Everything in this post is SUPPLEMENTAL information for the The Parched Throat OPD -- sort of a collection of all the crap that I either discarded initially or just couldn't fit onto the one page. Get the PDF here, as the information below doesn't include the core information on the OPD.
Inspiration for this OPD came from the Oak Island Money Pit. (Additional details about this in subsequent blog posts.) I took the basics, a deep pit with a flood trap, and added some embellishments. I thought of naming this OPD "The Money Pit" as a nod to the source of inspiration; but, I didn't think it was representative enough of the dungeon -- so I changed it to "The Parched Throat".
Also, just like the real one, I intended the PCs needing to expend a lot of resources (money, time, possibly lives) to get to the bottom. This may require longer side quests to amass the necessary wealth, hirelings, skills, etc to do it. That makes it fairly difficult, and you'll notice that there is not much in the way of material reward for the PCs. I'm not a huge fan of "Monty Haul" adventures (they can be a lot of fun, though, and treasure is easily added to this if so desired). This is all about the challenge and excitement of beating the OPD.
Quite unintentionally, there is a sub-theme woven in of dryness and water. Although this will work just about anywhere, it will fit particularly well in a desert setting.
Even though there's a lot more I feel I could have done with this, my only regret is that I just couldn't squeeze in any NPCs. Tons and tons of potential fun to be had by throwing some interesting NPCs into this. Oh, well. Maybe next year.
Yes, this OPD is very linear -- pretty much to the point of railroading. I know this isn't a popular way to run a dungeon, but the story I set myself to work with necessitated a linear path. Another aspect that may prove unpopular is that it seems to be one of those "death-trap" dungeons. That wasn't a design goal, and I'm not a big fan of death-trap dungeons, myself. But... yeah. There's really no getting around it: it's a bit of death-trap dungeon.
Finally, you'll notice I put more questions here than answers. These are questions I didn't get around to answering myself, and figured that leaving them open for GMs to tinker with can help fill this out or tie it in to an existing campaign setting or adventure.
The Story / Hook
...or lack thereof. Yep, this completely escaped my notice. Sort of an important thing to have for an adventure, and it's not there. Well, my entry for the contest will remain as-is. I'll come up with something to put here, but I don't know exactly when. In the meantime, the questions in the next section can help create a hook and/or place this in an existing campaign.
Miscellaneous Questions for the GM
1. How did the PCs find out about the pit?
2. Will the PCs need to keep their activity at the pit secret?
3. Do the PCs know about the book?
4. If the PCs know about the book, what do they need it for? Personal gain? Part of an on-going adventure/quest? Are they being duped by an enemy?
5. Why was the book sealed off rather than destroyed?
1. The petrified tree marks the general location of the pit. The PCs may need to resort to trial-and-error to find the actual pit, unless they come into possession of specifics on where to dig (eg: 30 paces north of the tree).
2. How do the PCs get into the pit and between the levels? They will need to use ropes, scaffolding, or magical means to move between levels.
1. How do the PCs remove all the dirt? Does all the activity at the pit (and piled-up dirt from digging) attract some unwanted attention they have to deal with?
2. Searching the dirt removed from this level won't result in much of value -- an odd coin or broken weapon (determine randomly). There may be enough found to pique interest, but what is found will not be worth the time spent searching. Maybe a ruined scroll of Water Breathing will be found as a hint of what it to come.
3. How do the PCs know the pit continues past this level? Do they just keep digging?
4. This level will need to be cleared of dirt completely to find the runes on the wall.
5. The ancient runes on this level are copied directly from the symbols carved into a stone rumoured to have been found in the real Oak Island Money Pit.
1. The floor is a single plate of brass, about 1 foot thick. It is non-magical and has no special properties. The only breaks in it are the 3-inch holes around the edge and the trap door in the middle.
2. The green discolouration of the brass floor may hint at water running over it long ago.
1. The floor's flagstones are approximately 1'x2' and 1' thick.
2. The keystone in the centre of the floor is very obviously a keystone for holding up the floor. It is not concealed or hidden in any way, but the PCs will have to actually look at the floor with more than a casual glance to notice it.
3. The floor isn't magical, but is so well-engineered that the only way through it (other than large-scale destruction) is to remove/destroy the keystone.
4. The entire floor immediately collapses if the keystone is removed/destroyed, likely causing damage from falling (40') as well as damage from the falling flagstones. (Unless the PCs come up with a way to prevent the floor from collapsing.)
5. The heat and dryness on this level is from the Ashen Husks.
6. Heat damage from the Ashen Husks will make it difficult to get close enough to examine/loot them. And once the PCs are within 3' of one, it will attack.
7. The Ashen Husks are wearing a variety of armour. There is also a variety of weapons, but they are left in the alcoves as the Ashen Husks attack with bone-hard limbs and their dehydrating aura.
1. Determine at what level the force field must be dispelled. Can the PCs manage it? Will they need to pay a higher-level wizard to do it? Are there any alternative ways through the force field? Teleport? Dimension Door? What about non-magical means?
2. The magical trap trigger connected to the force field is undetectable by any means. Only rumour or some previously-received knowledge will provide any indication there is a trap here.
3. The flood trap is triggered only if the force field is dispelled or directly breached. If it is circumvented in some ingenious way (unlikely, but certainly possible), then the trap may not be triggered.
4. If/when the flood trap is triggered, how do the PCs deal with the flooded pit? Magical water-breathing? Do they remove the water somehow?
5. The glowing sigil on the force field could be linked to a known cult, sorcerer, demon, politician... maybe some force for good? It could point to the origins of the pit and why the book was sequestered here.
1. If the PCs somehow manage to bypass the force field without triggering the flood trap, the Gibbering Mouther will remain in "dry hibernation". If any amount of liquid is splashed on it, it revives within 2 turns and attacks.
2. There is no way through or around the door without the key.
3. If the PCs do not find the key, or it is lost/destroyed, an appropriately-skilled thief can impression the lock on the door and make a key. Before the key will work, a Knock spell must be cast on it. The Knock spell must be cast from a scroll created by a high-level chaotic evil wizard, but the scroll must be cast by a high-level, lawful good cleric. Wish your PCs good luck with that one for me. Maybe there is an easier way through the door, but much less obvious (like simply knocking on it three times).
4. How do the PCs come by the information on creating a new key?
Spherical Room (6)
1. There is no apparent way to get to the chest/mimic. There is no purchase on the walls for climbing. Do the PCs build scaffolding? Try to lasso it? Use magic?
2. The title of the book, Interitus de Profundis, is Latin for "destruction from the depths". Sort of. My knowledge of Latin is limited to Google Translate.
3. The magic book can be changed to something more fitting to the GM's desires. Hell, pretty much anything can be changed, for that matter. Maybe some of the Ashen Husks on level 3 have magic armour and weapons. Maybe the flood trap uses green slime instead of water. Maybe there is no treasure in the spherical room, but rather an extra-planar gateway.
4. Ok, the Mummified Mimic. I suppose you'd like to see some stats for this thing. Here's what you do: just combine the nastiest bits of this with the nastiest bits of this. Your players will thank you. I'll work on a stats block to include here, but for now, to make it really simple:
--- use the stats for a Mimic
--- add the abilities Mummy Rot and Despair
--- add weakness to fire
--- add typical undead characteristics
List of Relevant Links
One Page Dungeon Contest, 2013
Wikipedia article on The Oak Island Money Pit
Ashen Husk stats for Dungeon & Dragons
Mimic stats for Pathfinder
Mummy stats for Pathfinder
Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
1. Everything here is just a suggestion; thoughts and ideas I had while putting my OPD together. Please have fun with it, use it as-is, or change the ever-loving shit out of it.
2. "The Parched Throat" One Page Dungeon, and all my notes in this post, are released under the Creative Common Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
3. I will probably edit and add to this occasionally.
Below is an image of the submission. For better quality, download the PDF here.