Room One: Entrance and Guardian
They meet a small child upon the road near sunset. She is perhaps 9 years old wearing a burlap sack as clothes and her face is darkened in the growing shadows of the setting sun behind her. As they get close enough to make out features they see obvious signs of a rash and purple spots covering her exposed body. She is walking in a trance and doesn't acknowledge anybody.
If anybody tries to heal her, whether physical or spell, her eyes will dilate as she looks towards the now visible moon, her arms will swing parallel with the ground and a otherworldly wind will blow her hair and clothes in a dramatic way as she recites the following:
Of the fifth the fourth the third
Alight the skies will the birds in flight
Follow it you may
Follow it you might
You must choose to go
You must choose to do right
The child will then slump and pass away peacefully. About a minute after she dies a deep exhale will leave her body and a black mist will roll from her mouth and swirl towards the forest. It is quickly out of site in the darkness.
The players may do whatever to the body, it doesnt do anything else.
Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge
Once they continue on they will soon see a wagon off the road with two horses still hitched to it. When they investigate they will find two adults that have the same disease the child had. They are slumped in their seats as if they both died simultaneously and just slumped over. Searching the wagon they will find little of use but they will discover some small articles that would belong to a small child.
As they are investigating a flock of birds will be disturbed not too far in the forest and fly directly overhead. As they look up to follow the trail of birds they will see a faint glow in the low clouds as if emanating from something deeper in the woods.
The light is coming out of the top of a mound. If they go to the top it is a circular rock that is throwing the light upwards. If any of this group touch it, it instantly goes out and a portion of the ground sinks in the shape of a square. They must dig to reveal the door.
On the door, once cleaned, will be eight runes. If anybody can read them they are:
anger death sadness hope life happiness love fate
From what was recited by the child they should choose life hope sadness and the door will open.
1. There could be others at the site already. The glow may have attracted those within site of it. They may have to fight their way through them. Some may be diseased people looking for a sign. As they will see, actions against these people may have negative effects later on.
2. The person that attempted to heal the child must be the one to do all the tasks or magical traps would be set off.
3. The runes must be chosen in the correct order or magical traps could be set off.
Room Three: Trick or Setback
As they start exploring the series of rooms one of the players finds that they are getting a rash that really itches. As they continue it starts to bruise and perhaps bleed and is getting painful. No healing does anything to it.
The kind of cave system doesn't matter. Could be natural, man made, a labyrinth, whatever but it should just take enough time for the symptoms described to start taking good effect. If they try and go back out the way they came the exit is closed and impossible to open.
Room Four: Climax, Big Battle, or Conflict
They will begin to hear a lot of shuffling and groaning echoing down the passageway. They will see a light at the end of the current passageway and shadowy forms passing back and forth in front of it. None moving quick, a shuffling limping movement. The corridor opens into a huge open room with a ceiling that goes beyond the light. The light source seems to be coming from something at the other end.
The moving shadows are men, women, and children at the last stages of the illness that they watched the child die of and the same symptoms that the one player is developing rapidly. None of the people are carrying weapons, but as soon as the players enter the room the nearest plague victims pivot awkwardly and start walking towards them with arms outstretched. The wounds are dripping and livid with puss dripping from them. It would seem any contact from them would get this liquid on them.
If they resist purposely hurting anybody as the move towards the glow they will find a goblet of liquid.
If they fight their way through or hurt anybody maliciously they will meet the black mist that saw come out of the girls mouth. It will question them on their intentions and why they would hurt defenseless people. If they answer good enough or show regret at their actions, the shadow spirit will allow them to continue to the goblet. Else the spirit and the people in the room will disappear and they will have to return to the entrance that is now open. They will have to deal with the disease as the DM sees fit.
Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist
The goblet of liquid can be drunk by anybody. If drank by the person with the growing disease then he can watch as the disease disappears and he returns to normal. They may offer the drink to those in the cave but they will also find that anybody who drinks from the goblet has a healing touch for the next 2 minutes. Anybody they touch retains the healing power for 1 minute. Once any of the diseased figures in there drinks or is touched, they touch the next one behind them and they spin into a golden mist and disappear into the darkness above. The room will be empty within moments with a sparkling display of golden, lighted mist flying into the darkness.
The dark shadow at some point will tell them that the goblet will work as long as the players seek no personal gain, heal for selfless reasons, and do not allow anybody know they have it unless they decide to turn it over to another person who will fall under the same rules. If at any point they are selfish, sell the healing power, or if somebody catches them using it the goblet will turn into a useless tin cup.
The goblet never empties (you cant just pour it out though, that will empty it and the poured liquid acts as normal water) and they are able to remove it from the tunnels. They will leave the same way they entered.
The plague can then be used as a tool of the DM as they wish.
In association with Johnn Four, and all the fine folks subscribed to his Roleplaying Tips Weekly mailing list at, we bring you our first collaborative Quest.
Room One: Entrance and Guardian - There needs to be a reason why your dungeon hasn’t been plundered or why your adventurers are the ones for the job.
Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge - A trial that cannot be solved by steel alone.
Room Three: Trick or Setback - Build tension through tricks and setbacks and give them a double-dose of gameplay such as more combat or another roleplaying challenge.
Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict - The final combat or conflict of the dungeon.
Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist - The dungeon is complete but what is it about this dungeon that made it different or memorable. What kind of mystery have they discovered, what kind of reward have they won, and what kind of information have they recovered?
Submissions to the quest will each earn an extra 15XP can be inputted on the site as normal or can be emailed to Johnn at roleplayingtips.com.
Prizes for this quest include a D&D Icons Gargantuan Black dragon from Legend Games, MyInfo Personal Reference Software licenses from Milenix Software, DCC #46 Book of Treasure Maps – DCC #$7 Tears of the Genie - #50 Vault of the Iron Overlord from Goodman Games, and 1 on 1 Adventures #5 Vale of the Sepulcher - #6 Shroud of Olindor - #7 Eyes of the Dragon - #8 Blood Brothers - Advanced Adventures #3 Curse of the Witch Head from Expeditious Retreat Press. Winners for these prizes will be chose randomly so every submission has an equal chance of winning. Also, all the quest submissions will be combined and edited with what the folks at Roleplaying Tips come up with and they all will be offered back to the community.
------------ Strolen's Citadel Quest, Five Room Dungeon was an awesome collaborative success. The total amount of quest submissions between Johnn's Roleplaying Tips and the Citadel was a whopping 87 Five Room Dungeons! The winners of this set were chosen randomly so congratulations to all. But here are those that won a gift from the sponsors: Gillian Wiseman Tyler Turner Nik Palmer Daniel Burrage Uri Lifshitz Clayton Blanchard Jean-Christophe Pelletier Jason Kemp Pirate Queen Wulfhere Valadaar Thewizard63. Congratulations to Everybody!!!
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? Responses (7)
I can take a critique and am happy with a 3. :) Don't be scared just because I expect to be catered to because this is my site and I can view what you vote on me and I will check and deduct XP from those that vote low. Really, no worries. Your losing XP won't bother me a bit.
Strolen has nerves because of the infamous Strolenite high threshold of acceptance!
Man, you are in the queue! We would get to you eventually. No need to stress around it. :)
You should really post more often. I can tell by the typos (particularly in the first part of the sub). The submission itself is basically okay with a few nice touches - the moral seems very appropriate. One should still wonder about the source of the cure, but in most settings that shouldn't be a problem.
I would still add a little twist of some kind, or at least the potential for it. No need to invent some overarching dark intent: let's say the cure works as expected, and the PCs miraculously save the whole region - and suddenly, they have become a challenge to local powers. That should provide sufficient fun for a few more games.
There, you get a 3. And if you polish it a bit more, who knows, the vote might be even updated. :)
I like the plague-child, nothing quite like a creepy-dead-girl or almost dead girl to freak out more sensible players. Her rhyme is nice as is the combination lock on the mound door. The rest is okay.
Not bad, guess I would like more info on the 'why' part of all this weirdness.
Nice quick little encounter. A great way to help players illustrate their character's personality. And as with all good "tests", it focuses on morality. (I like how it is an "evil" looking Dark Shadow, Giving Healing and teaching morals.)
I truly enjoyed every part of this. I thought it was atmospheric, moving, well contained, with an appropriate reward. It might have done with a bit of background but in this case I don't feel it was really nessecary unless this 'dungeon' was to be linked to a greater plague theme in the campaign. Players never understand that stuff anyways.
On the note of players not understanding things I could totally see my group instantly forgetting the poem or not even thinking to apply it to the entryway. I don't understand but something happens when you put the 'player' hat on that makes you completely oblivious to nuance and detail.