Minidungeon Monday – Tomb of Ghoulish Elopement

Young couple runs scantily clad

I skipped last week and now I’ve got COVID again, so I’m take that as the world’s way of punishing me for my inconsistency. Anyway, this dungeon was originally designed to be a 5 Room Dungeon, using the B/X Dungeon Generation procedures as-written. I found it to be kind of boring that way, so I decided to spice it up a bit.

I recently heard in a discussion comparing B/X as it was played back in the day to the OSR way of playing B/X that OSR stuff tends to have significantly less treasure per dungeon. This is what inspired me to make the dungeon RAW according to B/X. It indeed has significantly more treasure than any OSR modules I’ve played. It was designed for 2nd or 3rd level, and should be pretty easy for a normal sized party. Again, I use Silver Standard, so if you play with Gold Standard, just multiply all treasure by 10.

Room Layout

From the map “Haven” from Valorant

In terms of room layout, I really wanted to add verticality to my dungeon inspired by FPS games that I’ve been playing recently. I added two raised platforms and a catwalk for this end, and I placed the stairs up to those platforms in strategic places. I imagined the Entrance as the “Attacker Spawn” and Room 9 as “Defender Spawn”, which makes some rooms clearly give the advantage to certain sides. For instance, the stairs leading up to the platform in Room 4 are on the “Attacker” side, so it’s harder for the enemies to get up there and have the advantage, whereas Room 5 gives the advantage to the “Defenders”.

I’ve long thought that archers and ranged enemies are way more powerful than I see them get credit for. I imagine that a few well-placed archers could TPK a party pretty easily, as long as the Magic-User doesn’t have a spell like Fireball. This dungeon was my attempt at testing that out with Rock Baboons. So I gave them some rocks and wedding decor to chuck at the party from those platforms with some makeshift ramparts.

Dungeon Objectives and Stories

This dungeon has caused me to start questioning whether dungeons should have clear “objectives” and “stories/explanations” that need to be interacted with to get the full amount of treasure. This one clearly has an objective: Kill all three ghouls to use their pendants to open the way to the treasure in Room 9. Their story is that they eloped and this is where they were wed (and subsequently transformed into ghouls by the Mythic Underworld). My previous dungeon had an objective too: do the test of virtue to see if you can get the treasure.

It seems that authentic old-school dungeons were lighter in this regard, functioning more as a collection of rooms with monsters, traps, and treasure scattered throughout. Treasure is not gated behind a clear objective as often, but it does still happen. Delving these dungeons would probably feel more like a risk/reward game than a “complete the objective” game. You can keep going if you want, but you can stop at any moment.

I am torn about what I think about this. I think dungeons like this one are good because they naturally give players a hook to follow and clues to put together, but it may feel a bit more like a railroad, requiring the players to play the dungeon by my rules to get the reward. To offset this, I think it is even more important to make Jaquaysed dungeons with plenty of choices if they have a clear objective. I wonder if more linear dungeons are fine for the risk/reward types.

In the future, I hope to create a more classic risk/reward “story/objective-less” dungeon to test out this theory. I think it could be like a “boss rush” or “gauntlet” type of thing that you tend to see in video games as a bonus mode. I am hoping to make an inverted wizard tower for my next dungeon though, specifically because I’ve never done one before and I like the idea of random meaningless chaos.

Wandering Monsters

RollCreature NameNo. App.HDACMLAttacks
1Robber Flyd61148Bite d8
2Rock Baboond62148Club d6
3Oil Beetled42168Bite d6, Special
4Mannequin2d62125Strangle d4
5Carrion Crawlerd33139Paralysis x8
6Ogred641410Club d10
If you feel like it, roll a d7 and make 7 a Lost Gnome – Inspired by @carsonthewombatshaman from the OSR Discord

This dungeon is the tomb of a couple who eloped. The bride was a princess, the groom a peasant. To evade scandal for romance with someone low-born, the bride and groom took a witness and priest to this dungeon to perform a wedding. As a child, she was assaulted with fantasies of thousands dancing at her wedding, dressed all in finery under a chandelier and the like. She had the dungeon outfitted with the decorations of her dreams and filled seats with enchanted mannequins. They never left the dungeon, causing a great mystery in the ancient kingdom.

Following their marriage, the four were trapped here and turned into nasty undead because of the magic of the Mythic Underworld. The dungeon was recently uncovered by the monsters that currently inhabit it, turning it into their lair. The Ogres are the main inhabitants of this dungeon now, with the Rock Baboons and Robber Flies acting as their pets.


1 – Entrance Hall

  • Statue of a male human dressed in fancy garb against the western wall. Crumbled statue of a female human dressed in royal clothes against the eastern wall. A large unlit brazier is beside each
  • Door to the north is wooden with large iron bands. It has expanded due to moisture and is stuck. The faint aroma of a feast emanates from the other side
  • Tunnel to the northeast appears to be natural and connected to this room because of a cave in. Vinegar-like stench wafts from within

2 – Banquet Hall

  • Massive banquet table covered with delicious food (30 days worth of rations), some of which is actually made of precious metals and gems (worth a total of 102gp)
  • 3 Ogre statues sit frozen at the table, eating soup voraciously. The remaining 9 seats are filled by exquisitely-dressed mannequins
  • Touching anything on the table will cause the 3 petrified Ogres to be released from their spells and attack the party, but the food will be otherwise safe to consume and the treasure safe to steal
From Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) dir. Guillermo del Toro

3 – Oil Beetle Nest

  • 3 Oil Beetles burrowing around. A corpse lies covered in blisters, half eaten by the beetles

4 – Ceremony Hall

  • 2 Rock Baboons prance around in wedding garb stolen from mannequins
  • Dozens of mannequins sit in wooden chairs on the south side of the room, dressed in tattered raiment fit for a wedding, facing the platform on the north end of the room
  • Destroyed chandelier has crashed down from the ceiling on top of the mannequin sitting area. The chandelier has been looted for most of its valuable parts, but it can be scavenged further to find 185gp worth of crystals
  • Gilded sarcophagus set into the northern wall of the platform beside a worn tapestry of a man and a woman kissing
    • If the sarcophagus is opened, the witness Ghoul escapes and attacks immediately. He is wearing a pendant with a symbol of an eye (worth 100gp) a monocle made of diamond (worth 40gp), and a ruined tuxedo. In his pocket is a moldy, but finely crafted fountain pen (worth 10gp) and a key (to Room 9)
    • The tapestry conceals a secret door to Room 6
  • Shattered stained glass windows hang over parts of the cave walls. They are worthless now

5 – Groom’s Chamber

  • 4 Rock Baboons play catch with 5 damaged wedding decorations (worth a total of 165gp) and some small boulders from atop the platform and catwalk in the room. They have build a makeshift rampart out of scraps of wood along the edge of the platform and will chuck rocks and decorations at any perceived threats to their playground
  • Gilded sarcophagus set into the western wall atop the platform
    • If opened, the groom Ghoul escapes and attacks immediately. He is wearing a pendant with a symbol of a top hat (worth 240gp), a wedding band with vows inscribed (worth 60gp), an ebony cane (worth 30gp), and a ruined tuxedo.

6 – Priest’s Quarters

  • Inhabited by the priest Zombie muttering ancient prayers in a long-dead language. He wears a priestly crown beset with pearls (worth 100gp) and swings a small censer of tarnished brass (worth 10gp).
  • Large offering box on the eastern side of the room containing 350sp and 10pp and a small lever. If pulled, it releases a Sleep Gas trap and opens the secret door to Room 7

7 – Decoration Storage

  • 3 Carrion Crawlers sit atop a pile of 300sp, and one pristine small piece of glasswork in the shape of the bride and groom (worth 545gp, 50gp if damaged, takes 3 slots to carry safely)

8 – Bride’s Chamber (Locked – Key on Witness Ghoul in Room 4)

  • Gilded sarcophagus set in the western wall
    • If the sarcophagus is opened, the bride Ghoul escapes and attacks immediately. She is wearing a pendant with a symbol of a tiara (worth 380gp) a tiara set with a beautiful sapphire (worth 100gp), a wedding band with vows inscribed (worth 60gp) and a ruined wedding dress
  • On the eastern wall there is a beautiful fresco painted with images of the bride and groom kissing with the pendants featured prominently, centered around what is obviously a door, but with no hinges or obvious means of opening it
    • If two characters kiss while wearing the respective pendants, being watched by another character wearing the third, the door to Room 9 will open
    • Inscribed on the door is the following:
Two, separated by status in birth
Join with a kiss of mirth
Their pendants over their heart
A witness playing his part
The door to love eternal shall open

9 – Bedchamber

  • A massive, luxurious bed fills most of the room. The room is lit by candles and filled with incense that will burn forever
  • The room is filled with a pile of 1,000sp, 700gp, 50pp, and 5 wedding gifts worth a total of 1050gp

Total Treasure

  • 30 Rations
  • 33,120sp worth of Jewelry, Finery, Gifts, etc
  • 13,300sp in Coin
  • Total Value: 46,420sp

One response to “Minidungeon Monday – Tomb of Ghoulish Elopement”

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