Sunday, April 27, 2014

Encounter Key: Outer Ward Lower Level

The Lower Level of the Outer Ward is occupied by several undead monsters. Its original purpose was to house the stable hands and the smith who took care of the horses in the stable, an outer building which has since been destroyed. In most areas, the floor is ten feet below the ground level and the ceiling height is very cramped for the castle at eight feet. The place is cold and drafty. Most rooms have indentations for torches. Note that Rooms 14 and 15 are not connected to the rest of the level, and are somewhat deeper than the rest of the level.

This level directly connects to the Ground Level of the Outer Ward and to Level 1 of the Upper Dungeons.

The monsters in the main portion of the level consist of undead: mindless skeletons, filthy ghouls, and a ghastly member of the Triskelion family. Other monsters avoid the level, but that could change if the current inhabitants are wiped out.

Some unusual skeletons used in the level are based upon the rules included in the Dungeon Master's Guide, page 41, under Third Level Cleric Spells: Animate Dead. When clerics are attempting to turn or compel the special skeletons in Rooms 5 and 9, I recommend using the following method. These special skeletons should be treated as multiple skeletons based upon their hit dice. In other words, the bugbear skeleton in Room 5 can not be turned unless the cleric rolls a 3 or higher on the 1d12 roll needed to find the number of undead affected.

The separate mini-dungeon in Rooms 14 and 15 is the home of an ogre who was once employed by the Triskelions. He will not be found roaming the remainder of the Lower Level, although he may be encountered as a wandering monster on the Ground Floor.

It is not recommended to have random encounters on this level, as the current denizens are not likely to wander, and residents of other levels avoid the place. Naturally, if the adventurers clear the level, it will become subject to wandering monsters again. The random encounter table for the Ground Level of the Outer Ward may be used in such a circumstance. If the dungeon master wishes, they may include dungeon dressing for this level. You may place dungeon dressing at your whim or roll using a 1d6 once every three to four turns, using dressing from the table below on a roll of 1.

Dungeon Dressing

A blast of icy air
Creaking of the timbers above, as if something is walking above you, then a sudden 'thump'
Dozens of white moths, they are attracted to your mouths and try to fly in
The sound of sobbing in the distance
The sound of dripping water, it appears to be coming from inside the wall, a rush and then it stops
Wood shavings
Empty potion bottle, a green film is still in the bottom but not enough to have any effect
Ash on the floor with skeletal footprints
A dead giant rat sans head, bitten off
Someone has scrawled something on the wall with a dagger. It reads “leave now” or “It's too late for me”.

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