Fantasy Fridays #4: Dungeon of the Crystal Golem

About the Map

This was a dungeon I created using several parts in order to provide a dynamic combat experience for the players. They dungeon had a long cave passage the players had to travel through, followed by three riddles which would provide them with 3 orbs to open the door to the boss chamber. The first three parts were rather simple.

The first riddle involved a doorway that would not be open so long as the players looked at it. I used Roll20’s dynamic lighting and a limited field of view in order to move the wall behind them when they weren’t looking. As they feared the wall would crush them, they continued to look at it, until they realized they had walked backwards through the doorway essentially solving the puzzle and revealing the 1st orb.

The central chamber shows the cutout for the three orbs telegraphing what the players need to do. Two paths are presented, we’ll start with the right path:

The second riddle wasn’t much of a riddle but rather a maze with various crushing pillars and traps at several tiles. At the end of the maze they find the orb and after taking it are chased out of the maze by constructs of your choosing. Perhaps stone golems that throw rocks at the players, or maybe just spiders, up to you. Be sure to take advantage of the tight corridors.

The third riddle is a riddle chamber with stones on a pedestal. It was designed to make the players place the stones on their corresponding pedestals based on the riddle but you can really do whatever you want with this room. Overall it was a little underdeveloped.

The boss chamber is the most exciting part of the dungeon and has the most interesting mechanics. After the players place down all three orbs the chamber reveals itself. There are these hexagonal platforms that have three states, lowered, glowing, and raised. As they walk into the chamber and over the first hexagonal platform telegraphs that it is going to raise and crash into the ceiling.

Now the fun begins. You can choose whatever monster you want them to fight in here, I went with a crystal golem. The crystal golem glows and provides dim light throughout the chamber, and everyone rolls initiative. At the start of each round, whatever hexagon the players are standing on will change to the “glowing” state. Then at the start of the round after that, they will be in the “raised” state, dealing 12d10 bludgeoning damage if a player is standing on it (basically a kill shot for most). To spice things up a little even more, the crystal golem would do an AOE attack on any creature with line of sight on its turn. Players who strategically use the rising of the pillars can avoid being targeted by this.

They fight whatever boss you choose until the end, when all the pillars drop, including the pillar blocking the exit from when they entered. For my players I gave them a telekinetic crystal sword in the heart of the golem.

Tips From the Map Maker

This dungeon is designed to teach the players critical things about the boss before approaching it. Activating something by stepping on it, line of sight, and critical thinking are all pillars (pun intended) of this dungeon’s design. What’s most important is that the players learn activating the hexagon by making their first step into the chamber is crucial to teaching them the warning signs and possible consequence if they don’t constantly move within the boss chamber. You can choose to have the pillars stay permanently raised or in my case I had them drop after being raised for one round. Have fun and enjoy.

 

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