View Full Version : DM Help Need help designing a dungeon challenge.

2016-12-24, 04:44 PM
My players are coming up on a wide, long corridor that I've set with a particular challenge that if done wrong could make them very angry...

On the opposite end of the hall is a hidden room full of magic mirrors... but to get to the lever that lowers the section of wall hiding the mirrors, the players first need to cross the hall. An incubus waits for them at that end, and will explain that the mirror room will be revealed if they pull the second lever, out of two levers... He'll then pull what he designates as the first lever. The ceiling will fall on the party, and it is specifically calibrated to not crush them... at least not immediately. They have to hold up the ceiling; there's just enough room for one player to move freely without the party getting crushed. That player has two choices; cross the hall and save his friends, or turn around and flee to safety, leaving his friends to die.

I wanna do this right, and I would much rather not make my players angry.

In truth, it won't be hard to hold up the ceiling. The ranger would hold the bulk of the weight, as he's ungodly strong. The arcane trickster is capable of short range teleportation. The danger is more perceived than real, but it can still prove a fatal hazard. Only the ranger is actually evil, and he seems to like the party enough to not betray them.

(And for those who are wondering, yes I did get the idea for this from a particular anime. One of my all-time faves. :3)

Now, should they get to safety in the mirror room and raise the ceiling back, I've got ideas for what the mirrors do, but nothing quite so solid yet.

The mirrors are extradimensional spaces, some containing clones of the party members, which will attack. Others contain treasure, and one contains a lich's phylactery, which is the whole reason they've come this way.

2016-12-27, 04:34 PM
Quick Question, what's dangerous in the hall? Will that player have to fight the Incubus? Is it so far that he fears his friend's strength will fail before he arrives? Are there traps?
I would recommend that if the player flees, his "friends" (their clones) track him down and attack him, causing him think they are angry at him because he left them to die, while the clone of him pretends be him to the party to slow them down until the other duplicates return.
Otherwise, if that player helps his friends, they can face the duplicates together, and retrieve the phylactery.
Either way, don't kill the remaining players. Either a player saves them and they are rescued or the players must retreat into the previous hallway, suffering injuries and losing trust in their so-called friend.

2016-12-29, 11:12 AM
Well, the primary danger with the hall is the ceiling itself; the incubus would really like to avoid the fight, and is interested in seeing what happens if the players manage to slay his client. He just doesn't intend to make it easy for them. He's entirely motivated by boredom.

The hall is probably not long enough for the ceiling to crush them, now that i look at it again. Not that I plan on crushing the PCs, but i do want them to see it as a threat.

2016-12-29, 12:35 PM
I reccomend you have it badly lit so the pcs don't know how long the hall is, so they don't know the exact level of risk.

2016-12-29, 01:13 PM
That was the idea, i'm just kind of hoping that the darkvision doesn't get in the way... Just a short while ago, I was able to use fog to obscure vision for those who can see in the dark.

2016-12-29, 02:09 PM
Ooh, what if it's not darkness, but blinding light!

2016-12-29, 03:25 PM
Ooh, what if it's not darkness, but blinding light!

Ooo...this could be fun, particularly once they get the wall down and the mirrors are exposed. Maybe a ray of some kind that fires out at random intervals or something, bouncing off of the mirrors.

Dunno if you ever read any of Grimtooth's Traps, but that makes for good...scenarios...for situations like this.


Of course, any of these might really upset your players...which means...get some popcorn and watch the fireworks.

Aaaaand, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. Your players should be aware of that, either before or after, so they know what's at stake. Players tend to get angry if they feel the challenge is unfair. If they get butthurt over their character dying, well, they probably shouldn't be playing a game where that becomes a distinct possibility.


2016-12-29, 03:38 PM
:smallconfused: Am I the only one to whom this sounds like this is a case of "puzzle with one true solution"(tm) which the forums usually explicitly warn against?

2016-12-29, 04:47 PM
:smallconfused: Am I the only one to whom this sounds like this is a case of "puzzle with one true solution"(tm) which the forums usually explicitly warn against?
Well, the thing is, it's not a puzzle, it's a choice. A puzzle usually has more than 2 options, and can be solved by clues or logic. This is a matter of, will you risk your life to save your friends, or not? Not, "How will the most of us survive this?", it's "Do you do this, or this?" It's a moral decision, and as such doesn't really need to have tons of options. Sure, he could decide to stay there and help his team struggle to hold it up, but he knows how to stop it completely. It's figured out. But will he take the risk? Or flee?