Saturday, 23 January 2021

The Cherry Crypts: a big ol' dungeon

I made a dungeon! I worked on this a lot over the holidays, and I finally polished it up and finished the key. At 98 rooms this certainly isn't a megadungeon. But it's big enough to fuel multiple sessions of play. There are lots of toys to play with. 

Enchanted gremlins made of cherry pits, trapped devils with whom to deal, treasure to steal, a wizard's corpse to loot, creatures frozen since the ice age to battle, dinosaurs to let loose, factions to fall into, and at least two rooms where it's snowing all the time. 

**EDIT** Some folks asked for a map with a white background. I put in an image below and updated the PDF to include both map versions. 

Cherry Crypts Map

White background map. 

Check out the full PDF (map + key) here and let me know what you think. I was able to run my regular group through this dungeon for four sessions and it was a lot of fun. Check out the play report here

The 'top' level of the dungeon is a set of ancient crypts buried beneath a grove of cherry trees. These crypts were probably built within the past few centuries, by a clan or two of druidic type folks. Lots of herbs and leather, plenty of rotten wooden doors and nature-themed fun. 

More recently, like within the past decade, a wizard made his lair in the crypts. He harvested cherry fruit to make enchanted wine, created little gremlin slaves out of mashed-together cherry pits, experimented on woodland creatures, and dabbled in a little devil summoning. Sometime in the last year, he was killed by his latest experiment: a giant ferret with three heads and dragonfly wings. Ever since, his botched experiment and the cherry pit gremlins have run amok on their own. 

The 'bottom' level of the dungeon is much older. I'm not sure exactly why they're connected, or how aware of the bottom level the druids (or wizard) were, or how far they explored. It was built thousands of years ago by a race of powerful sabretooth-tiger people (aka. the smilodons). It is part tomb, part fortress, and part cryogenic freezing chamber. 

The smilodon have very recently (maybe within the past few days) been awoken from their cryogenic sleep. Also dinosaurs. 

Some Design Notes:

  • All Monster Stats are for my GLOG hack Catacombers, which is basically Electric Bastionland but with GLOG magic classes and gold-for-XP. 
  • I made multiple entrances because I like that flexibility. I would say any of these entrances would make a good starting point for a delve. 
  • I tried to Jaquay this dungeon to a high degree: there are plenty of loops, multiple entrances, two different ways to access the second level, and plenty of connections. 
  • Each level has an encounter table. I'm assuming that you are rolling on this table every 10-20 in-game minutes, so pretty often. The last entry on each table is a wanderer from the other level, just to give some continuity. 
  • I'm hoping to run this thing pretty soon, so I will add more about my thoughts.