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When they locked away Elterok, they had made sure to take all the right precautions. Imprisoning him in the darkest reaches of the underworld, guarded by powerful titans and a whole consortium of creatures under their command, and for thousands of years, all had seemed to have gone according to their plans.
Unbeknownst to them however Elterok had been biding his time, studying the habits of his keepers. It was foolish of them to think that locking him up and robbing him of his powers would be enough. The man hadn’t earned the nickname ‘The Deceiver’ for no reason, now did he?
The first part was simple. Twisting the minds of the mindless who tended to him in order to start building his web. Using them to contact his followers beyond. For Elterok knew that breaking out was only the first part in the grand scheme. He needed to know he had people he could lean on the other side.
Once that moment was upon him he knew that the first die had been cast. A chain reaction that would end with him back where he belonged and watching his keepers squirm was only just the beginning.
In designing this underworld dungeon, I was looking to introduce a range of old-school puzzles that would force the players to explore what I was putting in front of them. Using the elements on the map as part of a visual aid to guide them through. The idea is to drop them in at the front gate and have them come to grips with an enemy that can overpower them easily enough in his current state and that it is up to them to use the tools that are put in front of them to solve the puzzle.
It starts after they drop out of the gate (1), faced with an evil that is currently engaged in a ritual to bind his jail with the world outside (7), trying to avoid attention from him and a turned undead titan that is wandering the main halls (4), in an attempt to redirect the energy flowing through the prison.
Each piece of that puzzle will face them off with unique enemies that were once part of the workings of the prison itself. Like a facility designed to resurrect or summon guardians from beyond (6 + F), a house of arcane research (3 + E), a training grounds (D) and a forge that provides both the fuel and the weaponry for the prison’s protection (8 + A). Redirecting the flow of the lava (B), the fuel, will not only power up certain areas one needs to access but it also takes care of obstacles created by the lava and frees up new pathways (C).
An extensive description of the entire dungeon, which consists out of two levels (this is just part one) will be part of a campaign booklet/adventure I’m currently putting together as part of an extended Patreon goal. Like most of my creations, it is filled to the brim with cultural references. Now it doesn’t really matter to the story if you know any of these references or even figure them out, as it is just a layer underneath that I find amusing to include. In the case of this upcoming booklet, it is all about heavy metal with computer-generated music as the BBEG.