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ID: 6449


September 2, 2011, 12:49 pm

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The Door of Heaven


The door that cannot be reached, the wall that cannot be climbed

The Door of Heaven

Many dungeons rely on elaborate traps that have to be reset or reloaded, like poison darts or the giant rolling stone that crushes everyone in it's way. Who poisons and loads all of these darts, or who were the poor slaves forced to roll the giant boulder into place? The Door of Heaven is a passive 'trap' that prevents intruders from penetrating into the heart of a dungeon too quickly, or too easily.

The Door of Heaven is created when a corridor is split into two levels. The lower level effectively dead-ends into a steeply curved ramp. The Door of Heaven is located 12 to 16 feet above the ground level. A kind DM can have the door be a figure of speech and the players need only surmount the ramp and reach the next section of the corridor. A cruel and devious DM would have a proper door 15 feet above the ground that would require some innovation to breach. Someone is asking why is there a ramp? With a curved surface leading away from the doorway/passage, the players are not going to be able to deploy conventional wall breaching tactics. They will have to have a very long ladder if they want to have any sort of secure footing. And if the players have found a way to bring a 20 foot ladder or scaffolding into a dungeon you have failed as a DM. The slope of the ramp would limit the feasibility of creating a human ladder to push a single member up and over the ledge or up to the door.

The idea means of entrance is the best running start possible with associated athletics and jumping ability checks. This should be a difficult physical challenge. Ideally, only the unencumbered thief with a solid dexterity score should be able to pull it off. Of course, the strong fighter, likely divested of weapons and armor should be able to make it as well. Non physical characters should not really be able to run and jump this obstacle. Once the first character is up, ropes can be tied, or a rope ladder can be tossed down and one at a time everyone starts coming up. Sounds like a really sweet time to make a random encounter check.

Alternate Means

MAGIC! A wizard that knows the proper spells could levitate over the ramp, it has no magical powers. Also summoning a creature capable of crawling up vertical surfaces would also do the trick. There is also the avenue of the enchanted rope snaking its way up and tieing off to an iron loop and everyone climbing up.

BRUTE FORCE! Using hammers and iron spikes the wall can be punctured and climbed like a cliff face. It is masonry.

CHEMISTRY! A potion of spider climbing, adhesive gloves, and the like could be used. In a similar mind, boots of leaping, and similar movement aiding magic items would also be beneficial.

Additional Ideas (1)

Additional complications to increase difficulty and/or lethality without too much effort on the builder's part:

  • The floor is covered in Grease (or ice). 
  • The floor is covered in Grease, then set on fire. 
  • The floor is covered in Grease, set on fire, and produces noxious fumes.
  • There is a very strong wind coming from the direction of the door. 
  • A strong magnet makes the climb impossible in armor.
  • The Door of Heaven is an illusion to buy time for the guards. The real door is hidden at the base of the ledge. (Who wants to climb that ledge every day anyways?)
  • A lever at one end of the corridor opens the door, which shuts after a short amount of time. 
  • The walls are covered in a poisonous fungus that should not be touched. 
  • Any archers or foes up the slope get bonuses to attack and damage for having the high ground. 

2011-09-02 01:47 PM » Link: [6449#79205|text]
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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted PoisonAlchemist
September 2, 2011, 13:35

This is a very nice and simple low level complication, with so many ways of it being overcome you don't have to worry too much about whether your players are carrying a grappling hook or not. At higher levels it tends to lose its usefulness when magic-solves-everything kicks in. I think it lacks an added layer of challenge though. I'll post some ideas on the scroll. 

Voted Cheka Man
September 2, 2011, 19:25

This can last for thousands of years.

Voted hylandpad
September 4, 2011, 16:56

Door to heaven...hmm. Was expecting something different, but it's simple, provides a challenge, is well detailed, and can be easily included in any low level dungeon-crawl. I did always wonder what happens after all the traps in a dungeon are set off... it sorta fails to be a dungeon. I suppose this one works forever and ever.

Voted Tundra
September 8, 2011, 6:32
Only voted
Voted LievreOkami
February 16, 2012, 1:40
Only voted
Voted Strolen
September 14, 2012, 12:40
Have never ever come across something that makes so much sense yet have never encountered it. My line of thinking would go more towards a shear cliff face with a ladder or rope above that can easily be lowered by those at the door. But this ramp is a fun idea.

Bonus, make it into tracks with a hollow middle and roll a giant rock down at them that will also block the entrance they came in. ;)
Voted axlerowes
April 2, 2014, 6:27
A door that is hard to get to, could be a show stopper
Voted Mirafin
January 12, 2016, 16:48
Only voted
Voted valadaar
September 8, 2016, 11:38
Good stuff, though a small picture might help to further illustrate it. I'm not sure my mental picture of this is what was intended.

September 8, 2016, 15:31
The Warped Wall from Ninja Warrior, but in a dungeon
September 9, 2016, 8:53
Ah! That helps :)

Voted Mageek
September 15, 2016, 23:33

I've totally done this multiple times! But minus the ramp. The ramp is a great extra touch.

I won't quite clear on the steep ramp. Is it a steep downward ramp or a steep upward ramp? And why is the corridor split into two halves?

From the description I imagine an American Ninja Warrior ramp, but vertically flush with a wall and a door set in it. Is that about right?

As others stated, in practice this stops being effective as soon as the players have magic. Great for low-level parties.

EDIT: I guess I should have read the comments above first. Cool beans

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