the old king. The statue holds a golden scepter in outstretched hands. A plaque on the plinth reads “Let any who are worthy grasp my power with bared fist.” Attempting to move the scepter with anything other than a bare hand will find it immovable. If any touch it with a bare hand and are not worthy they are reduced, permanently, to 1 HD. They then must Save vs Spells or be transformed into a newt (small vermin). A Polymorph or Dispel magic will restore their original form, but the hit dice can never be recovered.

Worthy: A worthy character is one who is of the Lawful alignment and has a +2 morale or higher with their personal domain.

Treasure: Any worthy character will be able to remove the scepter, and they gain the following item
Iron Rod of Ruler ship:
The Iron Rod of Ruler ship is a gold enameled iron scepter. It may be used as a +3 mace with the following properties:

  • Any character class may wield it, regardless of weapon restrictions.
  • It uses that classes prime requisite for melee attack bonuses and damage
  • It provides a +1 morale bonus to a characters personal domain, and a +2 morale bonus to any henchmen with them
  • It is Sentient and cannot be discarded except by it’s choice. It is capable of speech and will pontificate on the finer points of ruler ship and statecraft, even when not asked. It will demand to part ways with any character who loses their domain, or whose domain drops below a 0 morale rating. This parting of ways does not incur the curse from the statue.

2 - High Sheriff’s Court

This room was used for judgements of major crimes against the kingdom. In the center of the three portcullises, there is a large magic circle. Entering this circle will cause a spellcasters (divine or arcane) to believe that they have lost access to all of their spells. Exiting and re-entering this circle reverses this illusion. Those with the Collegiate Wizardry proficiency may determine the function of this magic circle with a throw of 15+.

3 - Office of the Exchequer

An old office for handling debts to the crown. It is empty, though a frost-rimed desk lies smashed in the northeast section. Characters may peer through the steel bars in the middle of the room and see the moldering record books and scrolls.

4 - Public Records

Old oaken shelves, cracked by frost and lined with record books rendered useless by time.
Lair: A group of 3 Spectres haunt this room. They are the ghosts of the Record Keeper and his two under-librarians.
They will not make their presence known unless the party attempts to enter the door into 3. Inside that room is their horde, consisting of 5 rare historical books, worth 500 GP each, 4 potions of delusion (drinker believes it to be a potion of Human Control) and a scroll of ESP.

5 - Royal Records

This room contains the lineage of kings, in large leather bound volumes. Curiously, it is not affected by the chill of the rest of the castle. Reading the lineage takes a week, but will yield information about the lines ancestral connection with undeath, as well as the password to the chapel. The stairs lead down to the viewing area of the royal mausoleum (sub level 1: 1)

6 - Chapel Vestibule

Scratched and worn confessional booths to the east, dim light shining in through the stained glass window to the south.
This chapel has seen better days.
Guarded: The entry-way is flanked by 2 Stone Animated Statues. They will ask the party what they seek in the house of the shepherd. If the party answers “Absolution” they are allowed to pass, otherwise the statues attack. The noise will attract a group of shadows 8 strong, who will appear after 2 combat rounds.

7 - Sacrament Elements storage

Old storage room that contained bread, wine, hymnals and candles. All contents have long since been stolen.

8 - Pulpit

A pulpit where the good word was once heard. Now rendered pointless in the blasphemy of the castle itself. The stairs lead to royal mausoleum (sub level 1: 7) and was used to transport the corpses of those interred there.

9 - Petitioner’s Hall

A wide and beautiful hallway to the throne room. Empty and silent now.

10 - Throne Room.

An ornate throne room. A skeleton wearing a crown sits in the east throne.
Lair: The skeleton is a Crypt Thing. It will teleport whoever fails their save into the «Oubliette» in the «dungeons»

11 - Queen’s Guard Barracks

The old barracks for the Queen’s personal Guard. Empty now. The stair leads to the «Queen’s Battlements».
Trapped: The door to the room is trapped with poisoned arrows, Save vs Poison or take 5d8 damage and become Sickened for 10 days.

12 - Queen’s Court

The grand room where the queen held personal court with her entourage. Nothing of interest remains. The door is flanked by two live Aspen trunks
Guarded: The two Aspen trunks contain a group of Dryads, 6 in total. They will not appear unless their trees are directly threatened. However, they will warn Lady Rose of any visitors to her old rooms who enter from here.

13 - Queens Gardens

Large public garden which the commoners were allowed to visit during trips to the castle. There is an overgrown hermitage shed still standing

14 - Hermitage

This hermitage shed is now over grown. A secret tunnel leads to the queens bedroom, and is used by Lady Rose during her visits to the castle.
Guarded: The building is covered in 4 Vampire Roses which will attack any who approach.

15 - Queen’s Bedroom

This opulent bedroom appears to be in good condition, but lacking any valuables. If the fireplace is inspected, one will
see the remains of a recent fire.

16 - Queens' Dressing Room

Rotten and moth eaten formal wear hangs on rods in this large closet. One my find a small silver hand mirror worth 200 GP hidden amongst the clothes.

17 - The Power Behind the Throne

This shared bed chamber was used for ensuring the king would leave an heir. The entire room has dweomer cast upon it that prevents it from being remotely viewed (such as with a crystal ball). Anyone attempting to do so immediately has the viewing session ending and must save vs spells or take 2d10 damage as punishment for their insolence.

18 - King’s Guard’s barracks.

Nothing save a few rusted armors, covered in hoar frost.

19 - King’s Court

Grand room where the king held personal court with his entourage. Door is flanked by two marble statues of old crones.
They are labeled Time and Fate, a grim warning that even kings can avoid neither.
Guarded: The statues are a Caryatid Column. Time wields a Sickle while Fate wields a set of shears (both treated as 1d8 damage.
Attempting to enter the courtroom with weapons activates them, however retreated more than 10' returns them to stone.
«make this a rumor»

20 - Kings Bedroom

This opulent bedroom is completely encased in ice. At the foot of the bed is a large treasure chest, also encased in ice.
Removing this treasure chest requires one to either break or melt the ice. Breaking the ice requires three turns and will incur a wandering monster check each round. Melting it takes 5 turns. Removing or opening the chest is an Escalating Action
Treasure: This chest contains a few personal effects of the king, left behind with his humanity:

  • A tarnished glass crown, set with brilliant amethysts worth 920 GP
  • An scratched and tarnished iron chain necklace, set with brilliant amethysts worth 730 GP
  • 16 Jet and Alabaster chess pawns, worth 600 GP Each, 9,600 GP total

21 - King’s Garden

Another public garden, not as well kept as the Queen’s counterpart. It is littered with the dessicated corpses of small birds and mammals.
Lair: This garden is infested with Archer Bushes, 8 of the things. They are ravenous and will attack anything that comes within range, even from above.

22 - Gate Guardian’s Tower

This tower was constructed to house the Gate Guardian, a monstrous iron golem. It has grow slow with age and rust, but will activate if any dare cross it’s bridge. It will allow them to cross before winching up the drawbridge (1 turn). Then it will ring the alarm bell, which would have summoned palace guards, but now summons 20 Skeletons with swords, lead by 2 wights who wield spears. The Gate Guardian cannot leave it’s tower, and may be disabled in the Sheriffs Office «sub level 1:»

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