Skill Challenge: Temple Treasure

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 9, 2009

A recent earthquake has uncovered a temple from a long-forgotten age. Rogues from a nearby town immediately tried to loot the temple, but were injured or killed by magical traps still active within. The head of the local church believes that if magic preserved the traps, perhaps it also preserved books, tomes, or other magical artifacts. He has been trying to put together a party to explore the temple, but the local folk are too afraid to do it.

Setup

  • The party’s Cleric or Paladin is requested by his order to help his fellow worshiper and recover any books in the temple.
  • The head of the church hires the PCs to recover any books that might be preserved in the temple.
  • The PCs fear that powerful undead may dwell inside the ancient temple. If they don’t act quickly to destroy the evil, it will threaten the welfare of the nearby town.

Complexity

5 PC level +2 (requires 12 successes before 3 failures).

Primary Skills

Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Dungeoneering, History, Perception, Religion, Thievery

  • Each skill can only be used to accomplish 1 success towards the overall skill challenge unless noted otherwise.
  • Skill checks denoted as assist do not count as a success or failure towards the overall skill challenge.

Secondary Skills

Arcana, History, Religion


Part 1

You delve into the ancient temple, looking for the inner sanctum and avoiding traps along the way.

When 4 successes are earned, proceed to Part 2.

Acrobatics (hard DC)

The unstable foundation shifts beneath your feat and rubble rains down upon you.

Success: Avoid any damage.
Failure: Heavy debris falls on you and you loose one healing surge.

Athletics (moderate DC, maximum 2 successes)

Some of the passages have caved in. You must clear the rubble before you can pass.

Success: You clear the passage enough to get through
Failure: You clear the passage enough to get through, but strain yourself in doing so. Lose one healing surge.

Dungeoneering (moderate DC, maximum 2 successes)

You recognize the signs of unstable passages and avoid hazardous routes.

Success: +2 to Athletic checks to clear rubble.

History (hard DC, maximum 2 successes)

The layout seems familiar as you recall details about this style of architecture.

Perception (moderate DC)

You look for hidden doors or passage ways.

Religion (moderate DC)

You recognize some of the symbols that adorn the walls and are able to identify the type of worship practiced here.


Part 2

You arrive at an ornate door. There are images and symbols painted on the wall and the door itself.

The PCs need to disarm the trap in order to gain entrance to the inner sanctum. When the trap is triggered or disarmed, proceed to Part 3.

Arcana (DC moderate, assist)

You notice magical writings on the wall, floor or door. You are confident that a trap is nearby and in working order.

Success: +2 to Perception to discover traps. If you succeed by 5 or more you have found the trap, no Perception check is required and +2 to Thievery to disarm.

Perception (moderate DC)

You discover a dangerous trap that is still active.

Religion (easy DC, assist)

You recognize symbols used by the faithful to identify danger. +2 to Perception to discover traps.

Religion (hard DC +2)

You recall a prayer of safe passage used by the faithful. Reciting it correctly will temporarily disarm the trap.

Success: The trap is successfully disarmed for 5 minutes.
Failure: You think the trap is disarmed, but it’s not. It attacks the first person to pass.

Thievery (20 +1/2 level DC)

You attempt to disarm the magical trap.

Success: The trap is successfully disarmed for 5 minutes.
Failure: You trigger the trap. You loose 2 healing surges, all other party members loose 1 healing surge.


Part 3

As you enter the inner sanctum, the room is magically illuminated. The PCs must find the treasure and exit safely.

Two rounds after the first PC enters the room, a trap activates. At the beginning of every round the PCs are in the inner sanctum, 1 skeleton appears in a random location. The skeleton should be a minion of the same level as the PCs. Each round the PCs can search for treasure, attempt to disarm the summoning trap or fight the monsters. The trap will continue to summon 1 skeleton minion each round. If the PCs are unable to disarm the trap, or if they choose to let it keep summoning skeletons, the skeleton summoned on the 6th round looks the same as the minions, but is actually much more powerful. The skeleton should be a Solo of the PC level +2.

The Trap

Arcana (moderate DC)

You realize that the magical summoning is caused by the presence of the PCs. This kind of trap can usually be suppressed with the correct command word or phrase.

Bluff (hard DC, maximum 2 successes)

After learning that a common word or prayer can suppress the trap, you make something up that you think sounds appropriate.

Success: The trap is suppressed for 1 round.
Failure: The trap is not suppressed and the skeleton appears in a square adjacent to you next round.

Religion (moderate DC)

You realize that the magical summoning is caused by the presence of the PCs. This kind of trap can usually be suppressed with the correct command word or phrase.

Religion (moderate DC +2)

You recite a prayer to suppress the trap.

Success: The trap is suppressed for 1 round.
Failure: The trap is not suppressed and the skeleton appears in a square adjacent to you next round.

Religion (easy DC, assist)

You inform the other PCs of the kind of words or phrases that they should include in their prayer. +2 to Bluff or Religion to suppress the trap.

The Room

History (hard DC, assist)

Your familiarity with the layout of the inner sanctum allows you to provide direction when searching for hidden compartments. +2 to Perception.

Perception (hard DC +2, maximum 2 successes)

You discover a hidden compartment.

Note: There are two different hidden compartments located within the inner sanctum.

Perception (hard DC, maximum 2 successes)

You locate a mechanical trap protecting the hidden compartment.

Religion (moderate DC, assist)

Your familiarity with the layout of the inner sanctum allows you to provide direction when searching for hidden compartments. +2 to Perception.

Religion (hard DC, assist)

You recall a prayer of protection used by the faithful. Reciting it correctly will temporarily make disarming the trap easier. +2 to Thievery.

Thievery (hard DC)

You attempt to disarm the trap protecting the hidden compartment.

Thievery (moderate DC)

You attempt to open the hidden compartment.

Note: If the trap was not found and successfully disarmed, opening the compartment automatically sets it off.


Success

The PCs make it into the inner sanctum of the temple and recover the treasure.

Failure

The PCs make it into the inner sanctum of the temple however, they run in to trouble on the way out. Possibilities include rogues intent on robbing them, a rival cult seeking the treasure or monsters from within.

Looking for instant updates? Subscribe to the Dungeon’s Master feed!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Syrsuro March 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

Although a well done skill challenge, it strikes me as backwards to turn the iconic dungeons and dragons “dungeon-crawl into a lost crypt filled with monsters and traps” into a skill challenge.

That seems to be taking the abstract reductionist approach too far. But I suppose for the right group, it has a place.

Carl

2 Ameron March 9, 2009 at 7:29 am

@Syrsuro
Welcome to Dungeon’s Master. We’re glad you stopped by.

This skill challenges is not meant to be a stand-alone adventure. My hope is that the DM would use this skill challenge as a wrapper around the usual dungeon crawl. So PCs would still fight monsters and plunder the lost catacombs, but this would provide an ongoing skill challenge adding a little bit more flavour to the adventure.

I suppose in retrospect that information should have been included in the Setup section. It’s something I will keep in mind when creating future skill challenges. Thanks for your feedback.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: