This dungeon is written as an introduction into refereeing a game of Swords & Wizardry. There are examples of many common types of encounters and situations. Each numbered area on the map has a detailed explanation given that will help you with each room and situation. There are helpful hints and “How-tos” to help you referee particular parts of the game.
To play this adventure, have your players (2 to 4 are recommended) create their characters using the Players Quick Start. You should review the descriptions and text of this dungeon while they do so, and then begin play!
To make it easy, the adventure starts at the top of a set of spiral stairs descending into the darkness below (look for the stairs symbol in Room #1). Nearby is a small village where the characters can return to if they need to purchase more equipment or find new adventurers to come with them!
Starting the adventure has been left purposefully vague so you can reuse this adventure or dungeon later on when you start playing the full version of Swords & Wizardry.
If the players want to have a reason for exploring the dungeon, here are some example reasons. This might be a good chance to have the players come up with their own!
- Goblins have been seen skulking on the outskirts of town. Tracks lead to this mysterious staircase, but nobody else wants to go in.
- Several townsfolk have disappeared in the past few days. This staircase was just discovered in the search for the missing.
- Legends tell of a great treasure hidden at the bottom of this mysterious set of stairs, but nobody has ever been brave enough to enter into the darkness within.
1. Entry Room
A double line of columns runs from north to south in this room. There is a massive statue at the southern end of the room, a fat creature with a horned head holding a massive bowl in which fires burn mysteriously without any visible source of fuel. The fire pit can be used to light torches.
Players may wish to listen at doors to see if they hear anything. Each player should roll a d6; if a human character rolls a 1, a dwarf character rolls a 1 or 2, or an elf character rolls a 1 through 4, then look at the key for what’s behind the door and describe what they might hear: for Room #2, perhaps some scuttling and clicking, for Room #14, they’ll hear nothing but silence.
For other rooms, take a look at what is in the room – if you think the monsters inside would be making noise, then let the players know what they might hear. Remember that listening through doors is similar to listening through a wall – noises are muffled and hard to interpret.
2. Spider Room
This room is filled with thick cobwebs. The room is rather tall, with the ceiling 30 feet above the floor. A body lies in the corner, which are the remains of an unlucky goblin drained of its blood and juices. There are small bits of equipment and a skeleton (not an undead skeleton) lying in the middle of the room. A Giant Spider lurks above, waiting for victims to enter the room and investigate. A Giant Spider surprises the characters on a roll of 1 to 5, instead of 1 to 2. The Giant Spider is never surprised, although you can let the players roll anyway. The Giant Spider has an Ascending Armor Class of 11. It has a Hit Dice of 1+1 and has hit points of 7. It attacks by biting, which causes 1 hit point of damage, but also has poison. Characters must make a Saving Throw (give them a +2 bonus since the poison is weak) or they die.
When the Giant Spider hits, there’s the possibility that its poison bite may affect a character! The player should roll a d20 Saving Throw. You add 2 to the value shown on the dice (since the poison is weak) and compare the total to their saving throw value (given during character generation):
Fighter (1) 16
Magic User (2) 15
(1) Use this value for Dwarfs and for Elves when they are playing as Fighters.
(2) Use this value for Elves who are playing as Magic Users.
If the player rolls under the needed roll, they’ve missed their saving throw and unfortunately die from the poison.
Checking around on the floor may reveal some sort of treasure (from past victims, most likely). Roll 1d6: 1–3 = no treasure; 4–5 = 1d10 gp (roll a ten-sided dice to see how many coins there are); 6 = 3d6 gp (roll 3 six-sided dice to see how many coins there are.)
3. Empty room
The only thing in the room is a broken helmet (useless and worthless). The ceiling of the room is damp, and drips.
4. Empty room
The ceiling in this room has a large crack in it, and many roots dangle down through it into the room.
Note that there’s a secret door in the south wall. Roll 1d6 for each character to notice the door if they are searching the room and/or inspecting the walls; Elves and Humans have a 1 in 6 chance, and Dwarves have a 2 in 6 chance to notice.
5. Goblin Room
8 goblins make their lair here, with dirty bedrolls, a small fire and a couple of sacks of moldy food. They have treasure of 200gp in gold coins total amongst them.
Most often, players expect treasure to be in the form of coins, but sometimes, treasure may be the weapons that the monsters have, the jewelry the monsters are wearing or the items they have hidden away. You may decide that these goblins don’t have 200 gold coins, but rather 100 gold coins, and two of them carry 2 beautiful gems worth 50 gold pieces each. Don’t be afraid to mix things up and make it interesting for the players!
The goblins have an AAC of 12. Their HD are 1d6 (< 1HD). Their hit points are: 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6. Goblins do 1d6 damage if their attacks are successful. They fight with their short swords.
You may choose to play goblins as cowardly beings. If a few goblins die, you might decide that the rest flee the party. The party may give chase or they may let the goblins go. This gives you a perfect opportunity to have something happen that isn’t already written up – perhaps the goblins move their lair to an empty room? Maybe they’ll follow the characters and ambush them? Maybe they’ll run to their goblin friends in Room #9 and tell them that a nasty group of adventurers are in the dungeon – which may mean the goblins are on the lookout for the characters!
6. Stairs Down
This room is empty, but the wind drafts between levels create a strange whistling noise. There is a secret door in the west wall. See the note in Room 4 about how to deal with secret doors.
What happens if the players want to go down the stairs?
You have a couple of options available to you. One, you can quickly sketch out a random dungeon based on ideas that you see here and play by the seat of your pants. Two, you could put up some door or obstruction that the characters can’t get through until they’ve found a way through by exploring the first level (like a key). This gives you time to find another dungeon level or draw/fill one out.
7. Pit Trap
A section of the floor gives way, plummeting the unlucky down ten feet into a wet, rocky pit.
Each character passing over or through the trigger for a trap has a 2 in 6 chance to spring the trap. You would roll 1d6 for each person passing over the trap and if you got a 1 or 2, the trap activates! If the players are using things like poles or spears to poke ahead of them, roll to see if the poking springs the trap first before rolling for the person. Sometimes, an obvious trap can be seen and avoided – that’s up to you if that makes sense!
If a person falls ten feet, they suffer 1d6 damage. This is a good time to suggest that players seek for traps to avoid dying!
8. Mushroom room
This room has a deep, earthy smell with a muddy, dirt floor. Moisture drips from the severely cracked ceiling. The nature of the room has allowed a wild variety of strange mushrooms to grow. If players choose to eat mushrooms, roll a d8 to determine the effects:
- Paralysis for 1 hour (character can avoid by making a successful saving throw)
- Sleep for 1 hour (character can avoid by making a successful saving throw)
- Confused for 1 hour (character can avoid by making a successful saving throw)
- Heals 1d4 damage
- Poisons for 1d4 damage (character can avoid by making a successful saving throw)
- Ill/unable to fight for 1 hour (character can avoid by making a successful saving throw)
- Physical Change: something random and funny, but not life-threatening changes on the character, like hair color, warts or something else, for 1 day.
9. More Goblins
This small room is empty and has an intact floor and ceiling. However, 4 goblins and a goblin shaman cower in here, afraid of the statues in Room #10. They want to pass through it to explore beyond. There are secret doors in the south wall and in the corridor just NW between this room and Room #12. See the note in Room 4 about secret doors.
The goblins have an AAC of 12. Their HD are 1d6 (< 1HD). Their hit points are: regular goblins: 2, 3, 5, 5; the goblin shaman has 5 hp. Goblins do 1d6 damage if their attacks are successful. These goblins are also carrying short swords. The shaman has the ability to cast two spells: Charm Person and Magic Missile.
It is doubtful that these goblins want to automatically fight, unless the goblins from Room #5 have fled here. That is your decision as a GM and how you want to play this adventure. If the goblins are cowardly and already afraid of the statues, they may want to hire the adventurers to check out the room. If they are tricky and mean, they may try to fool the adventurers into thinking they’ll help the characters in the “scary statue” room, but instead, they’ll rob them first chance they get. This is where you get to improvise a bit and make up something that makes sense to you.
Monsters casting spells…
Monsters can cast spells too, and those that do should be played as intelligently as makes sense. If you are playing goblins as cowards, perhaps the goblin shaman attempts to charm the strongest character. If the goblins are sneaky, they may want to charm or kill the person with the most treasure. In either case, remember that monsters must obey the same rules for casting spells as players – declaring that they are casting a spell in the round they wish to, and if they are attacked successfully, that spell no longer works. They also can’t cast that spell again.
The shaman charms a character…
If the goblin successfully charms a person, then that person’s character “likes” the goblin shaman and wants to be helpful – the shaman is the character’s best friend! Don’t abuse this spell to where the players have a horrible time, or the character would kill himself or someone else in the party but also let the players experience the fact that their character now is ensorcelled. Generally, the charm person spell lasts until the spell caster is dead or a few days have passed (perform another saving throw.)
A reasonable approach, in this case, is that the goblin shaman uses the charm to keep the characters from attacking them, and get the characters to investigate Room #10.
The goblin shaman has a small pouch filled with a gooey substance that heals 1d3 hp of wounds – there is enough goo for 3 applications. Between all the goblins, they have 60gp.
There is a statue in each “niche” of this large room, for a total of 6 statues. The statues are of various humans in armor or fancy clothing. These statues have glowing eyes that move and watch as creatures and adventurers move through the room.
These statues love to talk. As the Game Referee, you get to improvise on what they’ll say and when they’ll speak. Perhaps they’re sarcastic and witty. Perhaps they’re mysterious. If the characters are kind to them, you could have the statues give them hints as to what lies elsewhere. You can just as easily make them into tricksters.
If the characters attempt to remove the glowing eyes, the eyes flash and cause 1d6 electrical damage. The eyes are nothing more than colored glass. The statues most likely have something to say about that!
One statue has a secret panel with 6 gems worth 50gp each inside. The door from Room #10 to Room #11 is accessible behind one of the statues, but only one person can get through at a time.
11. Giant Rats nest
This room is filled with noisome trash and debris piled into the corners. There are a myriad of small (roughly dog/cat sized) holes in the walls and the door leading to Room #12 is clawed and chewed in many spots, barely hanging on its hinges.
The room contains 8 Giant Rats. These rats have come from the dungeon to eat what was formerly contained in Room #12, and have made their lair here. They’ve picked up bits of debris throughout the dungeon and left it in their nests.
The rats are cautious at first and flee any who enter, but as soon as the party nears the door to Room #12, they attack to protect their food supply.
The Giant Rats have an AAC of 12 and a HD of 1/2. Their hit points are: 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3. Rats bite for 1d3 of damage and can cause disease with their bite 5% of the time.
You may wonder how you could roll a 1d3. Unless you happen to have dice with 3 sides, the easiest way is to roll a d6 and divide the result by 2, rounding up (1-2 would be 1, 3-4 would be 2 and 5-6 would be 3).
Rats and disease…
Giant rats can cause disease 5% of the time they bite someone. The easiest way to determine this is to roll a d20. If you roll a 1, the victim is diseased.
The nature of the disease is up to you, but here are some suggestions (use one or a combination that suits you):
- Victim is sick for 1d6 hours; all dice rolls have a penalty of 1.
- Victim is sick for 1d6 hours and can move at half speed and attack only every other round.
- Victim doesn’t notice any unusual symptoms, but you describe how they begin to feel sick the further they play – by the end of 1d4 days, they are unable to do anything and in 1d6 days, they die (Use a saving throw for this possibility)
Something to think about
If you want to make this room more challenging, have one or two rats show up every so often during the combat – to generate hit points for the new rats, roll a d4 for each new rat. Alternatively, you could refill the room with rats after the characters leave; forcing them to refight their way through when they return to the room.
12. Barrels and Crates
This room has the appearance of a storage room that was hit by a tornado. Crates and barrels lie smashed, clawed and scattered throughout the room. The smell of rotted food and rat dung is overpowering.
13. Marcus’s End
A small room with a thick door that is difficult to open. Each person attempting to open it must roll a 1 or 2 on a 1d6.
Inside is a man who is really a wererat. His name is Marcus and he is trying to resist his nature as a wererat, but he is not doing well with that. Every so often, he changes and joins with the giant rats in Room #11.
At first, Marcus is pleasant to the characters, more concerned if they are going to rob or kill him. However, the longer the characters stay with Marcus, or if they are unfriendly, he snaps from the pressure and begin to change into wererat form and attack.
As a wererat, Marcus’s AAC is 13. His Hit Dice are 3 and his hit points are 10. He attacks two times a round, a bite and a claw. The bite causes 1d3 damage and the claw does 1d6 damage. If a character hits Marcus with a silver weapon, the attack does double damage to Marcus when he is in wererat form.
Marcus can summon Giant Rats from Room #11 (even if the characters already killed all of the rats) when in wererat form by spending a combat round squeaking instead of attacking. This summons 1d6 rats from the room. It’s up to you as the Game Master to decide if and when he’ll do this – the characters may have their hands full with just the wererat alone! Perhaps Marcus does so when he drops below 5 hit points? For the summoned Giant Rats, use the stats from Room #11.
Attacking as a wererat
Marcus may not have many hit points, but his two attacks per round, plus the possibility of causing lycanthropy make him a fearsome foe for 1st level characters.
Each attack is rolled individually, so he gets to roll twice to hit. You need to note which attack is being done, so you know which damage to roll if he hits.
If a person loses more than half of the hits points they started with when entering combat with Marcus, they contract the disease of lycanthropy. Example: Wulfgard normally has 6hp but he enters the fight with Marcus with 5hp. Marcus bites him for 3 points of damage. Ouch! Now Wulfgard has lycanthropy.
There are no hard and fast rules for how lycanthropy works. For games involving this Quick Start, here are a couple of suggested options:
- The character runs the risk of turning into a wererat (and becoming a monster instead of a character) in each combat situation after they become infected. Roll a d20: if you roll a 1 or 2, they turn and are considered “dead”.
- The character is sickened with the effects, and suffers penalties to any rolls. They are unable to attack any Giant Rats.
Marcus has a small sack stashed away in the corner of his room that contains a small golden statuette of a strange god – this is worth 150gp. It also has 80 gp in coins.
This room is empty. As soon as someone passes through the archway in the corridor between Rooms #14 and #15, the portcullis in the east wall opening slams down. It is a thick, heavy gate that requires a combined strength of 40 to attempt to lift.
Lifting the Portcullis…
Two or three characters with combined strength of 40 (add their Strength attribute scores together) are required to attempt to lift the portcullis – no more than 3 people can fit into the 10 foot area in front of it. If they are strong enough, roll a d6 dice. If you roll a 1 or 2, they succeed!
Instead of telling the players the mechanics involved, make it into a puzzle for them. If the lifters don’t have the required strength, perhaps describe how it appears that it takes “very strong adventurers” to lift it and how the “gate doesn’t budge”.
If they have the required strength, but they don’t make the roll, you can describe how the gate starts to move, but doesn’t lift very much.
The point is to give the players clues so they solve the puzzle based on what they do, not on them knowing the exact numbers and the rolls needed.
Something to Think About…
If you want to make this room extra challenging, you could have the skeletons from Room #15 attack the characters while they are trying to lift the gate. That can present some interesting options and challenges for them, especially if they haven’t explored any other part of the dungeon and don’t know the other routes back to the exit.
This room is empty, save for 6 skeleton guardians in various spots around the room or along the wall. The skeleton guardians are all armed with swords and shields with a green circle standard.
These skeletons have an Ascending Armor Class of 12. Their Hit Dice is 1 and their hit points are: 2,3,4,6,6,6. They attack with swords that cause 1d6 damage. A cleric of any faith or alignment can attempt to turn these skeletons.
Something to Think About…
Sometimes, Swords & Wizardry is played where the skeletons’ bony structure is easier to destroy with “blunt” weapons like maces and clubs, instead of stabbing spears, swords and arrows. If you like this idea, you can cut the damage that edged weapons cause in half, and describe to the players how the swords and spears seem to get caught and slide around in the bones, where the clubs and maces are smashing the bones to bits.
16. Gate Winch
This room is also empty, except for a wooden winch in the wall in the SE niche. It lifts the portcullis in Room #14. You can describe that the characters hear a grinding, rattling sound in the walls if they turn the winch. The door leading from Room #16 to Room #17 is locked and needs to be broken down or opened by picking the lock. If players try to bash the door down, they have a 2 in 6 chance each attempt of smashing it open (1 or 2 on a d6 means success).
17. The Mistress’s Hideout
This is a tough room/encounter. There are many dangers in this room, so you might find that many different things can happen.
The area behind the doorway is trapped with a 10’ pit trap filled with sleeping gas. If the characters bash the door down, the pit is not “armed”. If the characters pick the lock or somehow open the door so that it swings open, the trap is armed. There is a 2 in 6 chance (roll 1 or 2 on a d6) that the trap opens for each person stepping on it.
The room is a central area for a powerful cleric who worships the Frog God. There are 2 goblins here with her, and she has a contingent of 4 skeleton guardians on watch.
The room has furnishings for the cleric to live and worship here. There are beds and chests along the west wall, a “throne” on the north wall and an altar to the Frog God on the south wall.
The goblins have an Ascending Armor Class of 12. Their HD are 1d6 (< 1HD). Their hit points are: 3,5. Goblins do 1d6 damage if their attacks are successful. They fight with their short swords.
The skeleton guardians are all armed with swords and shields with a green circle standard. These skeletons have an AAC of 12. Their Hit Dice is 1 and their hit points are: 1,3,4,6. They attack with swords that cause 1d6 damage. A cleric of any faith or alignment can attempt to turn these skeletons.
The cleric is wearing chainmail armor, so she has an Ascending Armor Class of 14. She is also a powerful cleric at 3rd level, so she can cast spells! Her Hit Dice are 3 and her hit points are 14. She knows the spells Cause Light Wounds and Darkness. She is armed with a light mace which does 1d4+1 damage (roll a d4 and add 1 to the result.). She also carries a potion of cure light wounds, as well as keys to the locked doors of Room #17 and #18.
The Cause Light Wounds spell allows a cleric to touch a person and cause them 1d6+1 damage. The Darkness spell creates a circular area 120 feet in diameter that is completely pitch black. Torches, candles, even an elf’s darkvision doesn’t penetrate this area.
How does the cleric fight?
It might seem intimidating with this powerful cleric who has quite a few options. You can play her as very confident and smart, getting her skeletons (and perhaps the goblins) to attack the stronger characters first, saving her spells only when the battle seems to go against her. You can play her as crazy and evil, charging into battle and raining death and destruction among all.
If the cleric uses her Cause Light Wounds spell, you have a choice of making the touch automatic (her target has to be right next to her) or she has to successfully roll a “to hit” to touch. If you make the touch automatic, you might want to give the target a chance to roll a saving throw to avoid the damage.
She might use the Darkness spell to retreat with, or immediately to surprise the characters and give her an advantage to set up an ambush.
Finally, the cleric has a potion of Cure Light Wounds which heals 1d6 hit points when consumed. Don’t forget that she might choose to use that potion and attempt to get away through the secret door if the battle goes poorly for her. Most villains want to live to scheme another day!
The goblins have 10 gold pieces between them. One of the skeletons has a fine shield which is actually worth 100gp due to the fine craftsmanship. The cleric has several bits of treasure stashed in two chests:
Chest 1 – 3 gems worth 75gp each; a gold candelabrum worth 100gp.
Chest 2 – A silver ceremonial dagger (can be used as a weapon against the wererat in Room #13); a priest’s silk vestments inlaid with gold worth 50gp.
Several rich tapestries hang on the wall, covering the secret door in the east wall. They depict foul sacrifices and evil acts of the Frog God. Each tapestry is extremely heavy, and worth 100gp. One person can carry only one tapestry and they can’t hold anything else in their hand at the same time.
Something to think about
Why are the cleric and the goblins in the same room? Perhaps the goblins are working for the cleric and exploring the dungeon for her. Perhaps the goblins stumbled upon the skeleton guardians, then surrendered and are now pleading for their lives. Perhaps the goblins are negotiating with the cleric so they can explore other areas. You can make this situation and this encounter fit what you think would be a neat scenario.
The door to this room is locked. It can be opened by a key from the cleric in Room #17 or the characters can try and break the door down. (2 in 6 chance – roll a d6 and a 1 or 2 indicates success) This room has manacles and chains bolted to the floor, several skeletal remains of previous prisoners and 4 weak adventurers (all human fighters) who were imprisoned by the cleric. They have no equipment on them and have been locked up for weeks with very little to eat or drink. They are most grateful for the party to free them. If given some equipment (perhaps the shields and swords from previous vanquished monsters?) they agree to accompany the characters.
If the fighters do agree to come with the party, their AAC is 10 (unless given shields or armor from other monsters – then use the charts in the Players Section to determine their armor class). Each fighter has 4 hp. They do damage based on the weapons they are given – if they have no weapons, they can punch for 1d2 points of damage. (Roll a d4 and divide it in half)
Hirelings and friends
The players might be finding some of the combats tough and they may have already had a character or two die. Sometimes, characters need to bring along friends or hirelings (think mercenaries or guards) to help them with battles or exploring the dungeon.
This group of prisoners, if treated kindly, is happy to help the characters and become hirelings for free – in exchange for their freedom from the cleric!
Just because they have agreed to be extras doesn’t mean that the players can use them as cannon fodder in a non-caring way. If treated badly, or if they are too frightened, hirelings can break morale and run away, just like monsters may run away. Sending the hirelings into an obviously bad situation may lead to some interesting role playing as the hirelings may refuse, or ask for larger payments!
19. The Fountain
The door to this room is magically locked. There is a face on the door with an open mouth whose lower lip is a small cup. If a character pours some liquid into the cup, the door unlocks. They cannot open the door by any other means, including kicking/hacking it open. The door resists all efforts.
Inside is an extremely beautiful room with marble floor, walls and ceiling. The room is lit by a soft blue glow coming from the fountain.
The fountain itself is a series of floating balls that spout water into a small 5 foot wide and 3 foot deep pool. These balls rotate in a circle about 5 feet above the pool. They do not touch each other or anything else. They cannot be moved from their position above the pool, although characters can touch them without any trouble.
The power of the pool itself depends on the person who drinks the water. The pool’s effects apply once to each character in the party, and thereafter, the water is just plain water to that person. If the characters take some water from the pool, it loses its magical abilities.
For each person drinking, roll a 1d6 and consult the table below, based on the character’s class. Dwarf characters use the Fighter table. Elves use either the Fighter table or Magic User table, depending on which class they’ve chosen to adventure as.
- Is able to touch another character and heal them for 1d6 hit points, up to their max hit points.
- Radiates light (bright enough to light up for 120’ radius) for the rest of the day. Gains +2 to their roll for turning undead.
- Healed for 1d6 hit points, up to their max hit points.
- Poisoned for 1d3 (roll a 1d6 and divide in half)
- Loses a bit of faith and suffers a -2 penalty for their roll for turning undead.
- Becomes “tainted” for 1d6 turns and attracts attacks from all monsters – monsters prefer to attack the cleric above all others.
- Gains 1d3 points of strength (not above 18), with any bonuses applicable, for the rest of the day
- Skin becomes tough and Armor Class is increased by 1 for the rest of the day
- Healed for 1d6 hit points, up to their max hit points.
- Poisoned for d3 (roll a d6 and divide in half)
- Becomes sick and is unable to fight for an hour
- Becomes afraid of any monsters for 1d6 turns – the fighter attempts to run away in the opposite direction of the monster(s) and does not attack.
- Gains an extra random spell (choose by rolling a 1d10 and consulting the list of spells in the Players Section.)
- Regains any spells previously cast during the day. If spell has not been cast, mage can cast it twice.
- Healed for 1d6 hit points, up to their max hit points.
- Poisoned for 1d3 (roll a 1d6 and divide in half)
- Forgets their memorized spell for an hour (6 turns)
- Is transformed into some random animal for 1d6 turns (Game Referee gets to choose the animal). The character retains hit points and Armor Class for duration of spell, but cannot cast spells
20. Windy Room
This is an empty room, except for a large mound of treasure on floor against the wall opposite the door.
Upon entering this room, all torches are blown out, and all lanterns are mysterious darkened, in the 10’ square immediately in front of the door (either when entering or exiting.) The door attempts to shut on its own. When the door is shut, a fierce wind forces all the characters away from the treasure and push them against either the east or west wall. The wind seems to emanate from the treasure.
The wind affects characters in different ways based on their Strength:
Under 9 – Characters knocked off their feet. They are unable to stand
9 to 12 – Characters are knocked off their feet. They can make a Strength check to see if they can make it to their feet, then make another Strength check to move. If they fail any Strength check, they get knocked to the floor again.
Above 12 – Characters can resist the wind, but must make a Strength check to be able to move.
Making Ability Checks
For some actions where there’s a chance of failure, you can use ability checks to see if the character succeeds. An ability check involves the player rolling a 1d20 – if the roll is lower or equal to the attribute value being checked, the check is a success.
In the case of the Windy Room, trying to move against the wind requires brute strength, so players must roll less than or equal to their Strength attribute to be able to stand and move.
Other ability checks may apply in other situations – if someone is trying to climb a steep, difficult surface, you might use a Dexterity check.
Don’t substitute ability checks for role-playing! If someone is trying to talk a monster into surrendering, don’t just make a Charisma check – have the player really speak the words or give the gist of what they’re trying to say. Save ability checks for those situations where role-playing and/or player/GM discussion won’t necessarily resolve the situation (like fighting the wind in the Windy Room) or situations where success/failure is a very random outcome.
If any character makes it to the mound of treasure, the mound disappears, leaving only a chest. Within the small wooden chest is 64 gp, six thin silver bracelets (50 gp each), 10 silver-tipped arrows (1 gp each), a silver dagger (20 gp), a sack with Wolvesbane (repels anyone with lycanthropy, including characters!), and an ornate signet ring of silver depicting a wolf (100 gp).
As soon as anyone in the party walks on one of the spaces marked 1 or 2, the whole party is teleported to the other space (1 transports to 2, 2 transports to 1). The party does not notice that they’ve been teleported – continue to describe what they see in front of them as if they’ve been moving in the same direction. If the characters keep moving forward, they are not teleported again until they leave the room and return to it. This does mean that the characters could keep going back and forth if they return to this room many times!
Astute players may notice the difference, especially if you describe directions in “North, South, East, And West” fashion, but if you use “Left, Right, In Front, Behind” directions, it is very confusing at first.
Example of play for Room #21
Assume the characters are coming from Room #20 and are facing west from the door to #20.
GM: “You see that the corridor goes about 20 feet and then turns to the right.”
Player: “OK, we’ll go down the corridor and look around the corner.”
GM: “You get to the corner, look to the right, and see that the corridor goes straight another 20 feet and dead ends. There is a side corridor to the left about 10 feet down.”
Player: “We’ll go the left corridor and look, making sure to use our 10 foot pole to check for traps.” (Smart players!)
GM: (Noting that the characters have now teleported from 1 to 2, continues to describe what the characters see…) “You see that about 20 feet straight down that corridor is a 4 way intersection. Straight forward, the corridor continues out of the range of light from your torch.”
Player: “We’ll continue down, testing for traps…”
(Play continues with the characters actually heading BACK to Room #20.)
(Note that this would play differently if you describe things in terms of compass directions. You might choose to change how you describe things, but players may notice the difference. You could just continue to describe in compass directions, leaving the players slightly confused as to why directions have now changed…)
22. Ant Room
This small room is the home of a nest of giant ants, and the stone floor is broken up and uneven from their burrowing. At any given time there are 1d4 giant ants in the room, and there’s a 10% chance one of them is a warrior ant.
To determine if one of the ants is a warrior ant, you roll a d20. If the number is a 1 or 2, then one of the ants is a warrior ant!
The giant ants have an Ascending Armor Class [AAC] of 16. Their HD is 2 (for regular giant ants) and 3 (for warrior ants). Hit points for up to 4 giant ants: 4, 10, 10, 12. (Meaning that if you roll for 2 ants, you can have one have 4 hit points, the second has 10 hit points) Hit points for the warrior ant: 16. When giant ants (normal or warrior) succeed on a hit, their bite does 1d6 damage.
If a warrior ant is present and successfully attacks the player, their poison may inflict additional damage to the player. If the character bitten fails their saving throw is failed, the poison causes an extra 1d6 damage to the normal 1d6 damage from the bite. If the saving throw succeeds, only 1d4 points of damage is suffered.
Checking around on the floor may reveal some sort of treasure from the ants tearing up the floor. Roll 1d6: 1–3 = no treasure; 4–5 = 1d10 gp (roll a ten-sided dice to see how many coins there are); 6 = 3d6 gp (roll 3 six-sided dice to see how many coins there are.)
Do all monsters fight?
Some monsters are intelligent, some are not. Some do not automatically attack characters, others do. A lot of that depends on how YOU imagine how the monsters might act.
In this case, if there are no warrior ants, you may decide that the giant ants ignore the characters unless the characters attack first. If there is a warrior ant, it may attack to make the characters leave the room, but not abandon its post. Those decisions are up to you and how you want to play the ants.