Days of High Adventure
Dungeon World: Crypts of the Carrion King

Chris Brackett | 21 Jan 2010 17:00
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How much danger can one four-room dungeon possibly contain? Unwary characters are bound to find out as they venture into this installment of the Dungeon World series.

On the rocky seashore at the southern edge of the Wyrmspine Mountains rests a giant cylinder of rusted iron covered in strange orange flora. What lies within? The locals aren't saying much, aside from typically cryptic and vague warnings of doom and madness. It's probably nothing the adventurers haven't heard a hundred times before - so why buy into such superstitious ravings now?

The answer lies within that iron-bound deathtrap called:

Crypts of the Carrion King

(For a map of this dungeon, click here.)

Above Ground

1 - Mausoleum & Grounds

The Crypts lay below a walled mausoleum that sits atop a barren, rocky outcrop on the coast north of Rocport. The sky above this necropolis is black with crows.

The mausoleum proper is hidden from sight by a doorless, 18'-high, 3'-thick wall of solid iron ('a'). The wall is rusted and pitted, but otherwise in excellent condition. A thick growth of firethorn vines (an orange vine with orange-and-yellow leaves and thin blood-red thorns) blankets the wall (inside & out). A character may attempt to scale the wall using the vines (or rope, or some other means), moving at a rate of no more than 1/10th their normal movement rate vertically per round if they wish to avoid the vine's 4" thorns. (They may move at double this rate, but take 1d4 points of damage per round in so doing.) A character whose exposed flesh touches the vines will begin to suffer from a burning, blistering rash on those areas 1d3 rounds after initial contact with the vines. A character whose hands are so affected suffers a -3 modifier to all to-hit rolls until the rash goes away, which will be in 1d3+3 hours or until remove poison is cast on the character. Any character taking damage from the vine's thorns automatically suffers from this rash on their hands and legs.

The mausoleum ('b') is an undecorated, windowless, 20'-square, 15'-high box of red marble and granite. The only obvious means of entry is the pair of 1'-thick iron double doors on its south side. These doors have no handles or locks, but are barred from within and wizard locked. Any character attempting to open the doors will be immediately attacked by a swarm of crows that dive down from those circling overhead. If one swarm is defeated or driven off, another dive down and attack the next round. These birds will continue to dive and attack in this manner until the character is within the mausoleum or outside the wall.

Inside the mausoleum, the characters will find nothing but bare walls and floors of gray granite blocks. Careful searching, however, will reveal that the floor below the center-most block is hollow. That block is only 4" thick, and if pried up (combined Strength of 20 to lift) will reveal a staircase descending to the south.


1 - Antechamber

The stairs from the mausoleum end at a 25'-square vaulted chamber. The walls and floors are made of the same dark gray granite tiles as the interior of the mausoleum. The room is unadorned, save for an iron door on the east wall and a statue along the south wall.

Immediately in front of the foot of the stairs is a well-concealed pit trap ('a'). A character searching for traps is at half their normal chance to discover this trap. When sprung, any character standing on the trap is deposited into a 30'-deep shaft with smooth stone walls. The bottom 7' of the shaft is submerged under water, and home (prison?) to a trio of ravenous lacedons (aquatic ghouls). These creatures are unable to climb the walls, but will gladly cling to any character being lifted from the water.

The statue on the southern side of the room is a 7'-tall red marble likeness of a bat-winged demon. It is kneeling, with its left arm draped over its raised knee and its head hidden in the crook of its elbow. Its right arm is outstretched, pointing a clawed finger toward the door to the east. It sits atop a 2'-high circular dais, about the base of which is inscribed a series of runes. Although they are not of any language familiar to the characters, they are nonetheless readable:

"Once to the left, one time down
Twice to the right, your salvation is found.
Embrace any other path
To oblivion your soul will be bound."

Characters may mistake this for the correct combination to the "lock" on the eastern door. It is really the solution to finding the true exit of the room and entrance to the deeper parts of the Crypts. (If a character leaves the room via the secret door in the wall to the statue's left, goes down through the concealed trap door and turns right twice, they will be on the path to the next chamber.)

The statue is immobile, but will radiate a magical aura if detect magic is cast. (See the door, below, to learn why.)

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