Published on

Crawling Sideways

  • avatar
    Nik Vinter

I was thinking of making a dungeon with poetry. It's not this one, but it has poetry inside, somewhere. This area is a living one, it's not just caves, vehina live(d) here. The idea behind this part is that vehina knew how to crawl on walls. The concept of up and down was kinda abstract for them, if not for gravity. Most areas are not easily accessible to the players, there's no reason they should be.

The whole dungeon is based on random encounters, as the table is not yet provided some of the rooms might feel empty and not dangerous.

Area 6 - This zone is still a cave that is slowy turning into a straight passage on the north. Underground roots can be used to climb this area. An old, dying, hawk is chained to the ceiling, it's a poet, it has writer's block. The hawk was used as a court jester and knows hundreds of poems, but the chain that keeps him alive forces him to produce a new piece of art every week. If the group doesn't have a poem to teach him every week, he'll attack as the chain slowly drains his forces.


Area 7 - Once the central plaza this area is now full of dead vehina. They're not dead, just in coma. They will awaken in 6 days. In the middle there's a colorless stone mosaic, it's like braille: the beauty is in the touch. Statues are present both on the ceiling and the walls, they're perpendicular to them, they depict men with one eye. In the middle a small structure with a door, the door is closed and the key to it is in Area 13. It's a loading zone, there's a lift that goes down the shaft and can hold 2 people at a time and crates. There are also 3 crates, each one of them contains

1White swords, they make no sound when they hit something.
2Crawling stones: if left alone they will crawl away. They can be eaten.
3Small whistles (1d10). If used they will emit a sound that can be perceived as red. It gives everyone that hears it infravision for 10 minutes, then the whistle breaks.
4Small dolls made of hardened clay. They're faceless, featureless, they make a screaming sound when smashed
5Iron Amulets (2d6). The user can use it by concentrating to teleport any small object into a pocket dimension inside of the amulet. The amulet can hold one small object at a time.
6Invisible locusts. They jump.

Area 8 - Colorless, long, dusty tapestries hang from the ceiling. High-quality but completely gray, their beauty is not in the pattern but in the small frequencies they resonate while exposed to the air. They're precious and can be sold for 200g each, there are 5 of them. There's also a machine, it can be used to paint in sound every object, this is deadly to any living creature. The machine can't be moved.

Area 9 - A silent, alien, musical intrument stands still in this room, untouched. It's an artwork of strings, metal parts, tubes, beautiful and eerie. If its sound ever resonated again in the dark halls it would mean only one thing: the vehinas are alive as only they know how to operate the complex system of strings. If for whatever reason they find themselves not hostile to the party they would be able to teach someone this fine art.


Area 10 - Living quarters, a hive, a mess. Rooms are everywhere, on the ceiling, on the walls, on the floors, empty, full, unreachable. The whole area is enormous, tall, dark. Small dots tatter the stones in the distance: they're entraces to private quarters. A pillar stands in one of the shafts, it can be used to reach the higher rooms. Players can search as much as they want. After a turn of exploring the room they will notice the exit to Area 11. Roll 1d6 on the table to see what they find. If they're exploring the high ones using the pole add a +5 to the roll.

25x5x10'WetA statue that cries blood
31x1x2'Full of cobwebsA magnetic chess board (320gp)
45x5x5'Slightly movingA book of poems in vehina language
51x10x3'Furniture on the ceilingA turquoise cat
63x3x5'The rocks are burned1d4 rat-moles with (1d20+10)gp
720x10x5'An electrical feelingA mushroom music synthetizer
85x5x20'The walls are magneticA violet bow +1. It smells of underground flowers
92x2x2'Slight music coming from the stones7 red frogs. They know the future but can't talk
1015x3x5'Completely full of furnitureA random level 3 spell
119x2x9'Full of vehina corpsesAn endless rope

Area 11 - The Everything-Everytime Orb is here. It's a mass of black hair, shadows, mist, slowly rotating, levitating, emitting a slight hum in D key. It talks, but in no language. It wants: uranium-mixed blood. If such is provided he allows the group to ask one question about their past, present, or future. It will answer with a location relevant to the question. Players will see that location in their minds. This artefacts emanates an aura of evil.

Area 12 - 4 Hallucinogen-Distorted dogs are eating hallucinogenic plants from the walls. They will attack anyone that enters and can't be calmed down. The continuous consumption of the flowers made the dogs twisting, mutating. They shapeshift in the eyes of everyone that sees them, taking forms unknown (or known), but the change is only visual and every character will see different things. Eating the plants or the dogs will have psychotropic effects.

Area 13 - A bathouse, the hot waters are still present making the area wet and damp. Five pools are in this room, two of which are inside holes in the walls. Whispers come from a machine that generates water like a fountain. The waters have curative properties, they restore 1d4 to everyone that sits there for one hour (random encounters apply). If someone sits inside for more than one hour per day he'll slowly feel his body dissolving, a black liquid will start coming from his skin and if he doesn't go out he'll just dissolve into nothingness.


Area 14 - This is a passage shaft, made for transporting items from Area 15 into the main plaza. The lift is initially in Area 7 but can travel all the way down to the slave chamber. In the middle point of this room there are chains made to keep slaves. 6 rat-mole corpses are chained to them. They have signs of fatigue. Another lift goes from Area 14 down to Area 15 (and it's currently in the latter area). Both lifts cannot be activated from this room as to prevent the slaves from escaping. Ivy covers the walls and it's attracted by everything metallic, it clings to it, it pines. It has already consumed the chains. If the ivy stays too much in contact with anything metal it will deposit its seeds inside. After a week the object will become stronger and consumed by small fibers, those fibers will slowly consume the vital essence of whoever wields the item (A weapon or an armor becomes +2 but will deal 1d4 damage to the user on each hit)

Area 15 - A Warehouse. It contains lots of crates. They're all sealed and opening one requires one turn. Once a thing with a cost is rolled it can be rolled again and the crate contains uranium rocks.

1Rotten food, made of small yellow worms
2A painting, of whoever holds it (300g)
3A disturbing, pornographic statue, 9' tall (2000g)
4Uranium rocks
5An imprisoned song that is heard when the crate is opened
6The Velap-Thener. A mace. It absorbs light and spells up to level 2 (included) (5000g)