I think this could be a scroll for all sorts of look-but-dont-touch things that a mage might leave in his stuff to deter people from touching. These could be limited to the comical to alarming for a good aligned mage, such as the toucher turning a vibrant color, or their voice turning into deafening animal noises. For a more evil wizard, there could certainly be a vivacious black idol that when touched turns the toucher into a nearly mindless carrion crawler for several hours. Later when they revert to human with a mouthful of rotten orc intestine they have learned a valuable lesson. Go to Comment
An interesting twist involving the man who got past it: the ruby is not in the hands of sensible PCs, but in the hands of an evil fighter. This could lead to a very interesting adventure: the PCs would have to not only find the bad guy, but the man who can get past the ruby, AND keep him safe long enough to help them. Go to Comment
Maybe there's something in the wine which permeates through the barrels into the atmosphere and gradually overpowers those nearby. The barrels could be leaking this substance into a river which supplies the local peasants with water. At the same time as the strange goings on in the cellar the peasants are experiencing a hitherto unheard-of plague.
Encounters in the cellars could then be with mutated creatures which had been contaminated by the substance in the wine. Go to Comment
You could also have your generic cursed item being responsible for the misbehavior - or not, simple greed is already a good enough reason.
I think I have even used this at some point... the local baron was really digging for the wine cellar, and an opening was found. Sending guards in, they didn't return, so promptly were some adventurers recruited. On the spot was a little crowd of workers, looking as if they were paid for doing nothing (and they were), and eager to tell some horror stories to the chumps going in ("He was but an inch from getting out, but then a giant hand pulled him back!" - "Yeah, and it had claws THIS big!" - "And he screamed as if they were tearing the very soul out of him!")
Truth is, it was a forgotten part of the castle's secret corridors, and the guards really deserted after finding a wealth in treasure. Tramping around might reveal more, but also a few family secrets... like that one black sheep, who worshipped a dark cult, complete with a little unholy temple. Or the little ghostly girl, that was lost long ago, actually neglected by her caretaker who didn't want to share the inheritance. Watch your steps, in this dungeon, and when you are out of it.
Maybe there was a vamp in the dungeon & while the players are busy cleaning the dungeon ("give me 3 good reasons why I shouldn't use a broom....") the wizard (who is now a vamp) & the dead guards (vampire spawn) are busy cleaning the castle. Go to Comment