Topic: The Coldbless Caves

Hi everyone,

I have contributed an entry to an annual One-Page-Dungeon-Contest, and would like to share it with you folks here. For the contest it needed to be system neutral, so you folks will have to come up with your own stats and rolls and all the other stuff that are "game mechanic". But as you are GM´s, you will handle it. I may add some LotFP compatible rules/stats in this blog post later.

Released as: http:/

In a cave system far away from the Dwarf settlement of Kar Narruk runs an underground river. The river is known as Coldbless, and its water is an ingredient for local healing potions. Troglodytes have recently been reported in the area, and a Dwarf named Horgast Truebelt has not returned from a journey to gather the water. His wife and family promise a reward to those that return him, or his shiny belt buckle as a proof of his demise.

[E] marks the passage through which the PC will enter the area.

[O] are tunnels and passages to other, unexplored areas

The river is ice cold (and in fact mostly fueled by melting ice in the mountains in spring and summer). The current is strong, but not unmanageable. In the north a number of large rocks allow to cross it in relative safety. The icy waters are from a region that is ripe with magical energies. Anybody who drinks the raw water will have minor wounds heal immediately, but at least one quart of water needs to be consumed. After doing so three times the effect of the water on the character is lost for about three days.

The mushroom fields (m) grow on gravel banks at the river. They are mostly edible and harmless, but house many deep cave insects. PC may startle a large kind of poisonous centipede that preys on those: (doubles on 2d6 whenever they cross a field; the bite may leave a grown human  shivery for 1d6 hours).

The crevasses (c) on the map are deep enough that a fall will hurt, but not kill. They are wide enough that a jump is a small risk. PC may pass them by climbing down and up again, but doing so costs time and may be strenuous.

The ascends/descends (a) are not steep enough to make climbing gear mandatory, but may be bothersome for unskilled climbers.

The narrows (n) are impossible to pass for a character that wears plate armor, is heavily packed or the size of a troll. Everyone else may squeeze through. It takes a moment and some help to pull or shove those free that became stuck.

Random Encounters may occur every hour (d12):
[1-2]: 1d6 troglodytes    [3]: One giant cave spider    [4+]: none.

Troglodytes are a little larger than Halflings, but scrawny and with longer limps. Their skin is gray, next to hairless and they have large black eyes, teeth and nails. Troglodytes are feral, don´t speak the common language and are equal in culture to early stone-age people. They see heat signatures and have a 2-out-of 6 chance to attack without provocation when encountered. Most of the troglodytes in this area come here through the [o]ther tunnels, as their tribe begins to seize these caves.  Their base camp is at [5].

Giant cave spiders come to this area through the sink in [3]. Their body is the size of a man, and the legs are about the same size again. They are cunning, absolutely silent, see heat signatures and are able to walk on walls and the ceiling. A spider will not attack a group of PC but rather follow them to single one out later, or to wait till the PC are engaged by a different enemy. In a fight it attacks two times with its legs, and if both were successful a bite attack follows. Its venom is paralyzing. It may create webbing, but only uses it to “tow” a paralyzed victim away (to feed on it undisturbed).

The Undine is a hand-sized water pixie that lives in the river, and spends most of its time there. It will emerge out of the Coldbless´ surface when the PC disturb it for the second time (cross it, drink from it, etc.). She is appears as a slender nymph purely made of river water. The pixie speaks with a voice like a a river running in a narrow over an assortment of stones. It will demand to know who the PC are. When they introduce themselves by names it will demand to be named by them as well, and reject the first name given utterly because it is “BORING!”. It don´t cares for questions and considers most of them “BORING!”, but wants the PC to tell her things. The Undine is especially intrigued by everything shiny, and sometimes rummages through the carcass slope [7]. It thereby found Horgast´s shiny belt buckle and took it with her into the river, where it now lies somewhere at the bottom. She claims it to be “MINE!”, but may trade it for more shiny objects.

[1] The flat cavern has a low ceiling (penalties for those taller than a dwarf) and is dotted with stalagmites and rubble. All exits but the passage to the south may be missed unless the cave is explored thoroughly.

[2] The tilted cave has a steep ascend to the west, but a comfortable ceiling. Very small deposits of quartz glitter in the light.

[3] The vast cavern is a dome-sized space with a large, flat rock formation at its center and a huge sink hole in its northern third. A dangerously small ledge along its edge connects it to [1]. The rock formation is used as look-out by a troglodyte. When it sees the PC move past the ledge, it will try to sneak away to [5] to warn the others.

[4] The stalagmite forests are large caves filled with stalagmites. Any encounters here may lead to an ambush.

[5] The troglodyte lair is a large, unlit cave that is occupied by 1d6+6 troglodytes. They rest together near the northeast wall unless they have been alarmed. Stalagmites in the cave give the PC a chance to sneak by. An old pick-ax, 10+2d7 rations of roasted meat and two large water skins may be found here, which they have looted from [7]. The water skins once  belonged to Horgast.

[6] Unstable areas are littered with rubble. Any loud noises (e.g. a fight) here will have large boulders come lose and drop from the ceiling.

[7] The carcass slope is used by the troll [T] to depose of the remains of its prey. Rats skitter around here, which may shriek and perhaps alarm the troll when the PC disturb them. The remains of Horgast Truebelt (and other detritus) are here, but not his belt buckle.

[8] The stinking cave reeks of urine and something worse (troll). It leads to the cave of a two-headed, three armed chaos troll that lairs there [T]. The chaos troll killed Horgast at the river, ate him and cast the remains off at [7]. It has two attacks, is immune to all forms of control magic and regenerates wounds. The monster is raving mad and talks to itself most of the time.

With kind regards
My blog

Re: The Coldbless Caves

As I made the brainstorming for Coldbless Caves, I planned to include a two-headed "Chaos Troll" (a name to emphasize that this creature is even more in steeped with chaotic energies than this breed of monster usually is) I named irKASHra: one head would say its name is Irkash, while the other would fall in and tell that the name is Kashra. As Coldbless Caves was to be a one-page-dungeon, I had to cut away text pieces like this, and irKASHra never had any real stats as all submissions for the contest had to be system neutral. But this shall not stop me from posting stats here smile

IrKASHra is a two-headed troll that constantly talks (and often: argues) with itself. Its skin is grayish and covered in warts and many flecks, its sparse hair is almost platin in color and none of its eyes are the same colour (ice-blue and yellow / black and amber). A third, mismatched arm grows between its left side and back.

Alignment:   Chaotic
Movement:  120´(40´)
Armor Class: as Chain Mail
Hit Dice:  6 +3
Attacks: 2 +1(all clubbing and/or claw)*
Damage: 1d6 (clawing) or 1d8 (improvised bone club, will break after dealing 5+ damage with one blow).
Save: as 6th level Fighter

Special rules: IrKASHra cannot die of hunger, but is oh so hungry. When it meets the characters it will talk to itself about eating one of them. If the characters offer rations (at least three of them) the troll may be distract and later attacked by surprise (same chances as per the basic rules). Otherwise, surprise is determined by two dice, and the worst result is discarded unless the dice show doubles. In that case, the troll is talking/arguing with itself so much that it is automatically surprised.

Due to its third arm IrKASHra my use a (further) attack against characters that engage it from the side or from the rear (blind attack in that case). The mad troll is immun against all form of Charm, and all other forms of magic that affect the mind or the senses must be cast successfully twice (once for each head) in order to affect IrKASHra.

At the end of each combat round that it did not receive any damage, the troll regenerates 2 hit points. It will not give chase if there is at least one corpse for it to devour.

With kind regards
My blog