Prison for Dragons – Shuzal Entrance Citadel Lower Level

It’s time for part five of my prison for dragons series! Thanks to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of “Unusual Dungeons” chosen by Nils Jeppe over at Enderra I’ve been inspired to create an Exploration Age dungeon post by post. This dungeon is meant for a group of four level 12 PCs. So far I’ve written a general overview of dragon prisons built by aberrations, the background and character hooks for a specific dragon prison called Shuzal, the area and random encounters around Shuzal’s entrance citadel, and the surface level of Shuzal’s entrance citadel. Now it’s time to take a look at the lower level of the entrance citadel.

Shuzal Entrance Citadel Lower Level

Shuzal 4

Map created with Pyromancers’ Dungeon Painter.

The lower level of Shuzal’s entrance citadel lies in ruin, but is not as badly damaged as its surface level, since it is better guarded from the elements. The Ox Tribe are on high alert in the lower levels, even if they have not received warning adventurers are invading. Members of the tribe have mysteriously been going missing in recent months and the whole place is on edge. By order of Chief Crtulak the Jaw all members of the tribe must travel through the tunnels in groups of four or more for protection.

Features of the Area

Illumination. Since the ogres and onis of the Ox Tribe have darkvision there are no light sources in the lower level of the citadel except where otherwise noted in an area’s description.

Ceiling. All ceilings in the area are 20 feet high except where noted in an area’s description.

Doors. The doors on this level of the citadel are made of adamantine (AC 23, HP 100). Unless otherwise noted, all doors are unlocked.

B1 – Entrance Studio

Rubble lies strewn on the ground of this chamber, the remnants of an old stair case.

The hole in area A3 is directly over the center of this chamber. If the Ox Tribe has warning the PCs are coming the door in this room is barred from the hall side and requires a DC 20 Strength check to open.

Rubble. The rubble lies in a low pile before the door and is difficult terrain for Medium or smaller creatures.

B2 – Warden’s Office 1

The Ox Tribe have taken the time to scratch the Giant word for danger onto the door to this room. The door here is jammed and requires a DC 20 Strength check to open.

The rubble-strewn room features a large desk at its center. There might have been more furniture in this place at one time, but now only stone rubble remains. Unlike the other areas in this ruin, the stones seem almost polished and dirt free.

Beneath this floor is a nest of four black puddings. The oozes are able to travel through the complex, sometimes picking off unwitting, lone ogres. They are starving since the ogres are traveling in groups too powerful to attack, which has made them desperate for a meal. If the ground in this area is disturbed by someone walking above the slink through the cracks and attack.

Desk. The desk holds the Shuzal warden’s old files on the prisoners and is trapped. Any creature who touches the desk releases a destructive wave of psychic energy. Creatures within 20 feet of the desk must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. Creatures who fail take 33 (6d10) psychic damage and are pushed back 10 feet. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not pushed.

The trap’s magic is controlled by a small pearl (worth 100 gp) on the underside of the desk. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check allows a character to spot the pearl. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the source of the trap’s magic is on the underside of the desk, provided the person making the check has seen the trap activated. A DC 15 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools can remove the pearl and disarm the trap. A failure made on the check to remove the pearl activates the trap.

The desk has only one drawer intact which is locked shut. It can be forced open with a DC 20 Strength check or its lock can be picked with a DC 15 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools.

Files. The old files within the desk are mostly useless and lost to time, but two files explain the aberrations reasons for holding and questioning the silver dragon siblings Maxathaltros and Kerrinalastraya.

Rubble. The rubble lies is difficult terrain for Medium or smaller creatures.

B3 – Warden’s Office 2

The Ox Tribe have taken the time to scratch the Giant word for danger onto the door to this room. The door here is jammed and requires a DC 20 Strength check to open.

The rubble-strewn room features a large desk at its center. There might have been more furniture in this place at one time, but now only stone rubble remains, covered in dust and undisturbed for years.

Desk. The stone desk here is not what it seems. When a creature enters the room, the desk shifts in half and stands, revealing it is really two stone golems. The golems are meant to guard this room and an old stone chest, which was smashed in the rubble long ago in a battle with some now dead ogres.

Rubble. The rubble lies is difficult terrain for Medium or smaller creatures.

Treasure. A creature who searches the rubble with a successful DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds a bag of holding which contains a Shuzal portal key and two bombs of silence.

B4 – Crate Storage

Crates stacked up to the ceiling fill this chamber branded with various sigils of merchant guilds. This must be where the Ox Tribe keeps the goods they raid from passersby.

If PCs take the time to clear out the chamber there are 2000 gp worth of trade goods and mundane weapons and armor within the crates (what specifically is inside is up to you). The goods are heavy and weigh about 5000 pounds total.

B5 – Barrel Storage

Twenty-seven barrels the size of an adult dwarf branded with a camel sigil take up most of this room.

The Ox Tribe recently raided a caravan of Bragonian liquor vendors know carrying Camel’s Hump Whiskey. This alcohol is extremely potent and flammable. The Ox Tribe has taken to drinking the potent beverage with each meal.

Whiskey Barrels. Dealing 10 or more fire damage to a barrel with one attack or spell causes the liquor inside to explode. Creatures adjacent to the barrel must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (4d10) fire damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage. If a barrel is next to another when it explodes, both barrels explode.

The Camel’s Hump Whiskey is a rare and worth 200 gp a barrel. A single barrel weighs 275 pounds.

If a creature drinks the whiskey, it must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour. For each drink the creature has in an hour, the DC for the saving throw increases by 2.

B6 – Ogre Den

The rank smell in this room must be coming from the numerous sleeping mats spread all over the floor. A large group of ogres is gathered here, talking, resting, and playing games of dice.

If the ogres know the PCs are coming they have cleared out of this room. Use the following text instead.

 The rank smell in this room must be coming from the numerous sleeping mats spread all over the floor. The mats look disturbed, like a large group of creatures left this place in a hurry.

When the PCs arrive sixteen ogres are in this room (which used to be where the aberrations slept and took their meals). If the ogres get word the PCs are coming or hear them in the hall trying to open one of the jammed doors, eight of the ogres wait until the PCs come at least part of the way into the hall and then burst out and attack, some running down other halls to surround the PCs. Four other ogres join their friends in area B7 and the remaining four ogres go to area B8.

Treasure. Taking the time to search under all of the sleeping mats reveals 701 gp and 32 pp.

B7 – Dining Hall

Bright light, a warm heat, and a sickly sweet smell hit your senses as you take in this room. Four huge fires, each with its own anvil and water basin, are being used to roast four human corpses. Bones of various humanoids lie all over the floor. Two onis grin wickedly as you enter the room.

If there are also ogres from area B6 in this room add.

Four ogres whoop in delight, raising their weapons. “More food for the fires!” they cry.

Two onis (and possibly four ogres from area B6) prepare dinner here for the rest of the tribe. What was the aberrations’ smithy has now become a kitchen. The Ox Tribe also keeps a few extra barrels of Camel’s Hump Whiskey in here.

Everburning Fires. Thanks to the aberrant magic of the citadel, the fires always burn hot in this room. A creature who starts its turn in or passes through the fire takes 11 (2d10) fire damage.

Everfull Wells. Thanks to the aberrant magic of the citadel, the water in the basins here is always full of clean water, which is how the Ox Tribe stays hydeated.

Illumination. This room is bathed in bright light from the fires.

Whiskey Barrels. Dealing 10 or more fire damage to a barrel with one attack or spell causes the liquor inside to explode. Creatures adjacent to the barrel must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (4d10) fire damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage. If a barrel is next to another when it explodes, both barrels explode.

The Camel’s Hump Whiskey is a rare and worth 200 gp a barrel. A single barrel weighs 275 pounds.

If a creature drinks the whiskey, it must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour. For each drink the creature has in an hour, the DC for the saving throw increases by 2.

B8 – Throne Room

A bright light fills this room. Two onis stand guard on either side of a red seal on the ground before a dias. Atop the dias sits a throne made of stone and bone and atop the throne sits the largest ogre you have ever seen. In surprisingly well-spoken Common the huge beast speaks through a smile and an enormous mouth. “Welcome weary travelers. Let’s avoid bloodshed if we can. I’d hate to have to scrape you off my floor.”

If the four ogres from area B6 are there, add:

Four ogres stand on the dias, flanking the one sitting on the throne.

Chief Crtulak the Jaw has made this throne room his own. He has two onis who serve as his personal bodyguards (who are possibly joined by four ogres from area B6). Once a place for the warden to question prisoners and suspected traitors, the magic of the red seal is still active in the room and the attuned chief knows exactly how to control it. He knows the adventurers must be powerful to have made it this far and he hopes to use them to help him solve a problem.

Chief Crtulak’s Deal. The chief offers to pay the adventurers to help him with an issue. He tells them that his people are being attacked by something sinister in the complex. For the last few months members of the Ox Tribe have gone down to the crypts to pay respects to the dead and have been going mysteriously missing. At first Crtulak thought maybe his people were getting picked off by the traps, oozes, and constructs in the tunnels, but it began happening so often he suspected it might be something else. He then ordered his people to travel in groups, but that has only led to more Ox Tribe members disappearing in the tunnels.

The chief offers the adventurers a deal, he’ll give them each an emerald worth 1000 gp now if they agree to find the problem in the crypts and destroy it for him and then another emerald worth 1000 gp each when they return. A successful DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check also gets Crtulak to agree the Ox Tribe will no longer attack any passing caravans or tribes and feast only on animals (though he does so begrudgingly).

Chief Crtulak is calm and intelligent in his negotiations. He cares about the lives of his own people more than anything else and knows the adventurers might be too strong for him to handle, but that means they also might have the strength to wipe out his hidden foe. He is willing to make sacrifices to ensure the survival of his tribe. He will also use the properties of the red seal (see below), but only if he feels he is being lied to or about to be attacked. If the PCs agree to take on Crtulak’s job, he offers them an ogre guide through the tunnels in area B9. The ogre knows the tunnels well, but will only guide the PCs to the area of entrance B10 before getting scared and leaving them to fend for themselves.

Illumination. This room is bathed in bright light from the fires.

Red Seal. The red seal on the floor has magic properties which are controlled by whoever is attuned to it. To attune oneself to the red seal, a creature must spend one hour sitting on the throne with no interruptions or distractions as it mediates on the seal. A creature attuned to the seal can cast detect thoughtshold monster, or zone of truth (centered on the seal) on any creatures touching the seal as an action (spell save DC 17).

Treasure. Chief Crtulak keeps his treasures in a locked stone chest behind his throne. Any character who looks behind the throne can easily see the chest. It is locked but a successful DC 15 Dexterity check with thieves’ tools or the key Crtulak holds can be used to open the chest. Inside the chest are twelve emeralds worth 1000 gp each, 354 gp, 12 pp, and a staff of walls (which Crtulak is waiting to award to one of his oni bodyguards).

B9 – The Catacombs

The maze-like tunnels which lead to the Ox Tribe’s burial grounds were put in place by the aberrations in case a dragon ever escaped Shuzal. The prisoner would have to find its way out of a maze of cramped tunnels, guarded with sinister traps and construct guardians. Since then black puddings have found their ways into the maze of tunnels. The ogres have navigated the tunnels enough times they can quickly get to their makeshift crypt and pay respects to their dead usually without any trouble.

Each time the PCs find themselves at the dead-end of a tunnel, roll for a random encounter on the table below to see if they are attacked or encounter a trap.

d10 Encounter
1 – 5 No encounter
6 1d4 + 1 black puddings
7 Spectral tendrils trap
8 1d4 + 1 helmed horrors
9 Withering tapestry trap
10 1 stone golem

Spectral Tendril Trap. This 10-foot-square area has been cursed with a ritual that forms tendrils of pure necrotic energy which hunger to feed on the living. The ritual is powered by an unholy symbol painted or carved into the ground at the center of the area. The tendrils live below the surface of the floor and wait for a living creature to walk into the area before attacking.

A character notices the trapped area and its immediate surroundings are slightly colder with a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character trained in Arcana can determine the meaning of the symbol with a DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check.

When a creature steps into the area, the tendrils rise from the ground and make an attack roll against that creature with a +8 bonus. On a hit the tendrils deal 22 (4d10) necrotic damage and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). Another creature can attack the tendrils grappling a creature (AC 15). If they deal more than 15 damage in one attack the tendrils let go. The tendrils disappear if they are dealt radiant damage.

Withering Tapestry Trap. This 10-foot-square tapestry depicts a regal aberration king and queen sitting upon a throne with crowns of gold. Any creature who can see the tapestry must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. A creature who fails is overcome with admiration for the tapestry and cannot willingly move out of sight of the tapestry for 24 hours. During that time the creature cares only about the tapestry and will defend the work of art with its life. It acts hostile toward any creature who tries to touch the tapestry or tries to move the effected creature away from the tapestry. The creature will try to find its way back to the tapestry if it is forcibly removed from it. The creature will not sleep while it is under this effect. After 24 hours the affected creature suffers a level of exhaustion. It must repeat the saving throw if the tapestry is still within line of sight.

A DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals the nature of the trap. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals the tapestry is immune to all damage except for fire. The tapestry has AC 10 and 30 hit points.

B10 – Crypt

This room has been cleared of any rubble and heavy stone coffins slide into spaces all along the wall, up into the raised ceiling.

The ceiling in this room is 50 feet high. The Ox Tribe use this room to store the bones of their dead. When they first took the citadel, the Ox Tribe released a horribly contagious disease and so it was worth traversing the catacombs to put their dead far away from the living. The disease has since faded from all but memory, yet the Ox Tribe still entomb their dead here, carving coffins from the stones of the ruin. Characters who search the coffins find they are empty.

Secret Door. A successful DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the small scrapes in the ground before secret door which leads to area B11. A successful DC 25 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the outline of the door. Because Akros Sepora and her minions use this door, all traps and locks have been disabled. If the PCs do not notice the secret door after one hour of time spent in the room, the door is revealed when eight ogre zombies come through the door and attack. One of the zombies carries a Shuzal portal key.

B11 – Portal Room

This small room contains a cauldron holding placid blue water. Braziers burn all around the room, flickering with madly.

The pool in this room can become a portal which leads to the demiplane where Shuzal is housed.

Braziers. The braziers in this room are powered by the aberrant magic of the ruin and never go out. A creature who moves into or starts its turn in the same space as the brazier takes 5 (1d10) fire damage.

Illumination. This room is bathed in bright light from the fires.

Portal. The water pool begins to glow red when someone brings a Shuzal portal key within 10 feet of the pool and the portal becomes active. Any creature who enters the pool while it is red is immediately transported to the demiplane outside of Shuzal. Even if the key holder goes through the portal it remains active for 1 minute.

If a creature enters the pool when the portal is not active it must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (4d10) radiant damage and are blinded for 1 hour. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not blinded. The creature must repeat this saving throw at the start of its turn every round it remains in the pool.

If the PCs do not have a portal key, fear not! One hour after they arrive in the portal room a group of eight zombie ogres comes through the portal. One of these ogres carries a Shuzal portal key.

Next Time…

…we’ll go through the portal!

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