Last week I whipped together a submission for the (awesome) One Page Dungeon Contest put on by Chatty DM and Chgowiz. You can read the back-story idea for the dungeon within the submission itself. In short, orcs are using some old dwarven ruins and caves beside a waterfall as a base of operations for raiding the countryside. Add the dwarves’ bane – a living spell, some water elementals living in the pool under the waterfall and some Myconids to the mix and an adventuring party will have their hands full.
I have to admit that the entire idea for the dungeon centres upon my water trap. I love it. The thought of possibly washing adventurers down a narrow tunnel, into an underground river and over a cliff face waterfall makes me smile every time.
In hindsight I would have changed some things. I’d start with the name of the submission. Could I have been more unoriginal? Even something like “Alchemy Falls” at least sparks some curiosity. I also think the monster motivations weren’t described enough. Why would Myconids and orcs tolerate each other? Perhaps I could have changed the Myconid area to a stable of sorts where the orcs are breeding creatures of war: wolves, drakes or some other nasties to fight with or ride upon. Of course any DM worth their salt is going to adjust the basic dungeon idea and critters to his own needs so I am probably fretting about nothing.
I really enjoyed creating this dungeon. I love letting my creative juices flow freely from time to time, and I love it when people share their creative ideas even more. The community has over 100 different submissions from over 100 different people with 100 different DMing styles from which we can draw our ideas or just use as provided. It is incredible if you think about it. I tip my hat to the organizers and the contributors.
Ruined Dwarven Artificer Lab and Temple
Years ago a clan of dwarves built an artificer lab beside a waterfall. They cleverly used a waterwheel to power the mechanisms necessary for their experiments. Using the nearby natural caves carved by an underground river as shelter they soon carved a temple into the rock in order to worship their gods complete with a defensive trap and a secret escape route.
They flourished for several years until one of the experiments went awry. A living spell was created which destroyed any dwarves unfortunate enough to be near the lab building. Unable to defeat their creation the dwarves left the area.
Decades have passed since then. Myconids have taken residence in the natural caves and a band of orcs are now using the temple as a base of operations for raiding the nearby countryside.
S – Secret Door
Note: All elevations are listed based on the flat area on the West of the map.
Note: The Water Trap in the temple is described in Area N below.
A. Broken Bridge: Ruined stone bridge now crossed by an old slippery log. Several orc warriors are stationed here to guard the lair.
B. Main Waterfall: Rising 30’ about the base elevation, this waterfall still turns the useless waterwheel.
C. Pool of Water: This pool of water formed when the gorge walls collapsed one year. 20’ below the base elevation, this deep pool is now home to a pair of water elementals.
D. Landslide: This natural dam was formed when the walls of the gorge collapsed several years ago. Water pours over the debris forming rapids. Though very slippery and dangerous it is possible for creatures to use this as a natural causeway to cross the river.
E. Old Lab: This stone building is in severe disrepair. Once bustling with artificers, it is now only home to a dangerous Living Spell. The creature will not leave the building unless it is provoked. Anyone entering is beset upon immediately upon discovery. The side rooms hold several potions and minor magical weapons. Amongst the debris lies the journal outlining the details of the experiment they were performing when the Living Spell was created.
F. Natural Cave Entrances: All the cave openings only 8’ high. They are large enough to allow low-light to penetrate the main portion of the caves.
G. Underground River: This river flows very swiftly from deep within the cliff rocks. It falls abruptly from the gorge wall to the river 45’ below.
H. Stone Bridge: This sturdy stone bridge crosses the underground river. It is obviously of dwarven craftsmanship.
I. Natural Cavern: This natural cavern once housed the dwarven clan. It is now overgrown with moss and mushrooms. It is home to a small group of Myconids who have come to a peaceful arrangement of mutual protection with the nearby orcs. The cavern ceiling is uneven but rises to approximately 15’ in the middle of the area.
J. Ramp to Temple: A nondescript 5’ door opens to this ramp. It rises a total of 20’ along its length. Perceptive creatures can notice the constant trickle of water flowing along the floor from somewhere up ahead.
K. Worship Floor: This semicircular floor is where most of the dwarves gathered to listen to words of their dwarven priest. A set of stairs on either side of the room lead 10’ up to the Worship Stage in front of them. The base of the northern Worship Floor wall is lined with 3’ steel grates. This is part of the water trap outline in M and N.
L. Worship Stage: A pulpit is the main feature of this area. A 5’ foot is located in the wall behind the pulpit. Two wooden ladders leading to areas M and N lean against the East and West walls. An orc warrior stands at the top of each stair in an effort to prevent intrusion.
M. Archer Post 1: A wooden ladder leads 5’ up to this nook. A 3’ wall protects an orc archer hidden behind it. This archer also watches H through a viewing hole in the SW wall of the nook. Behind the wall is one of the two valve controls that trigger the water trap. (See N)
N. Archer Post 2: A wooden ladder leads 5’ up to this nook. A 3’ wall protects an orc archer hidden behind it. Behind the wall is the 2nd of 2 valves which control the water trap. When turned a large reservoir of water deluges the Worship Floor in an effort to wash any intruders down the ramp (J) and into the Underground River (G). If the intruders are unable to catch themselves they will be washed over the falls and into the gorge.
P. Inner Temple Sanctum: Once the holy area of the temple, this torch lit area is now home to the Orc Champion leading the war band. He is accompanied by an Orc Shaman and 2 Orc Berserkers. The Orc Champion possesses Magic Armor and a Magic Great axe. Two secret doors are located in this room. The West one allows escape into the underground river. The North one leads to Area Q. 3 statues of dwarven gods adorn the room.
Q. Secret Room: This room is where the dwarven high priest resided. The orcs have not located this room yet. It still contains many dwarven manuscripts and other magical writings. Hidden in a secret compartment under an old desk is a large sum of gold and a magic Holy Symbol. The high priest was killed by the Living Spell and no one else knew of this cache.
Download the PDF version of the submission. Right click and select save as.