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Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave #17: Holding Area

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 to the dungeon here: Area 1.

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

Area 21
Area 16 ==B   17. HOLDING AREA  
 === Area 19
Area 18

17. HOLDING AREA. Here the long east-west tunnel running from Area 16 to Area 19 widens, creating a chamber about 20 feet north-south and 40 feet east-west. This space was once used by the smugglers for storing goods brought up from the sea cave. However, at some point in the years after the ceiling of the tunnel collapsed (see Area 15), this chamber was bricked off from the rest of the tunnel. This brick wall is in the center of the west wall, and blocks exit to Area 16 (unless broken through previously by PCs). 

Extending out from the brick wall is a pair of rails, which terminate about 2/3 of the way into the room. At the end of these rails rests a metal "minecart", four feet wide and high, and six feet long (96 cubic feet capacity). Unlike the one in Area 15, this one is empty, but again the wheels are rusted and will not turn unless oiled.

In the north wall is a wooden door, which stands ajar, and leads to a short passage into Area 21.

To the east, the space again narrows to a tunnel that is 10' wide, which leads to Area 19. 

In the south wall is an opening to a passage heading south, which is blocked by a metal gate, but this can be opened with a simple latching system. Beyond this gate can be seen a tunnel, which heads south to Area 18.

The corners of the room contain wooden crates (with dimensions of 4' x 2' x 2'). There are 24 crates (6 in each corner, stacked in various configurations). Opening them will take 1d6 rounds per crate. Many are empty, as all valuable goods were removed from here long ago, but a few still hold items of low value. When a crate is opened, roll 1d12 for the contents, and then cross that item off the table for future rolls:

1-6. Empty.

7. Nest of Least Aggroaches (10d4). (DX 15, AC 7, HD 1/8, 1 hp, AT 1 bite for 1 point; SD "death stench" when slain). When the crate is opened, these will swarm out and start biting.

8. Conch shells (2d20): most are worth 10 sp, but one is a rare deepwater specimen that will fetch 100 gp from one collector in Portown.

9. Mouldering books (2d20): These outdated nautical books are now worthless, but sealed inside the binding of one is a magic-user scroll with two spells (clairaudience and clairvoyance). If books are inspected closely, make a secret door check to notice.

10. Bottles of Rotgut (2d20): Wax-sealed small bottles of poor-quality moonshine. Drinking one will temporarily boost hit points by 1d4, but the imbiber must save versus poison or be debilitated until sleeping for 10 hours (-1 on all attacks). 

11. Marbles (1d100). Stone marbles of adequate quality, worth one copper piece each.

12. Sneezum in sealed opaque jars (2d20): A tiny pinch of this powder, imported by caravans from the south, is a delicious spice but larger quantities will induce fits of sneezing. If a jar is not opened carefully, the opener must save versus poison or begin violent, uncontrollable sneezing for 1 round, automatically dropping whatever is in their hands, including the jar, which will then require anyone within 10' feet to also save. (The PCs could probably find a way to use this in combat). Each jar is worth 1 gp.

Chronologically on this blog, the previous post installment was Areas 14-16 and the next posted installment will be Area 18.


  1. What do you believe the best Holmes expansion, Sir?

    1. For historic expansions, OD&D is my preference and what I use for convention games. For modern expansions, I can't really answer since I haven't used any of them other than my own Holmes Ref, which mostly draws on OD&D.