This is a solo dungeon crawl for which I used the following tools:
- Sophia Brandt’s Miso game, a minimalist solo RPG available for free on her blog.
- The Dungeon Generator Version 4.1 available for free on the Tabletop Diversions blog (used to generate the physical dungeon during play).
- Rory’s Story Cubes (the basic set and the Voyages set).
- The D30 version of DungeonWords from Risus Monkey.
After drawing up the map during play I decided that I would publish the adventure in two or more parts, so the map below includes some areas that were not explored until later.
To generate dungeon contents I rolled three or more story cubes and used the results that I could easily work with. The two cubes below were included in most of the rolls. The monster cube on the left determined that d4 ghouls were present. On the first roll the skull and crossbones cube on the right determined the presence of d12 skeletons, and on the second roll it determined the presence of d12 skeletons and zombies accompanied by the lich Vorin. I also used one or more DungeonWords to further generate dungeon contents as needed.
The Ghost and Troll inn
In the city of Bromlen three experienced adventurers have met in The Ghost and Troll inn. The adventurers are:
- Arnund Northlander, a warrior who wears a chain hauberk and wields a magical sword that glows in the dark.
- Colnion Daggerhand, a wizard in dark robes who wields a dagger. In combat he can cast a lightning bolt or a spell that makes himself more dextrous. He is an expert mapper of underground places.
- Eshenra Fenlen, an elven woman dressed in leather armour. She wields a short sword and can see in total darkness. She is an expert at picking locks and detecting and disarming traps.
The characters are drinking ale in the common room of the inn when they are approached by a richly-dressed man. He introduces himself as Calnefus Oldstone, a wealthy merchant. He has a proposition for them concerning the exploration of the dreaded underground labyrinth that sprawls beneath the city. The adventurers invite him to sit down at their table and he orders another round of ale for all of them.
Calnefus says that the labyrinth was built by an ancient cabal of necromancers who once ruled in the city. Only one of them survives to this day. He is an undead sorcerer, a lich of great power named Vorin. Over the centuries most of the entrances to the labyrinth have been sealed with stone or brick. But a few secret exits remain here and there. People who disappear from the streets late at night are believed to have been taken by Vorin to be used in his necromantic experiments.
Recently Calnefus bought a fine stone house. In the cellar is a heavy door of oak bound with iron and carved with magical glyphs to ward off evil. One of his servants, a halfling named Adrin, lives in the cellar and has reported hearing dreadful moans and scratching sounds on the other side of the door. Clearly the door is an entrance to Vorin’s labyrinth. Calnefus is worried about what might lurk on the other side of the door and will pay each of the adventurers 50 gold pieces to investigate.
Into the labyrinth
The adventurers agree to this proposal and accompany Calnefus back to his house. They have dinner with him and then go with him down into the cellar where they meet the halfling servant Adrin. Calnefus unlocks the door with a heavy iron key. Arnund opens it to the screech of ancient hinges. Beyond a short passage ends at a flight of stone steps leading down into darkness. Calnefus says that he will lock the door behind them. If they return this way they should knock loudly on the door and give the password, which is “lichslayer”, to Adrin.
The adventurers enter the passage and Calnefus shuts and locks the door behind them. They make their way down the steps, with Eshenra leading and Arnund guarding the rear. The stairway is festooned with cobwebs and ordinary spiders scuttle away at their approach. The steps lead down to a door which gives entry to a square chamber with wooden doors in the north, west and east walls.
1: Ancient library
The chamber apparently once served as a library. Two stone tables covered with dust occupy the centre. Around the walls there are stone shelves piled with the rotting remains of scrolls and tomes. This was a place where the ancient necromancers studied their accursed lore centuries ago when they were the rulers of Bromlen. Some of the texts appear to have been torn to shreds by furious adventurers. Colnion searches the shelves for anything of value.
Option A: Colnion finds nothing of value (d12).
Option B: He finds a book or scroll of value (d6).
Option C: He finds a book or scroll of value, but it is magically cursed in some way (d6).
Colnion finds nothing of value in the chamber. The adventurers leave by the door in the north wall.
Story Cubes: Skull and crossbones, amoeba
2: Skeleton lair
They enter a large square chamber. Clouds of steam fill the northeast corner. But before they can investigate this phenomenon seven skeletons armed with swords and axes advance to attack.
Option A: Arnund destroys two skeletons (d10).
Option B: Arnund destroys one skeleton (d8).
Option C: Arnund doesn’t destroy any skeletons, and is wounded (d6).
I roll two 8s with the d10 and the d8. I decide that he destroys one skeleton.
Arnund’s glowing sword cuts one of the skeletons in half. Colnion fires a lightning bolt at the remaining six skeletons.
Option A: The lightning bolt destroys one skeleton (d20).
Option B: The lightning bolt misses (d6).
The lightning bolt blasts one skeleton into dry bones. Eshenra draws her short sword and attacks.
Option A: She destroys one skeleton (d12).
Option B: She doesn’t destroy any skeletons (d6).
Option C: She doesn’t destroy any skeletons, and is wounded (d4).
Eshenra destroys one skeleton. Arnund attacks the remaining four skeletons. He fails to hit any of them and is wounded.
Colnion fires another lightning bolt.
It is now dangerous for him to use this spell as he as already used it once in the combat.
Option A: The lightning bolt destroys one skeleton (d12).
Option B: The bolt misses (d10).
Option C: The spell backfires and the bolt strikes Colnion (d8).
Unfortunately the spell backfires and the bolt strikes Colnion instead.
Option A: Colnion is stunned (d20).
Option B: Colnion is killed (d8).
Colnion is knocked to the ground and stunned by the bolt. Eshenra attacks the skeletons again and destroys one of them. Arnund attacks the remaining three skeletons.
Because he is wounded his chances of success are reduced.
Option A: He destroys two skeletons (d8).
Option B: He destroys one skeleton (d6).
Option C: He doesn’t destroy any skeletons, and is wounded again (d4).
I roll three 2s. I decided that he destroys one skeleton.
Eshenra attacks the remaining two skeletons and destroys one. Colnion is still stunned. Arnund attacks the remaining skeleton and destroys it.
Steaming slime monster
Arnund is about to tend his wound and Eshenra is going to tend to Colnion when they hear a bubbling, squelching sound. They see a huge expanse of glowing white slime approaching them. Clouds of hot steam billow up from this monster. Arnund and Eshenra try to revive Colnion so that they can flee back to the library.
Option A: Colnion revives and flees with the others (d12).
Option B: Colnion remains unconscious and must be carried from the room (d10).
Colnion comes to his senses and flees with the others, though he is unsteady on his feet and cannot move as quickly.
Option A: Colnion makes it back into the library with the others (d20).
Option B: Colnion is caught by the slime (d12).
Colnion stumbles and the others hear him scream just before the slime covers him. He is killed. Arnund and Eshenra return to the library. The slime is most likely malleable enough the squeeze under the door, but it is absorbed in devouring Colnion.
They have no time to mourn the loss of Colnion. Arnund tends his wound and then they leave the library, taking the door in the west wall.
Story Cubes: Gears
3: Compacting corridor
The door leads to a corridor. Graffiti on the wall reads “turn back or perish.”
Option A: Eshenra detects the trap (d20).
Option B: Eshenra doesn’t detect the trap (d8).
I roll two 5s. I decide that she doesn’t detect the trap, but that they receive some other warning about it and have a chance to escape.
Eshenra finds a helmet on the floor of the corridor. It has been crushed almost flat and fragments of skull fall out of it. She hands it to Arnund and they remember the graffiti that they found earlier. As they turn to flee back down the corridor they hear the sound of huge gears moving behind the walls, which begin to compact rapidly. Eshenra can move more quickly than Arnund and she looks back at him with concern.
Option A: Arnund is able to escape the corridor (d12).
Option B: Arnund is crushed to death (d6).
Eshenra makes it back to the section of the corridor just outside the door from the library, where the walls are not compacting. Looking back she sees Arnund crushed to death by the walls.
Returning to the library she sees that the glowing slime has begun to seep under the door in the north wall. She returns to the door to the cellar, pounds on the wood and shouts “lichslayer.”
Back in the house
Adrin opens the door. Eshenra slips inside and the door is shut and locked again. Eshenra sits down at the halfling’s table and he gives her a tankard of ale before refilling his own tankard and lighting his tobacco pipe. She tells him about what she encountered in the labyrinth and he turns pale when she describes the deaths of Colnion and Arnund. Adrin says that Calnefus has gone to bed. She can sleep in the cellar and tomorrow morning she can report to him. Eshenra lays out her bedroll in a corner far from the door to the labyrinth and gets some sleep.
The next morning she reports to Calnefus, who is very concerned about what she encountered. Eshenra says that she will return to The Ghost and Troll to organise another excursion into the labyrinth, and hopes that she can find and destroy Vorin. Calnefus says that he will not pay any more gold to her or any other adventurers, but they are welcome to use the door in the cellar to enter the labyrinth.