View Full Version : DM Help Creating a Time Lord's Abode

2015-11-05, 08:49 AM
Background Information:
My adventurers are about to break into a powerful wizard's tower. This wizard was one of the player's old character from another campaign world. He was heavily inspired by Doctor Who. So I thought it would be fun to give them a taste of the wizard's power.

The only way into the tower is for the PCs to use a teleportation token that they received in a shady trade. In the past the tower's owner gave those he trusted these tokens. They would allow the holder to materialize within a teleportation garage. Upon arrival they'll immediately be targets of a Zone of Truth spell. The only door has an animated face that will ask the PCs three questions (Who are you, How did you get in here, Why are you here). Normally the wizard would be scrying upon the door and thus could screen his guests; however, the wizard has been gone for some time. Instead the door opens a minute after the three questions are asked.

After passing the door they come across a passage with four smaller corridors branching out on both sides. Passing through the main hall means moving past two floor-to-ceiling mirrors. These mirrors do nothing more than depict the alignment of those who walk by. The smaller corridors are the first of many traps for those interesting in plundering the tower. At the end of each hall is a door; however, these passageways from an inter-dimensional trap. Victims become trapped in a dimensional loop for 8 hours. Even after they get past the loop trap the doors have their own nasty surprise. Past the doors reveals only an empty room (This will be brought up later).

Just like in Doctor Who the tower is going to be far larger on the inside. After passing through the screening hall, the players find themselves in an exquisite foyer. There are 6 beautiful, animated paintings of different planes. Within the paintings is a depiction of a keyhole. A single door rests upon the first landing. The door knob contains a two rotary locks, each with 12 metals, gems, and symbols (Brass, Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Pearl, Onyx, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, a silver star above a milky nebula, & five spiraling talons.)

Within the foyer is a chess board. The pieces are all dragons with the metallic being ivory white and the chromatic being dark red. There is also a fire place that has two marble figurines of a Copper and Black dragon.

So the answer to moving about the tower is the door with the two rotary locks. The outer lock must be set to one of the metallic dragons (the chessboard is the clue, white goes first). Then the inner rotary must be set to one of the chromatic dragons. Each dragon represents one of the 6 chess pieces and the symbols represent the two major draconian deities (Bahamut - King, Tiamat - Queen). The outer rotary is where you wish to travel and the inner rotary is your current location.

The Dilemma:
So I'm stuck as to what to do for when the party tries using a wrong combination. As of now I have it set so there is a 50% chance that they only get an empty wall. There is a 25% chance that a spell triggers (Mass Suggestion or Prismatic Spray). The other 25% is where I'm really scratching my head. At first I had the idea that stumble upon a singular trap room. Then I though what if it leads to one of a series of mini dungeons. Now I have the idea that maybe there is a single, large trapped filled dungeon and there are multiple locations that the door could open up to.

To keep them from simply walking back out of the same door it would disappear after a minute of its opening (in the trap room, mini-dungeon, or vast-dungeon). So they would have to find another exit. This exit however would teleport them back into the blank rooms at the end of the looping dimensional trap mentioned earlier.

If anyone has any suggestions or awesome ideas I'm all ears.

2015-11-05, 12:05 PM
Why would the wizard make something so esoteric? Never mind, I've made similar things IRL. But... who other than a chronomancer would think that where you are going comes before where you are?

If the players can't figure the puzzle out, what is the Knowledge:Arcana DC for the characters to figure it out? What is the UMD DC to activate the door successfully?

As to failure... well, assuming the wizard didn't build his tower with the express purpose of being dead and leaving his tower to be explored and looted by the next (or previous - darn chronomancers) generation... did he create intentional fail clauses? Ie, is the result of a failed combination "this is where the wizard wanted you to go when you obviously don't know what you are doing", or more like dialing a random number on a phone?

If it is intentional, then the answer is, the door opens where the wizard wanted it to. Where did he want you to go?

If it is just the logical consequence of dialing random numbers... then what else is in the wizard's tower? The party goes there. Bedrooms, dressing rooms, trophy rooms, giant indoor swimming pools... previous (or future) adventuring parties who are lost in the maze... whatever. Watch lots of Doctor Who for inspiration.

Wait - he's one of the player's old characters?! Um... I don't think I've ever considered trying to loot one of my old characters' homes. Why not just ask the player what was in said wizard's tower?

2015-11-05, 12:33 PM
So there are five other rooms that can be accessed through the door. There is the oasis(spa), guest hall, master bedroom, testing area,and the dining hall. The wizard would have a means of traveling through the tower without the difficulty of the door (special key or specific passwords). I was thinking that the dials would be something along the lines of getting a wrong number.

Now that I'm at home I can properly respond. The intricate door leads to one of five common rooms that serve to make the tower a comfy, livable environment. Still the wizard would not want anyone to simply stumble into these areas. So he came up with this system to keep intruders confused. A wrong combination would deliberately trigger a trap-like spell or open up to a demi-plane that consists of a dungeon with several encounters, traps, and other hazards. Thus this would be a "this is where the wizard wanted you to go when you obviously don't know what you are doing."

What I could imagine is that when the trap dungeon occurs maybe the party needs to make a save or be teleported into it. This way they don't simply open the door, see the dungeon-like interior, and reattempt the door. Perhaps a mass suggestion spell is cast upon them.

As far as DCs go I haven't thought about that. Maybe I could have a DC for figuring out what each of the items embedded into the rotary locks represent. I thought that the embedded rotary items, the chess board, and the copper and black dragon (which I forgot to mention represent that this room is the rook piece) would be enough clues for the group. Do you think I should add more clues or add some sort of DC to the door? I'm just worried that it will be one of those "I roll a skill check and I know everything" situations.

I'm concerned about asking the player about what he thinks would be in the tower. On one hand it is his character and he would know him better than myself. Yet, I don't want to spoil anything for him.

2015-11-06, 01:10 PM
If the player will know that it is his tower within the first few minutes - or already knows - then what is there to spoil?

As to the rest of my post... I was just trying to make sure you had thought of things from different directions. I love making and solving puzzles - but what if the party can't? Or what if they want to use their skills?