Battle map with numbered items and minis

#18 – The Deadly Treasure Room of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 18 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

Ideally, Room #8 will be the final room the team enters in this dungeon crawl and they’ve had a chance to do some leveling. The treasure room is brutal and will easily kill the unprepared or unlucky.

This is the space that Kazel spent many hours over many years creating to protect the various magical items that the Deadly Omega 6 gathered during their adventuring day. Kazel also stored some of his experiments with potions, scrolls, and items down here that he didn’t want to leave were they might hurt Foreshot.

Room 8 DOES NOT contain Kazel, but does have the means for them to be able to find the hidden pocket lair. If they free Gruber the Mimic, he will tell the what they need and show them where the best spot to enter is.


Berlstrum Belly Dungeon
Map of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Berlstrum Belly Review

Dungeon Walls: Sharp briarstone rock make up the walls and ceiling. The crystals are so sharp that one has to be cautious not to cut themselves on the walls. 1d6 piercing damage if pushed/knocked into the wall or ceiling.

Dungeon Floor: Consists of smooth, black shiny stone. When running on the surface, there’s a chance of falling prone (DEX DC 11) due to the slippery surface. Pushes and slides go twice normal distance.

Illumination: Dark. No natural light available.


Treasure Room #8 

The Treasure Room is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1: The Skeleton mob encounter
  • Part 2: Treasure room trap information (to aid in the Skill Challenge)
  • Part 3: The treasure room trap encounter/skill challenge telling what happens each round when the trap springs
  • Part 4: Information for Part 4 will be on the next post.
    – description of the treasure and their traps and content
    – mixed within these 20 boxes are 3 mimics, one of which is potential ally to the party.
    – Gruber the Mimic is a character unto himself; some backstory and some colorful dialogue

Part 1: Skeleton Mob

Bones! So many bones. A large cavernous space has piles of bones, abandoned shields, and weapons scattered throughout. (The skulls look humanoid.) Along the south wall is a large assortment of chests, barrels, and crates (20 total).

Scattered throughout the room are piles of bones. If any bones are touched, all of the skeletons assemble and attack. There are 10-25 skeletons (adjust for party size and strength) in this room.

  • If any of the treasure is disturbed/touched during the battle, the trap sequence will also be activated.
  • If any of the party get close enough to the 2 hostile mimics, they will attack, unless the flood trap is going

Skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts movieWarrior Skeletons

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 273 for stats.


LOOT

  • Rusty weapons and pieces moldy armor

Part 2: Treasure Room Trap Information

Flood Flusher Trap

If any of the treasure is touched inside this room, even by magical means, it will start the flood trap sequence. If the players manage to discover the trap before setting it off, they will have a much better chance of surviving the trap.

Ability/Combat Challenge

Objective: Either survive the trap, if triggered, or figure out how to defeat the trap and access the treasure

Each successful ability check or hit is 100 XP into a group pool. Fails are -100 from the group pool. Natural 20s count as 200 XP. Natural 1s count as -200 XP. The group pool experience is divided equally among the surviving party members

A player can also choose to pass on their turn or assist another. Either counts as a 0 XP gain/loss. An assist gives the other player a +3 bonus on their next action.

You can NOT use the same ability or attack twice in a row and you can not use the same skill as the person before you.

Note: Clues to give the players are included below. The player does need to say that they are looking at the specific area/thing to receive that relevant clue. If there are no additional details to gather within that DC range or lower, it is a failed check. If they haven’t gained the necessary knowledge yet (ie you can’t dismantle a trap if you haven’t found it yet), use information from a lower DC or give them a useful related hint.

Room details and possible abilities suggestions for the skill challenge by difficulty level

FLOOD: refers to actions/abilities to do while the flood part of the trap is occuring
TREASURE: is information regarding the heavily trapped pile of boxes, chests, and crates full of loot against the far wall
SUMMON MONSTER: Refers to the sequence in the trap that summons a Water Weird
BARRICADE TRAP: Information on the part of the trap that blocks the two exits and traps the water inside the room

DC 10-14

Acrobatics (DEX)
___FLOOD: Move at full speed without falling down when water starts pouring down (only applies when water is ~2 feet or less)
___FLOOD: Balance on top of a treasure chest (dry, above the waterline)

Athletics (STR)
___FLOOD: Toss the end of a rope or chain to a party member through the water

Arcana (INT)
___TREASURE: You find a small glyph of warding on one of the treasure chests
___TREASURE: Casting Detect Magic on the pile of treasure, there is a LOT of magic blips over all of the boxes
___SUMMON MONSTER: The rune on the wall is a magic trigger
___The rune on the ceiling is a magic trigger (Blinding Light spell will activate this spell, triggering the barricade doors)

Dexterity
___FLOOD: Catch the end of a rope or chain tossed to you by a party member

Dungineering (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: A small vertical line on the wall in the passageway into the room is smoother than the surrounding wall

History (INT)
___Kazel was famous for studying and defeating famous dungeon traps during his adventuring days

Investigate (INT)
___
The various chests, barrels, and crates are secured using rusty chains and worn ropes looped onto u-bars in the sharp Briarstone walls
___There are 1d4 ropes and 1d4 chains attached to the wall behind the pile of treasure that do not currently have anything attached to them. Length varies from 5-20 feet.

Perception (WIS):
___FLOOD: The ceiling of the cavern has an unusual undulating pattern, varying from 10 to 11 ft in height.
___SUMMON MONSTER: You spot a symbol carved into the on the Briarstone wall. An impressive feat considering the how easily the briarstone crystals shatter
___FLOOD: You spot a symbol on the ceiling

DC 15-20

Acrobatics
___FLOOD: Move at full speed without falling down when water starts pouring down (only applies when water is around 2 feet or less)
___FLOOD: Balance on top of one of a box of treasure (with water present)

Arcana (INT)
___Casting Detect Magic and studying the walls will reveal several small magical symbols worked into briarstone crystals on the wall. They are not all the same.
___Casting Detect Magic and studying the ceiling 
___TREASURE: Symbol on the treasure chest is a Glyph of Warding that will set off the Blinding Light spell
___TREASURE: Casting Detect Magic on the pile of treasure, the Glyph of Warding (Blinding Light spell) seems to be on all of the boxes

Athletics (STR)
___BARRICADE TRAP: Jam something into the wall to stop the door from sealing from completing its
___FLOOD: When the water is pouring in or out, be an anchor to keep one of your party in place or out of the water

Dungineering (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: You spot scratches on the floor that run from wall to wall in a straight line that suggest stones rubbing together
___TRAP DOOR TO CHUTE: There is a hair-line seam in the floor in the southeast corner

History (INT)
___
Kazel and Foreshot have lived in Berlstrum for over 10 years. Rumor has it that their old adventuring buddies would visit and they would all disappear for days and weeks at time

Perception (WIS)
___TREASURE/MIMICS: Looking at all of the treasures tied to the wall, three of them are secured differently, with large spikes drilled into the backside. They do not look the same.
___SUMMON MONSTER: The same symbol is carved into the Briarstone wall at a 4 foot height in four spots
___FLOOD: The upper wave in the undulating ceiling has 6 inch holes every foot.

History (INT)
___
Kazel once bragged to a bard that with enough time and resources, he could create the most diabolical of traps. He knew how the greedy minds of adventurers works, since he was one himself!

DC 21-25

Arcana (Int)
___FLOOD: The four glyphs carved into the Briarstone wall at a 4 foot height around the entire room will activate when it is immersed in water and summon a monster (Water Weird)
Dispel Magic DC 17
___All of the treasure chests seem to have a Glyph of Warding (Blinding Light)
Glyphs won’t activate until one of the secured treasures is disturbed. Each of the chests/boxes/ crates/barrels has a matching glyph hidden somewhere on its surface. Each glyph will set off the same trap sequence. The trap resets after running full cycle.
Dispel Magic DC 17
___TREASURE/MIMICS: One of the three treasure chests with large spikes drilled into the backside has elaborate, stylish markings. They are a like a child’s copy of the Glyph of Warding and other runes spotted around the room. (Gruber, the Mimic likes to embellish and be creative with his self-decoration.)
___The rune on the ceiling is a magic trigger; a Blinding Light spell will activate this spell, which in turn triggers the barricade doors – Dispel Magic DC 17

Dungineering  (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: There are Barrier Trap in both passageways. There’s no obvious mechanical trigger. It’s most likely activated by magic.
___TRAP DOOR TO CHUTE: The hair-line seam in the floor in the southeast corner is a trap door that will open downward, into a large chute. It would take a very strong force to push the door open.

Disarm Trap / Thieves Tools
___BARRICADE TRAP: Dismantle one of the barricades before it triggers

Perception (WIS)
___TREASURE/MIMICS: Looking at all of the treasures tied to the wall, the two of the three with large spikes drilled into the backside do not have any magical symbols. The third one has markings, but they are more elaborate and stylish looking.

Strength
___SLIDE TRAP: Force open the trap door to the chute

Dungineering  (INT)
___SLIDE TRAP: The trap door will open downwards into a large slide. It would take a lot of pressure to open. Like a room full of
___SLIDE TRAP: Based on our current location, the slide probably spits out into the middle of the Thornbreaker waterfall and into the Forlorn Bay.
___BARRICADE TRAP: The Barricade Trap contacting the floor triggers the mechanical gears to open the flood gates. The widgets and gadgets that work the trap are up in the ceiling above the cavern.

DC 26-30

Arcana (INT)
___The glyphs on the treasure set off chain reactions, started by touching the treasure. Touching treasure sets off Blinding Light, which triggers the Barriers, which starts the water coming in. When the water reaches the glyphs at 4 feet high, a creature is summoned. When the water reaches the ceiling, the trap door in the SE corner opens. Targeting dispel magic on each glyph will keep the sequence from starting.

Strength
___SLIDE TRAP: Keep the trap door to the chute open after forcing it open
___BARRICADE TRAP: Break/move barricades after they are locked in place

DC 31-40

Investigate (INT)
___You know the password sequence to stop the entire trap from going off. You are Kazel. Shouldn’t you be casting a ritual right now?


Part 3: The Encounter

If the trap is set off, the trap sequence is initiated, beginning with the blinding light

GLYPH OF WARDING (BLINDING LIGHT) goes off; A pulse of brilliant light blinds all those within 30 feet; DC 16 CON, save ends.

Immediately following the flash of light, you hear a voice say, “Fuck! Not again!” [Gruber, the Mimic]

ROLL INITIATIVE

Trap goes at the top of each round; note the Mimics mixed in with the treasure won’t attack during the flood trap, but will as soon as it’s over. 

Round 1 – BARRICADE TRAP activates; Smooth obsidian stone slabs shoot upwards from their well camouflaged nooks in the floor, blocking the passageway at either entrance

  • DC 14 Reflex save to avoid being crushed: ATK +10 melee (3d6); if standing on one
  • Jamming the door opposed DC 25 STR check
  • DC 30 STR to break/move barrier once up

Round 2 – FLOODING ROOM TRAP activates; from numerous 6 inch holes hidden in the upper waves of the ceiling, water gushes out, quickly filling the room. The columns of water make visibility and movement difficult. As the water pours down, the already slippery floor becomes almost impossible to navigate;

  • DC 15 Ability Check (DEX/ Acrobatics/ Athletics) to move or fall prone;
  • DC 10 Ability Check (DEX/ Acrobatics/ Athletics) to stand still or fall prone

Round 3 – Water continues pouring in and is 1-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 4 – Water continues pouring in and is 3 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 5 – Water continues pouring in and is 4-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • Water Weird is summoned; a spout of water erupts in the center of the room. [Attacks this round.] NOTE: Water Weird is INVISIBLE when fully immersed
  • Holding breath if under 5 feet tall; disadvantaged with attacks

Water Weird

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 299 for stats.


LOOT

  • none

Round 6 – Water continues pouring in and is 6 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • if under 6-1/2 ft tall; disadvantaged on attacks

Round 7 – Water continues pouring in and is 8 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • Most will have disadvantaged on attacks at this point

Round 8 – Water continues pouring in and is at 9-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 9 – Water reaches the top of the undulating ceiling. It continues pouring in.

Round 10 – Water pressure builds and forces the Trap Door to swing down into the chute below

  • A perception 15 might hear the mechanical gears clicking near the southeast corner.
  • TRAP SLIDE DOOR opens.
    The trap door is located in the southeast corner of the room. The “hinge” side is along the wall and the door goes down into the chute. The door is 20 feet wide at the base and tapers to a rounded triangle pointed towards the room.
  • All the water in the room, along with the anything not tied down gets flushed down the long chute.

Round 11 – Water continues pouring in from the ceiling and rushing out the trap door.

At the end of each party member’s turn, they need to make an Saving Throw to see if they are pushed by the water current down the chute:

  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 20 STRENGTH SAVE On a failed save creature is pulled 20 feet towards the trap door.
  • Holding onto something – DC 15 STRENGTH SAVE A player can grab hold of rope or chain that’s already attached to the wall behind the treasure or create their own anchor. On a failed save creature is pulled 20 feet towards the trap door.
    If they are holding on with one hand, they can only attack with the free hand.
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 20 DEXTERITY
    Securing yourself or helping someone else is an action.
    If securing oneself with a rope or chain, make a DEX ability check to determine if it will hold. Once successfully secured, you no longer need to save and can aid other party members.
  • Mimics (3): If one of the players manages by random chance to stand on or grab hold of one of the mimics in its object form, they will become adhered to the mimic through it’s natural Adhesive trait. (See MM220) The escape DC for the mimic adhesive is 13, which is NOT as strong as the current, but they do gain Advantage on the Holding onto Something save.
    If arms are stuck to the mimic, it will make using the hands to secure a rope or chain difficulty, giving them a Disadvantage on Use Rope. 
  • On a Failed Save, a person is pushed towards/down the chute.
    • The slide shoots out near the bottom of the Berlstrum waterfall (about 50 feet from waterline). It’s a DC 25 STR check to stop sliding mid-chute with the water and random debris rushing past you.
    • Hitting the waterfall and slamming into the turbulent water causes 5d10 bludgeoning damage; Athletics DC 15 for half
    • Once flushed out of the chute and into the bay, swim check
    • [insert your own on-the-fly water adventure here]

Round 12 – Water continues to rush out the trap door, the pull towards the drain increasing each round. Incoming water stops.

  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 22 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 17 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 22 DEX;

Round 13 – Water swirls faster and stronger as it drains.

  • Water drops to 8 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 22 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 17 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 22 DEX; If securing oneself with a rope or chain, make a DEX check to determine if the knot will hold. Once successfully secured, a save is longer need to save and they can aid other party members.

Round 14 – Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 6 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 24 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 19 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 24 DEX

Round 15 – Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 4 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 26 STR save
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 21 STR save
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 26 DEX

Round 16 –– Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 2 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 28 STR save
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 15 STR save
  • Mimics (2): At this point, if any of the party members are on or near one of the 2 hostile mimics, it will attack.
  • (The 3rd Mimic) Gruber the Mimic is not very brave and will try to negotiate his freedom. He is starving, so the temptation to eat a rude adventurer is strong. He is also starving for conversation, as the other 2 mimics don’t really talk. At all. Ever.

Round 17 – Water is completely drained from the room. A Gust of Wind (spell PHB 249) blows through the room, chasing the last of the water out and quick-drying the whole room

  • DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked back 15 feet towards the open trap door

Round 18 – Once water completely drains, the trap door/ramp slams shut, the barriers open, and the entire trap resets … unless someone blocks the trap from resetting.


Part 4: All the Loot

There is a LOT of treasure to be had in this room, some cursed and some not. Up in the next installment are the traps and treasure my players found.

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