Room One: Entrance and Guardian - There needs to be a reason why your dungeon hasnt been plundered or why your adventurers are the ones for the job.

The PCs are in a bar on the edge of the polar regions of your world when they hear the babbling of a man, his skin slightly damaged by the cold, begging for them to help find his only son, who was part of an expedition to uncover the tomb of the Pharaoh Upshi. A thousand years ago when Upshi ruled with a rod of iron, as the texts said, the weather was much warmer and what is now ice-covered tundra that barely rises above zero was a pleasant and powerful land, the centre of an ancient empire. His son went on an expedition with half a dozen others and was due pack days ago. As well as pleading for them to find his son he will hint of the treasures to be found within the tomb.

Assuming the PCs agree to help him find his son then they will face the dangers of the Katorga Wastes, as the icecap is known. The winds are horrible, capable of splitting lips, freezing exposed flesh and making even those well wrapped in furs shudder. They should roll on an encounter table to see if they encounter anything unpleasant.

2-no encounter, they reach their destination safely.
3-the wind grows even colder, harming the PCs (roll a die and take that off each PCs vitality stats)
4-A frozen body, lying dead in the snow near a pile of wood that it clearly set up for a fire. Any money or weapons it may have had in life has been stolen by whoever murdered it. If the PCs bury the body in the snow or set it on top of the wood and cremate it, they will hear a whisper of thanks in their head and will get a good feeling.
If they leave the body where it is, unburied and uncremated, an Ice Ghoul will rise from the body and attack the PCs. If they have magic/ magical weapons then they can slay it, otherwise they must burn the body, which will make the Ghoul hiss, smile and vanish.
5-1 to 6 Polar Bears which depending on the PCs reaction may or may not attack them.
6-A whiteout (if the PCs pitch a tent they should escape harm, otherwise treat as #2 and roll the dice again when the whiteout clears.
7-A Crevasse! If the PCs are roped together, then nothing too serious happens; otherwise one falls in and can suffer anything from a small wound to death (great for getting rid of a PC who is god-modding and annoying everyone else.)
8-A region of geysers resembling the Sorcery Springs Geyser Basin comes into view. The GM should decide if these geysers have any magical properties and how dangerous they are to the PCs. The ground around them will be very unstable.
9- A Polar Horror surges to the attack.
10-A mirage is seen (the GM decides what it is.)
11-A number of Blue Fires take an interest in the PCs
12-An attack by one or more Glacier Fins Run!

Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge - A trial that cannot be solved by steel alone.

The PCs come across a great Step Pyramid embedded in ice, the resting place of Pharaoh Upshi. A grid of stones are set in the door in front of them and if any of the PCs are able to decipher the runes, they will see that they are letters of the alphabet. The right code to make the door raise is UPSHI RISES. They have to reach into holes to press the runes and if they press the wrong button two stones will slide down. If they did it with a weapon or a stick this will not be much of a problem, but if the PC used his or her hand it will be trapped and getting it out should be very hard indeed. The NPC with them may be able to give valuable information about it.

Room Three: Trick or Setback

The PCs find that the expedition has been captured by a band of tomb robbers, which by chance happened to be robbing the tomb at the same time that they entered. (Think two robbers for every PC.) They are well armed and doughty fighters from another kingdom, and have killed three of the expedition and tied up two more whilst they decide if they should ransom them or not. Along the walls are tomb paintings and should one of these be brushed against, one of The Few will arise from it. Should they have the NPC with them, he will be able to speak the language of The Few and maybe be able to convince them that they should aid the PCs, otherwise The Few will lash out at everyone who is not dead or tied up. In the fight in the narrow passage many more of them might will be summoned.

The tomb robbers have a mage and one low-grade (but none the less magical) weapon between them. Whilst the Few can only be harmed by magic or magical weapons, if they can somehow be disarmed then they will be helpless to cause harm and will vanish. If they were on the PCs side then the NPC can persuade them that they are the Pharaohs servants and they will vanish back to the afterlife. The people tied up will tell the PCs once untied that the one they are looking for ran deeper into the tomb to escape the robbers.

Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict

The PCs go through several tunnels and come into the main burial chamber, which is painted in all the colours of the rainbow. Atop a pile of what seem like glittering diamonds is the mummified body of Pharaoh Upshi. A golden crown and a necklace of amber is around his neck, a golden ring is upon his finger, and his bony hands clutch a golden rod and a black spear. The one that the PCs are looking for is gazing in awe at the scene.

PCs being PCs, they are sure to want to loot. If they just take the diamonds nothing will happen. If they should try and take the rod or the staff, or any of the other treasures, then a red glow will appear in the eyes of the mummy and Upshi will rise. The staff will glow briefly and the PCs will find themselves unable to speak, as the staff is in fact The Staff of Silence Fortunately for them, as they will not be able to cast spells, the mummy is jerky and not that good a fighter, and non-magical weapons will hit it (but will only do half the normal damage.) The spear however is The Black Spear and if it does hit a PC in the wrong place it will kill him or her, so the mummy is much more dangerous then it seems and should not be underestimated.

Should they touch the walls during the fight, then one of The Color-Wraiths of Gor-Kashesh will attack the PCs and will only be vulnerable to magical weapons or fire. Should it be killed it will vanish back to its own dimension.

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?

If the NPCs son survived the PCs can feel good about themselves and the father will give them his gratitude and whatever small reward he can afford to give them.

If they took the diamonds they will be very disappointed later, as the diamonds are just chunks of ice that will melt as soon as they are brought into a warm place. The amber necklace has no magical powers other then to keep its wearer warm in the coldest of conditions. The crown is The Crown of the Storm and can control the weather but at a severe cost. The Staff of Silence has three *uses* left in it before it becomes just a staff of gold. When the mummy is killed the PCs will be able to speak again.

The biggest prize is The Black Spear, a weapon that can kill even dragons, a truly mighty weapon.

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? Quest

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?

Read Johnn's Full Article: 5 Room Dungeons for more tips and thoughts on how to write one, an example is the Library of the Ancients.

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

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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