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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave #14-16: Rail Tunnel

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 15 === 14. RAIL TUNNEL
=== Area 16
Area 13

14. RAIL TUNNEL. This is a long tunnel, 10 feet wide and high, that extends a few hundred feet east and west, terminating at Areas 15 and 16 (see above). At the midpoint, it can be entered from the Twisty Tunnels to the south (Area 13).

Running along the center of the tunnel for its full length, is a rusted pair of rails which are 4 feet wide and obviously made for wheeled cart, like a minecart, to be roll on (although there is no cart here right now). The walls and floor show occasional signs of being worked to widen and smooth the passage, and old timbers shore up the ceiling every 20 feet. Every so often an odd bit of timber, rope or metal, or empty rum bottle lies discarded at one side or the other of the tunnel.

=== Area 14

15. THE OTHER END OF THE LINE. Here a mass of collapsed rubble and timbers covers the rails and completely blocks the way further west. (This is the other side of the collapsed material found blocking the tunnel in Area 4). Beginning 20 feet before the blockage, the floor is covered with large chunks of rubble, all of which is slick with moisture from rainwater that has dripped down from cracks in the ceiling, and coated with a slimy pink growth (harmless) fed by the water.

Water-filled Metal Cart. A few feet past the start of the rubble, still resting on the rails, is a sturdy metal "minecart", four feet wide and high, and six feet long (96 cubic feet capacity). Scattered around it, among the slimy rubble, are a number of bones, some human, some from a giant lizard. (At the time of the tunnel collapse, the smugglers were using the lizard to pull a cart back to the sea cave entrance). 

The cart is filled to the brim with murky water that has dripped from above, and the outside of the cart is coated with pink slime (again, harmless). Under the water is some rubble, and beneath one piece is the remains of wooden box. The wood is rotten, but inside is an assortment of gems (10, roll for each on the Gems table in the Holmes Basic rulebook) and jewelry (6 pieces, roll the value for each using the standard in the rulebook; i.e., 3d6 x 100 gp). One of these appears to be simply a silver brooch set with a large diamond, but in actuality is a magical brooch of reverse level drain, which if worn, will turn the tables on an energy-draining undead, allowing the wearer to take one energy level from the undead creature. This will give the wearer one extra HD, lasting for one week. Furthermore, the character can even bestow the energy level to another PC that has lost a level. The brooch will function 5 times before the diamond shatters.

The cart itself remains fully intact, but the wheels are so rusted that they no longer spin freely. However, with sufficient oil (1 quart) they could be restored sufficiently to spin again, allowing it to roll along the rails.

Area 14 === 16. BRICK WALL
B== Area 17
(B = Brick Wall)

16. BRICK WALL. Here the passage and rails end at a sturdy-looking brick wall that extends from floor-to-ceiling, completely blocking further passage to the east. The rails go right into the wall, as if it was built over them. 

Beyond this wall is Area 17, but the only way to get there from here is to make a hole in the wall. Using chunks of rock, a hole large enough for a person to step through could be made in 12 turns,  although this will make a great deal of noise; check for a Random Encounter each turn. There are no hammers here, but if each character that uses one will reduce this time by 2 turns, down to a minimum of 3 turns.

Alternately, if the the metal cart from Area 15 is restored by oiling, such that the cart is able to move freely again, and is pushed swiftly along the rails by at least three characters, it could be used as battering ram to knock a hole in the wall in one round. 

Chronologically on this blog, the previous installment was Area 13 and the next posted installment will be Area 17.

1 comment:

  1. Brick walls are one of my favorite obstacles because they hit a lot of important D&D tactics. In addition to requiring the players to expend time and make noise, they reinforce the need to be properly equipped.

    I also appreciate the false slime ("It's must be deadly.") and the water-filled box. So many paranoid players have missed treasure because they weren't willing to plunge their hands into a box full of murky water. The beauty of this one is that, if my math is correct, the water-filled cart would weigh close to 3 tons, meaning they can't just dump it out. Scooping the water out takes more time and risks more wandering monsters.

    I'm a fan of areas with a lot of interactivity and apparent (but non-existent) threats that require players to use their noggins and exercise caution while burning valuable exploration time.

    I hope you publish this when you're done. A question just occurred to me: Were there any licensing issues for you when you did the 5e conversion of ZT, or was it covered under WotC's open license?