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Friday, May 14, 2021

The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave #9: Waterfall Cavern

This is an installment of a new dungeon adventure set in the Portown milieu, which I'm writing for Holmes Basic D&D. You can find the Introduction here: Area 1.

Each entry includes part of a "pointcrawl" map showing the area & any exits, including links allowing you to navigate the dungeon:

=== Area 11
Area 10

9. WATERFALL CAVERN: The water-filled passage from Area 8 opens into the west end of this natural cavern, also filled with water. The ceiling throughout this cavern is covered with a profusion of dripping stalactites. There is no natural light, but even at the far west end the sound of running water to the east can be heard over the dripping water. 

The source of this noise is a waterfall at the eastern end of the cavern, 100 feet away. The water streams out of a 10' diameter cave mouth and falls about 15 feet to the surface of the water in the cavern. The cavern turns south near the waterfall, leading to another passage to Area 10 (to be described).

Drop-ins. Dwelling amongst the stalactites here is a colony of piercers (1d6+6), which typically feed by dropping on fish in the water, but are not averse to broadening their diet. 

For each round spent in the room, there is a 1 in 12 chance of an attack by one piercer (up to the total number). If so, roll an attack against a random character. On a miss, there is still a 25% (3 in 12) chance that it instead hits and damages the watercraft the character is in.

Piercer: DX 3, AC 3, HD 1-3*, AT 1 drop for 1d6 per HD.

*Roll a d12 for HD: 1-8 = 1 HD, 9-11 = 2 HD, 12 = 3 HD

WaterfallCareful inspection of the area around the waterfall will reveal, on the right hand side, a series of handholds that lead up 15' to a narrow path next to the stream feeding the waterfall. At the base of these handholds, near the water, an metal rod has been driven into the rock, and can be used to tie up a boat.

The handholds are slick with moisture, but any thief can easily make the climb without chance of falling. Other characters will have 75% chance of reaching the top without slipping; if they do they will either fall back down into their watercraft, if it remained directly below, or into the water, which is cold and 15 feet deep.

At the bottom of the water, directly beneath the handholds, stands an upright suit of archaic bronze plate mail +2 (AC 2), holding the skeletal remains of a warrior who long ago fell from above and sunk here. The suit is completely covered in grime but fully intact due to its protective magic and being bronze, and a good cleaning is all that is needed to restore it.

There are two exits from this area, a prominent one to the south and a concealed one to the east, which can be found by following the links on the above map; if there is no link, the area is not yet posted.

Chronologically on this blog, the previous post installment was Area 8 and the next posted installment will be Area 10.


  1. I always love putting hidden treasure in weird places for curious players to find. They almost never do, but it's a fun knowing it's there and it's always a thrill when they *do* stumble across something. I've enjoyed this expansion of the caves, but I'm intrigued by your abstract map. Do you intend to draw (or have you drawn) a traditional map of the dungeon?

    1. Thank you! I do hope to make a traditional map when I've finished the dungeon. The image shown above is a screenshot from my draft map, which is simply an Excel spreadsheet. This allows me to easily change the map as needed while I write up the areas, and I've already taken advantage of this several times to expand the map beyond what I had initially planned.

    2. Nice! I look forward to seeing it someday. You're doing stellar work on this blog. I've been lurking for nearly a year, but I appreciate all your hard work!

    3. Wow, thank you for de-lurking and letting me know!