Monday, 21 November 2011

The Empty Treasure Room (by Thomas Baumbach)


The Empty Treasure Room
The first level of Purple Mountain, filled with disguisting vermin and wandering beasties, is an old-school dungeon crawl in the finest sense. Right down to the defeat-the-endboss reward, number 14 on the map: The Treasure Room. How disappointing, then, that, "the exact nature of [the] treasure is not described and left to your design as gamemaster." Oh I get it, we're first level and the rest of the Locus Lord's minions have given us plenty of loot. But still. Here are a couple sample tresure rooms that would fit well at the end of Temple of the Locust Lord without providing your players with too much extra swag. Including treasure in these treasure rooms assumes that the GM will not also add treasure the PCs missed earlier in the dungeon.

Treasure Room #1
This room is littered with broken crates and old, soft hay. Two alcoves in the north and south walls hold a smattering of valuables: goblets, statuettes, brass jewlery, and the like. Against the east wall a crate serves as a makeshift alter, surrounded by bug- and worm-like symbols drawn in violet ink upon the white-stone walls. Atop the crate, arranged in a semi-circle, sits four ornate brooches stylized to look like beetles.

Development: The majority of the treasure gleaned from the cult's victims is stored here. The PCs can search this room throughoughly to find an additional 1d3 x 100 gold in treasure. A player asking specifically about the crates can make a Perception check (DC 12) to notice a faded merchant's mark branded on one broken crate. The same mark is on the underside of each beetle brooch, though an Appraise check (DC 12) is required to notice the mark is not part of the brooch's stylized carapace. A subsequent Knowledge (local) check (DC 13) reveals that the merchant's mark is one of a prominent jewelcrafter in the area, who may offer reward for the return of missing wares.

Treasure Room #2
This room is largely empty except for the alcoves on the north and south walls. The northern alcove holds used candles, and miscellaneous baubles. The southern alcove holds a wooden rack upon which rests a single warhammer. Tempered dark steel emblazoned with eight outward pointing arrows, beside the ornate hammer a pile of lose scrolls sits in disarray.

Development: The baubles in the northern alcove are all that remains of valuables from the cult's victims. The PCs can collect an additional 50gp in treasure. This room's true worth, and Irasked's true treasure, is the warhammer, a weapon of immense power that he once sought to unlock, prior to his complete devotion to the Locust Lord. With a DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) or (history) check, (with a +4 circumstance bonus if the character inspects the scrolls), a PC can discover that this weapon is the infamous Apocalypse Hammer, a weapon of pure chaos.

The Apocalypse Hammer appears in Legendary Weapons. Feel free to substitute a legendary weapon that is more appropriate for one of your players, though the Apocalypse Hammer fits thematically with the cult's goals.

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