The Eternal Maul (dungeon)

Description

The Eternal Maul is an ancient structure carved into a mountain range and has been around for five and a half centuries. Magnificent yet aging stonework lines the walls and large tiles are carved into the floor. The original design of the dungeon was that of a lair and home for a powerful creature who lived in the master’s quarters. Having gone through dozens of owners over the years, the current decor and setup is a mixture of the original design along with pieces and changes that came along with the many inhabitants.

History

In the year 3427 a powerful Mind Flayer, known as Xindragul, commissioned the construction of his very own lair: what would come to be called the Eternal Maul. The Maul was fortified by Xindragul’s minions and served primarily as a home and study. However, in the year 3439, an addition was made to the lair to hold his most treasured possessions while also serving as a safe room. The new area was layered with traps and puzzles to keep intruders from reaching the final chamber.

In 3482 the safe room was first put to use when one of Xindragul’s experiments want awry, opening a planar portal and unleashing a torrent of foul creatures from beyond the material planes. Xindragul managed to escape into the safe room and has remained there ever since. He misses his old home in the outside chambers of the Eternal Maul but has determined that is is safer to remain in the safe room until he dies of old age.

Many creatures have since passed through the outer chambers of the Maul: goblins, orcs, tribes, bandits and beasts. Some adventurers have managed to unlock the portcullis leading to the safe room but none have ever made it past the traps and puzzles. Nearly 500 years after Xindragul retreated to the inner chambers, a new master came upon the ruins of the Maul, an amateur sorcerer named Rolok Habast. Coming from a wealthy family, Rolok managed to pay off several mercenaries to help him clear out the beasts living in the Maul and remain there to protect him while he conducted his own experiments.

Areas

1. Ceremonial Chamber

The players begin their journey in this chamber, having just awoke and experiencing severe degrees of amnesia and blurred vision (darkvision does not function either); as they spend time recovering their normal vision slowly returns to them. An amateur sorcerer had just attempted to invoke a sacrificial spell too powerful for his abilities. The resulting explosion shattered him into pieces and threw the players into the walls of the room from the altars where he had them placed.

  • The room is large and almost pitch black save for the dim light coming from a half-extinguished torch laying in the corner. A table and stool lay shattered and splintered in the same corner having been smashed into the wall from the explosion.
  • A large, iron-banded door on the north wall is locked but badly damaged from the explosion so it can easily be broken down.
  • Five stone altars encircle a crudely drawn pentagon with strange symbols in the center of the room. Scorch marks and feint traces of magic, bone, and flesh litter the area and appear to be the remnants of a blast originating from the center of the pentagon. The door in the corner shows signs of stress with several cracks and splinters covering the surface.
  • The symbols drawn around the edges of the pentagon are not recognizable as any known language but the center of the drawing includes the shape of a key which has been split from top to bottom.
  • There is evidence of several papers and books near the table but they are badly damaged and fall to pieces when touched.

2. Collapsed Hallway

This dark hallway extends West several yards where two torch sconces light openings to rooms across the way. The right passage is darker but there is a glowing ambient light coming from the Great Hall in that direction.

  • The Western end of the hallway is blocked by piles of rock and debris that have caved in from the ceiling.
  • A secret door is concealed on the Southern wall.

3. Storage Rooms

These storage rooms have piles of weapons and armor, some usable, some not, which have been collected from victims of the mysterious sorcerer and his minions.

4. Secret Passage

The passageway is dark and narrow with several cobwebs and pieces of debris littering the way through. At either end is a turn-handle mechanism which looses the respective entrance door, allowing it to swing inward.

5. Great Hall Staircase

The balcony overlooks the Great Hall. Stairs along the North wall lead down to a landing and then turn South into the large cavern.

6. Great Hall

The Great Hall has high ceilings and carved stone walls.

  • Three groups of six columns stretch to the ceiling throughout the chamber, there are markings on all of them which can be used to solve the rotating pillars puzzle further back in the cavern.
  • A second balcony sits along the Southern wall which leads to the master’s quarters.
  • The mercenaries hired by the sorcerer are camped out in the Northeast corner, where they’ve pitched a few tents and have a small fire going to keep warm.

7. Rotating Pillars

Three large pillars with wooden handles sit in the center of this room and face two portcullises to the South. Each pillar has six sides, each with a symbol, and three large stones in the ground in front of each pillar pointing like dials to the sides facing North.

  • Rotating the pillars requires three people to do so as they must be lifted up by the handles and turned to settle back into position.
  • The symbols on the pillars resemble those which are carved into the columns in the Great Hall.

Solving The Puzzle

  • To solve the puzzle and open the Western portcullis, the three pillars must have the following symbols facing North towards the dials (from West to East): __ __ __ .
  • If the pillars are moved from this position the portcullis immediately drops shut, likely killing anything standing below it.
  • There is no combination to open the Eastern portcullis which can only be opened from the gatehouse.

The Eternal Maul (dungeon)

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