This is the blog. Click here to go to the Zenopus Archives website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave #1-2 & Intro

This is the start of The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, a new adventure that I am posting on the blog as I write it. Below are the Background, Location, Area 1 and Area 2. Subsequent posts are limited to a single area. The dungeon can be navigated using the links surrounding each map. Note that the posts in this series are subject to revision as it progresses.

The coda to the Sample Dungeon (aka the Ruined Tower of Zenopus) poses several unanswered questions that are meant to inspire avenues for the new DM to expand the adventure. One of these asks, "Do the pirates have other treasure troves hidden in the sea caves?", referring to the group in Room M. I used this as the basis of Rumor #13 in the d20 Portown Rumors (also included in the Ruined Tower of Zenopus conversion). Below is one sea cave system that can be used for such a sea cave.


BACKGROUND: Years ago, this natural cave system was the preferred route for smuggling goods into Portown, because it leads from the sea all the way into the town proper. This changed on the night of magical destruction of the Tower of Zenopus, an event which shook the land enough to collapse both the cliff face over the entrance to the smugglers' cave and a section of the main passage through the tunnel. This rendered it unsuitable for smuggling, although it is still possible to traverse the system with some difficulty. After the town knocked down the remains of the tower of Zenopus, the smugglers eventually began using the caves there instead.

LOCATION: This sea cave is located at the base of the sea cliff to the west of Portown, to the south of the Zenopus dungeon.


=== Area 2

1. SEA CAVE MOUTH: What remains of the opening is barely visible at the top of a pile of boulders, coated in barnacles and seaweed, that rises from the water line. At low tide, 10 feet of rock is exposed, at mid-tide, 5 feet, and at high tide, the entrance is just below the surface. 

A boat can be rowed alongside the slippery pile without too much difficulty, but climbing up it will require some dexterity, with a slip dropping a character into 5 (low tide) to 10 feet (mid-tide) of choppy seawater. One person at a time can fit through the narrow entrance by scooting sideways while on their belly.

Once inside, there is a less slippery scramble down to the seawater covering the floor of the cave tunnel, which is of similar depth to the water on the outside, depending on the tide.

Area 1 === 2. SEA CAVE TUNNEL
=== Area 3

2. SEA CAVE TUNNEL: The cave tunnel is about 10 feet wide, and runs east-west 200 ft., with the eastern end leading into the water in a grotto (Area 3). The tunnel slopes up about two feet along the length of the tunnel. The water of the tunnel is filled with numerous large (2' long), trapped fish. These will bump into anyone walking through the water of the tunnel in an alarming but harmless manner. 

This adventure continues in Area 3.


  1. Great beginning. I am already scared.

  2. I used a random dungeon generator to expand on the next level down as implied by the exit to the east in room P. I'm curious to see what you do there. :)