Blank player maps: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1rqcCQIz1IZvycMBDCeMUzv9Tr21lhAIw
Hook: There's no mistaking where the old map of Jolly Rodger has led you; to the dead shores of Fogholme you go! But Jolly Rodger is not going to give up his booty that easily! You'll have to seek the secrets of his unlife, if you hope to wrest the treasure away from the Dread Captain.
Backstory: Eighty years ago, the Pirate King Jolly Rodger ruled the Sea of Treasures with a gilded fist. Cruel and decadent, Jolly Rodger was infamous for his depraved carousing at his mansion on the island of Fogholme. However, what most did not know was that Jolly Rodger used his ostentatious parties to mask the disappearances those he sacrificed to his dread gods. As Jolly Rodger’s years began to wane, he sought ever-more depraved ways of extending his life beyond the limit of human mortality. The dread gods of the deep and dark demanded increasing sacrifices, and Jolly Rodger’s depravity was revealed to the rest of the Pirate Council of The Sea of Treasures. The other captains of the council rose up against their king, and committed mutiny against him. However, Jolly Rodger’s sacrifices were not in vain. The dread gods preserved a measure of unlife for their servant. He still lives, stalking the accursed halls of his manor, waiting for an unwitting sacrifice to stumble inside and allow him to complete the ritual he began eighty years ago.
Dungeon Master’s Guide
Kobold Press Tome of Beasts
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
For DM: The mansion sits on top of a hill that overlooks a boggy salt marsh. There is a narrow, winding road that leads up from the main pier of Fogholme through the swamp and up to the mansion. Should players stray from the paved path, they will slowly sink into the mire with each step, and be forced to fight off the dead of the bog (Deep One). Should the players decide to cross the bog at night, mention flashes of fairy fire, and voices out in the bog. They should see brief glimpses of ghosts, with nooses about their necks out in the bog. If someone uses speak with dead, or a similar spell, the ghosts of this place will might think that they are friends with Jolly Rodger, and become hostile. If your players followed a treasure map to Fogholme, there should be a definite X on the map, showing them that they need to go to the mansion.
Deep One pg. 73 Kobold Press Tome of Beasts.
Ghost pg. 147 Monster Manual
For Players: “As you step onto the pier, you can see a large, 3-story mansion on a hill in the distance. A roughly-paved slate road winds through a salty mire and up the hill. As you make your way through the bog, flashes of light appear out over the bog. The stench of death and decay threatens to overwhelm your senses.”
Panther’s Note- The very mansion has been infused with the dark evil of Jolly Rodger’s will. The building itself should fight the players just as much as the monsters within. Do not be afraid to have doors re-lock themselves behind players. Slam shut, despite being propped open, and generally act as though it is a monster itself. Do not allow Shape Stone or similar spells to alter the walls or foundation of the house. If your players decide that they just want to burn the whole place to the ground, it should re-appear whole and complete the very next day.
Panther’s Note 2- VERY. BAD. THINGS© should happen if the players decide to take a long rest inside this dungeon. Use your imagination. (Personally, I am planning on having them wake up in random locations, separated and potentially entering combat. OR, a character becomes possessed, and turns on the party the next time they enter combat).
For DM: The slate pathway through the bog will lead up to a gated yard. No gatehouse will exist though. The swamp should end precisely at the edge of the lawn. Use this to put your players more at ease. The stench of the bog recedes, and the scent of roses fills the air. There are extensive rose hedges throughout the yard. Should a player get too close to the roses, however, they may get stung. The roses do 2d6 slashing damage, and force a DC-17 CON save. On a failure, the player takes an additional 1d6 poison damage. If the players attack the rose garden, use stats for Corpse Flower, but describe it as a zombie rosebush. It should disgorge flowery plant zombies. The mansion should look beautiful and in perfect condition (This is a very high level illusion that will last until the players are all inside).
Corpse Flower pg. 127 Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
For Players:“The stink of the bog is replaced by a heavy scent of roses. As you cross the threshold of the iron fence, the slate path gives way to soft earth and peat. You are on the lawn of the mansion that you saw in the distance. There are extensive hedges of roses; you never thought there could BE so many shades of red! There is a clear path up to the porch of the mansion.”
For DM: There is a large terraced porch made of dark, granite stones. A Set of heavy, ornate double doors leads into the mansion. A steel crest of Jolly Rodger (a skull with a single sword below it) is inlaid in the wood of each door. Whoever is holding the treasure map that led the players here should hear indecipherable whispers coming from the map. These doors should be the only doors that are “friendly” towards the players. Jolly Rodger wants them to come into his house, so the doors should swing open quite easily.
For Players: “A set of double doors looms over the terraced granite porch. You can see Jolly Rodger’s crest, a skull severed by a cutlass, is inlaid in grey steel in each door. You feel a sense of beckoning towards the doors. A faint whispering seems to come from the map in your hands.”
Panther’s Note- There is no “right order” to exploring the rooms of this dungeon. I have arranged this document so that everything that is on the same floor is listed under that floor heading. That may lead to a bit of jumping around or flipping through the notes. If it is too confusing for you, then feel free to download and rearrange the text as you see fit. The best way to read through these notes is to have the maps handy nearby.
For DM: From the outside, before the doors slam shut, the players should be under a heavy illusion that the mansion is in pristine condition. The entry parlor should look welcoming and beautiful. Various couches and small tables should be scattered about. In the center of the room, a massive spiral staircase, decorated with octopus motif, ascends to the ballroom above. Doors in this room will lead to the Kitchen, the Women’s Locker Room, the Men’s Locker Room, and the Trophy Room. Upon close inspection, the spiral staircase is revealed to have been carved from a single tree.
Panther’s Note- In my original map for this part of the dungeon, I forgot to draw a door into the kitchen from the entry parlor. The (locked) door is located in the south-west corner of the entry parlor, and leads to the south-east corner of the kitchen. Use your own discretion for revealing how deep this illusion is, but it should be pretty heavy.
For Players:“Inside the entry parlor, your eyes are immediately drawn to the complicated design of the parquet floor. The longer you stare at the floor, the harder it is to name the shapes that are woven into the parquetry. Your eyes are then drawn to the immense spiral staircase, and the intricate octopodes worked into the railing. Various small couches and tables are scattered about this room. Near the western wall is a metal serving cart that is surely used by servants, tending to guests.”
For DM: As soon as all the players enter the house, the doors will slam shut behind them and become unable to be opened. Only Wish, The Lady of Pain, or Jolly Rodger’s Amulet of Seas can get the players out of the mansion once the doors shut. No interdimensional travel can get them out. No teleportation. If they somehow manage to leave, they will simply walk through what they believe is the door, and walk back into the entry parlor.
For Players: “The great doors slam shut behind you with a thunderous BOOM! As the sound echoes through the empty parlor, the illusion begins to fade, and you no longer see the mansion as it was eighty years ago. The Pirate King’s mad cackling fills your minds. “If you want to leave this place with your souls intact, you’ll come and find me at my resting place!”
“The shine and sheen on the beautiful woodwork fades. The design on the floor is still some unnamed, mad shape, but it is faded and mouldy now. The great staircase looks less like a towering tree, and now seems to barely be able to stand under its own weight. Cobwebs have revealed themselves in every corner. There are unsettling creaks coming from all around you.”
For DM: This is a room where Jolly Rodger might have once entertained guests with lavish displays of his wealth. In its prime, this room would have been decorated with rich tapestries and rugs, no doubt “liberated” from whatever exotic culture applies to your setting. A set of four large, and ornate leather chairs sit around a fireplace. The leather is a striking red color, even years of fading and rot. They are made of Tiefling hide, but it should be rather difficult to distinguish Tiefling hide from Demon hide without a fairly strong Nature, Medicine or (potentially) Arcana check. The door to this room will quietly shut and lock itself behind the players. They should not notice this very easily, unless they are specifically watching the door while they explore the room. There are six suits of Elven plate and/or chain mail standing at “attention” in the room. All but one of them will come to life and attack the players if they cross the halfway point of the room. The one suit that does NOT attack the players is a special set of of Demon Armor.
Panther’s Note- This Demon Armor is a bit different than in the DMG. I have included everything for it at the end of this document. If you don’t like my version of it, use the standard version found on pg. 165 of the DMG.
For Players: “This was once a richly decorated entertaining room. Several decrepit lounge chairs are scattered about, and once-beautiful rugs adorn the floor here. Where the colorful patterns may have once glittered brightly, now they lie threadbare and moth-eaten. Grimy canvases and moldy tapestries adorn the walls. Almost anything of real value was looted from this place long ago. A few rusty sets of old elven armor stand as though guarding the room. In the north-east corner are a set of strikingly red leather chairs.”
Helmed Horror pg. 184 Monster Manual
For DM: There are two “locker rooms” to the north of the entry parlor (marked W & M). These are private relaxation rooms where Jolly Rodger’s guests could change out of their ballroom finery and prepare for the bath-house room. The walls and floors are fine tilework, and enchanted to give off a slight warmth. There are several broken cedar wardrobes, where guests may have once left their clothes. There are upturned basins everywhere; servants would have once kept these filled for the guests to wash themselves. Shattered vials that may have once contained scented oil litter the area. A calming harp sound seems to echo from the walls of these rooms. If your players do nothing to mitigate this sound, roll WIS saves in secret. On a failure, a character is enchanted by the music of the harp and will roll all perception checks at disadvantage while in the bathhouse or locker rooms.
For Players: “You find yourselves in what appears to have once been a private dressing room for guests of the manor. You can just make out an elegant dolphin design in the mildewy tile. Several cracked and unsteady cedar wardrobes stand along the eastern wall. The faint strumming of a harp can be heard throughout the room.”
For DM: There are four stagnant, black pools in this large room. Overhead, large “chandeliers” containing exotic plants have become grossly overgrown with a strange, flowering vine. An air of malaise and decay hangs over the area. The doors out of this room will quietly shut behind the players when they aren’t looking. There is a door on the western wall that leads into the pantry, so that servants can enter/leave and fetch refreshment for the guests. However, the overturned shelves in the pantry have jammed the door shut. None of the doors in this room will allow egress until the monsters in this room are defeated. The northern wall of this room is a thick glass or crystal window that overlooks the ocean (and allows sunlight in for the plants.) “Eldritch abomination butterflies” feed upon the nectar of the strange vine, and several “zombies” lurk in the pools. They may be visible as bloated, twisted corpses floating in the pools. Have them strike as you see fit. Change the description of the light to whatever suits the time of day your players have gotten here. Use a mix of Deep Ones and Deep One Hybrid Priests for the zombies.
For Players: “As you step into the bath-house of the manor, your senses are assaulted with a heavy air of decay and rot. There are four large pools of black, sludge-like water. Overhead, the chandeliers have been overtaken by a thick tangle of vines with strange multicolored flowers. A weak noonday sun streams through the dirty glass, illuminating the room. Butterflies with helix-shaped wings flit from flower to flower along the vines.”
Death Butterfly Swarm pg. 71 Tome of Beasts
Deep One pg. 73 Tome of Beasts
Deep One Hybrid Priest pg. 73 Tome of Beasts
For DM: This is the room where the servants would have prepared the grand fests that were served at Jolly Rodger’s infamous parties. A very large oven (with a chimney) is in the south-west corner of this room. If your players investigate the fireplace closely, they will find that there is a grate underneath the thick layer of soot at the bottom of the brick oven. A small character can easily fit through the grate. Otherwise, a particularly slim standard-sized character might be able to dexterously wriggle their way down. The grate will lead down another chimney to the “Torture Room” in the basement. There is a dumbwaiter just north of the oven that leads up to the servant prep room. It can also lead down to the torture room, but it will only do so if controlled from the basement. The north side of this room has a double-set of stairs. One going up to the servant prep room, and one going down to the real fridge. The door to the real fridge is enchanted: see the room description there.
For Players:“This is a large, open kitchen with a variety of tools and counters. A very large brick oven stands in one corner of this room, and a cord of hickory and apple are haphazardly piled against one side. There is a small closet next to the oven, and a pair of wide staircases on the northern side of the room. One set goes up, and the other goes down. There is a door on the north wall. ”
For DM: Should a player cast speak with dead, or peer into the aetherial plane, they should see glimpses of ghost servants scurrying about, preparing a lavish feast. Whispers of “No not THAT roast, the other roast!” and other vague kitchen-speak should be faintly heard.
For DM: This room is a maze of shelves. Several are turned over and have apparently domino-toppled each other. The door to the bath house is blocked by an overturned shelf. There are a few kegs of rotten, old beer in one corner of the room, and a large rack that once contained a variety of wines (if there still are any remaining, they should have become undrinkable vinegar-like substances by now). Populate this room with several undead giant rats if you like. The rats should have visible “fatal” wounds, and cause 1d6 necrotic damage on top of their piercing damage when they bite. Otherwise, use Giant Rat stats.
Giant Rat pg. 327 Monster Manual
For Players: “Once-sturdy shelves lie toppled upon one another. There is a heavy scent of mold in this room. On the far wall, you can see an elaborate wine rack, and what appears to be a few medium kegs. There is a faint scratching sound.”
For DM: Enter this room via either the teleportation circle in the Secret Fridge, or the trap door in the Master Bedroom. This room is heavily stained with layers of caked-on blood. Several meat hooks dangle from the ceiling. A large, granite slab sits in the middle of this room. Several butcher’s knives, and other strange blades, are lined up in an orderly fashion on the granite slab. In one corner of the room, there is a ritual circle that will teleport someone into the “Secret Fridge” room. A set of stairs leads downstairs to the “Clean Room”. After several minutes of exploration, the blood in this room may coalesce into an Elder Oblex. The player characters may believe this is some kind of ghost, until they get into combat with it.
Elder Oblex pg. 219 Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
For Players: “This room would not look out of place at a meat market, or outside of a well-frequented inn. The walls of this room are heavily stained the sickly dark-brown that only has one meaning. Several large hooks dangle from the ceiling. A large granite slab, stained black-brown with use, dominates the center of this room. Grooves in the slab slope downward into a steel bucket on one end. Several large knives are arranged in an orderly fashion on one end of the table. A staircase leads downward. There is a ritual circle carved into the floor in one corner.”
For DM: Enter this room either via secret panel in the Real Fridge, or via teleportation circle in The Butchery. This is a secret fridge where Jolly Rodger kept the bodies of his victims chilled until he had purpose for them. There is absolutely no light in this room, unless the characters provide it. The walls and floor are enchanted to keep the room very cold. Four meat hooks hang from the ceiling in here, with strange, headless corpses still hanging from them. These corpses will awaken as Blemmyes if they are disturbed. There is a trap door in the North-West corner of this room that leads down to the Real Fridge.
Blemmyes pg. 37 Tome of Beasts
For Players: “This room is unnaturally cold, and positively radiates transmutation magic. It is too dark for you to make out anything but strange shapes floating in the air before you.”
Upon providing light
For Players: “Four headless, humanoid corpses hand from meathooks in the ceiling. Even if these corpses DID have heads, they would still seem unsettlingly strange. You find them very hard to look at.”
For DM: This is a room with several counters and drawers where food could be fully prepared before being presented to guests. There is a large, empty, rack where more wine would have been stored. A variety of crystal and glassware can be found if the players ransack the drawers of the counters in this room. A door to the north opens into Jolly Rodger’s study. A set of swinging doors on the south-east side of this room opens up to the ballroom. There is a dumbwaiter just south of the stairs, and a brick chimney from the kitchen below. Small doors on the side of the chimney may be opened to reveal a smoking chamber where meats could have been cured. Should a player open one of these doors, they will see a severed head, blinking and gurgling for breath. The character should save against a moderate amount of psychic damage (unless their character would be unfazed by this sight. DM’s discretion). Whether or not the character takes psychic damage, the bloody head will disappear after a few moments. Other smoking chambers should reveal (boar) leg bones or other “normal” remains of smoked meat.
For Players: “There are more counters and platters in here. There is a set of swinging doors to the east, and a very sturdy walnut door to the north. The chimney of the brick oven from downstairs takes up most of the southern wall. There are a few small, iron doors in the side of the chimney.”
For DM: The doors to this room are heavily locked and enchanted. The key to the study is hidden in the master bedroom, but a very high lockpicking check should open it. If Knock is used on the door, the door will unlock, but the door will cause Shatter to be cast, centered on the caster of Knock, at whatever level Knock was cast at. If Detect Magic is used, the door will hum faintly with the sound of abjuration magic.
For Players: “This room is largely undisturbed. It is a cozy study, with a small balcony. A wide array of charts and maps litter the large, mahogany desk. A large, red leather chair is behind the desk. There are several sconces on the wall, to provide adequate lighting to the room. Two large bookcases, with many worm-eaten volumes, tower over the room. A rusted telescope has fallen over on its side out on the balcony.”
Panther’s Note- I forgot to include the balcony on my map of the house. Sorry!
For DM: The study remained unlooted, due to the high level of security on the doors. A nice, mahogany desk sits on one side, covered in maps and star charts. Hanging over the desk, on the wall, should be a map of the local islands (in my setting, it is a map of the Pirate Isles). There are several shelves, moth-eaten books and scrolls. There is a small balcony (not on the map I made), which has a broken and rusted telescope on it. If your players are so inclined as to fix up the telescope, and look through it, they will not see the traditional stars. THey will see a horrifying visage of the realm beyond the stars, and a vast, hungry eye looking to devour life. Anyone who looks through the telescope takes 2d6 unavoidable and irreducible psychic damage. Of note in this study is that none of the star charts pertain to navigation or traditional calendars. A sufficient arcana check will reveal that the charts pertain to when several known “dark stars” are in alignment. (A G.O.O. warlock should have no difficulty with this check). A religion check will reveal that other charts pertain to when [insert benevolent deity]’s star is going to be eclipsed, or otherwise out of phase/blocked from visibility in the night sky. Jolly Rodger was plotting dates when he could “safely” perform a forbidden ritual without the notice of deities that may wish to prevent him from doing so. The books on the shelves should be a variety of astronomy, necromancy and transmutation books. Also allow for a few books written in an approximation of Deep Speech. If a character attempts to read the Deep Speech, they should take small amounts of unavoidable psychic damage on a success. Finally, have a ledger of dates and deaths. This should be a stomach-churning large number of deaths. Imply that their skins, bones meat and souls were used for nefarious purposes.
6-14 Elven woman. 200 yrs Sweetmeat pie. Nice gloves.
6-15 Tiefling man. 37 years. Cutlass. Too tough. Study chair.
6-15 Tiefling woman. 34 years. Cutlass. Too tough. Study chair.
6-15 Tiefling boy. 9 years. Smothered. V. tender.
6-16 Triton man. 75 years. Skinned. Too salty - Meat wasted. Blue book cover.
6-16 Triton man. 95 years. Strangled. Too salty. Meat wasted.
6-16 Elf woman. 115 years. Magic. Paladin soul. Good for enchanting. Blue stone.
6-17 Human male. 22 years. Magic. Soul too weak. Larder stocked. Sacrificed to bog.
6-18 Human girl. 17 years. Day of Sothoth sacrifice.
This is an elaborate dining room with four large tables and many, many seats. Whatever happened to Jolly Rodger here, happened mid-banquet. There are dozens of dessicated corpses, still seated at their places for the banquet. Some are slumped over in their seats, others are pinned to chairs with daggers or crossbow bolts. Cups lie overturned, plates are shattered all over the place. There was clearly a fight of some kind. The master seat at the main table is conspicuously empty, but there is a large stain of blood at his chair. The four fancy chairs to the right and to the left of the master seat (8 total chairs) are also empty. Inscribed on the eight chairs should be the names of pirates that your players have already heard about (in my setting, they are the names of the eight Dread Captains who committed a grave sin against the gods of the sea). Captain Pain, Captain Teach, Admiral Yi X, Captain Izanna, Captain Xang-Ji, Captain Fulgur, Captain Rack, Captain Rourke.
Should the players use Speak With Dead, they might learn that Captain Rodger’s eight lieutenants committed mutiny and struck against him. However, once Rodger died, all hell broke loose. Strange beings (Mi-Go) swept down out of the moonlight, and attacked the lieutenants. Undead guards appeared out of nowhere, and began slaughtering the guests. Whatever spirit the players speak with, it died suddenly and afraid. The spirit of Captain Rourke should be present somewhere in the dining room, and advise the players to find the secret entrance to the basement (he doesn’t know where it is, but one of the other Captains did. Unfortunately, they all survived while Rourke stayed behind to try and save some guests). Populate this room with ghosts and zombies, if your players seem ready for a fight.
Deep One pg. 73 Tome of Beasts
Deep One Hybrid Priest pg. 73 Tome of Beasts
Ghost pg. 147 Monster Manual
For Players: “A ghastly visage of chaos and death greets your eyes. The magnificent feast clearly ended quite suddenly and poorly. The dessicated corpses of guests lie slumped over their meals, or pinned in place by daggers and crossbow bolts. Dishes of fine Elven ceramic lie shattered on the floor. The fine tablecloths are stained brown with the spilling of decades-old blood, and wine. There is a rather ornate archway that leads into the ballroom.”
This is a vast, high-vaulted room with many stained glass windows that allow the moonlight to cast a dizzying array of lights upon the dancefloor. An unlit chandelier hangs from the ceiling high above. There are several more corpses on the floor in here. Whether the players enter by the spiral staircase, or through one of the doors, they will be attacked by six pairs of dancing ghosts and a “Mi-Go”. Use the stats and abilities of the Lunar Devil for the Mi-Go. Describe the Mi-Go as an “Acephalic insect with large, looming eyes. It seems to fade in and out, leaping from moonbeam to moonbeam as it warps in and out of our reality”. There is a storage closet in the south-east of the ballroom. A stained trail of blood should lead from the center of the ballroom, to the closet. Inside is a long-dead corpse. Just north of the storage closet is the door to the hallway.
Ghost pg. 147 Monster Manual
Lunar Devil pg. 110 Tome of Beasts
Panther’s Note- I am aware that Kobold Press has an actual Mi-Go in the same book that I pulled the Lunar Devil from. I liked the abilities of the Lunar Devil better, and so I used that stat block. You can fite me. Acephalic means “headless”. I said acephalic rather than headless, because it makes the beast seem more alien that way.
For Players: “A vast ballroom with a very high ceiling stretches out before you. A few corpses lie scattered about, facedown on the floor. The large windows on the south wall are stained-glass, and allow for an oddly hypnotic display of color and light to dance across the floor of the room. It is somewhat reminiscent of the complicated parquetry from the entry way below.”
This is a dusty and dark storage closet. Populate with a few zombies if you like. If populated with zombies, allow for some pounding on the back of the door. Alternatively, this could be where Captain Rourke crawled away to die.
For DM: It is a dark, creaking and empty hallway. This only serves as a way to get to the guest rooms, and the master bedroom.
For Players: “A dark hallway stretched before you. There is a hollow creak as you make your way east, and come upon a door. You’re filled with a foreboding sense of dread, as you disturb the dust of the years. The Living are no longer welcome this way.”
For DM: Populate these once-luxurious rooms with deceased and minor treasures as you like. It would be a fitting touch to put a pair of deceased guests in a room - a couple that snuck away from the banquet before shit hit the fan. There should be no corpses at all in the “Vic Room”.
For DM: This room is set up like any other guest room, except that it has a hidden door that leads into the master bedroom. Also, the door into this room can be locked from the outside (this should only be apparent after a close look at the lock on the door of this room). Jolly Rodger would lock the door on the outside, and use his hidden door to gain access to this room, and knock out whoever was sleeping in this room.
For DM: A large driftwood door with ornate carvings of stars and octopodes upon it. It is heavily enchanted, but not locked. If a character attempts to open the large doors, the octopus on the door will wrap its tentacles around the character, and begin applying bludgeoning damage to them 1d6 per round until they are unconcious. A DC-17 perception or investigation check will reveal a coded message carved into the door, demanding a pass-phrase “That is not dead which can eternal lie”. If Detect Magic is used, the door will radiate a heavy transmutation spell.
For Players: “You come upon a large door carved of a single piece of driftwood. Frightening images of strange stars and looming octopodes decorate this heavy door.”
For DM: The interior of the bedroom is lavishly decorated and largely undisturbed, if a bit decayed. A large chain of keys lies on the dresser. (One of these keys opens the study. The others open the jail cells). A secret drawer inside one of the dressers will contain draughts of potent sleep poison, as well as featherfall. There is a large trap door hidden beneath one of the rugs that leads down to The Butchery. A ladder attached to the inside wall beneath the trap door allows for up/down travel. One of the wardrobes in the master bedroom has a false back, which leads to the “Vic Room”.
For Players: “Jolly Rodger spared no expense in decorating his own room. Thick, elaborate rugs of ELven design cover the floor. This was clearly spared from the the looting and chaos that occurred after his death. As your feet cross the threshold, you realize that you are the first living beings to enter this room in a very long time.”
Panther’s Note- Everything in the basement, save for the Real Fridge, is spared the rotting and decay that has been seen throughout the rest of the mansion. This should be a clue to players that there is strange magic afoot.
Panther’s Note- My games feature the (Dwarven) Dagger-Lock as a trap inside many locked doors. It is a spring-loaded dagger that will shoot out of the lock, and cut up the hands/face of anyone who “tries the handle” of a door, or fails a lockpicking check by more than 5 points. Damage is usually 1d6, sometimes with poison added. Use at your discretion for any locked door. Important to note that the dagger will reload itself after injuring a player, so YES, you can get hit by the same dagger more than once.
For DM: Enter this room from the stairs in the kitchen, or from the secret trap door/panel in the secret fridge. This room is dark and cold. Like the secret fridge, it is enchanted with heavy transmutation magic to keep everything inside very cold. There are some very frozen, very old hunks of indeterminate meat in one corner. The door up the stairs (and back to the kitchen) is locked from this side, and will require a moderate-high lockpicking check to bypass. There is a hidden panel in the low ceiling of this room that will lead up to the secret fridge. (In the secret fridge, it is a trap door).
For Players: “The air of this room is chill and dry. Your very breath is sucked from your lungs as the cold shocks your system. Without any light, you can just make out an odd lump in the corner of the room.”
For DM: The stairs in the butchery room will lead here. This is a space where Jolly Rodger might clean himself off after his work in the butchery above. There are changes of clothes hung up, and soiled linens piled in a corner. On the western wall is a heavily locked door that leads to the jail cells, and the rest of the dungeon. Keys found in The Master Bedroom will unlock this door, otherwise a high lockpicking check will open it.
For Players: “After the horrifying mess of the room above, this room is refreshingly clean. There are a few empty basins, and clean clothes hung up in one corner. In another corner is a pile of soiled linens, stained brown with extensive amounts of blood. A heavy iron door dominates the western wall of this room.”
For DM: The jail cells have heavy, adjustable chains that can hold Jolly Rodger’s captives tight against the walls, or allow them some freedom of movement. The cells themselves have been heavily enchanted with anti-magic spells, so as to prevent a captive from casting anything. The doors can only be opened via Wish or with the keys on Jolly Rodger’s keychain. Populate with skeletons, mobile or otherwise, if you wish.
For DM: Strange gems that seem to glow from within are arranged in ritualistic patterns around expensive and exquisite weapons. Several copies of the star charts from inside the study adorn the walls of this room. The strange gems are infused with souls that have been ripped from Jolly Rodger’s victims. This room was used to create foul and abominable magical weapons using the unwilling souls of Jolly Rodger’s victims. Populate this room with loot as you see fit. Should your players take any of the strange gems, they will be haunted by the soul(s) trapped in those gems. Holding the gems with a bare hand should cause mild amounts of psychic damage for any character that generally good. These trapped souls should be viewed as abominable to anyone who wishes to remain on the “good” side of the alignment axis. There is a door on the south side of this room that leads to a small hallway. Hidden among the scattered gems are strange eyeballs that will slowly form into a pair of Oculo Swarms.
Oculo Swarm pg. 309 Tome of Beasts
For Players: “You are hit with a wave of unease and disquiet as you enter this room. All light seems suffused with a strange green-purple hue that stings your eyes, and makes the back of your head throb. Patterns of a ritual long-forgotten are stained upon the floors. Strange gems that luminesce on their own lay scattered about at odd intervals.”
The door to this room is locked, but may be opened with Jolly Rodger’s keys. Six St. Andrew’s crosses are lined up along the northern wall. A skeleton remains chained to one of the crosses. There is a large fireplace in the southwest corner, attached to the kitchen chimney. Various branding irons are arranged near the fireplace. There is a dumbwaiter pulley-lever to send/receive items from the kitchen above. The high-pitched whistling is the collective wailing of the spirits who died here.
For Players: “A sense of death pervades this room. You can hear a high-pitched whistling, as though the wind were lashing against the eaves of a house. Items around this room seem to move of their own accord, but when you look directly at them, they are in their rightful place. Several St. Andrew’s crosses are lined up along the wall.”
For DMs: This room is filled to the brim with a huge variety of cursed weaponry and armor. Each item should have a tag on it, detailing how long until the enchantment is “set”(in my setting, the dates are all fast approaching, due to something I had been foreshadowing). The tags should also contain a few details on the nature of the enchantment upon the weapon, and the soul used to create it. Jolly Rodger, on orders from his Eldritch Masters, was creating foul weapons to arm an invading force from beyond the stars. The main threat in this room should be the temptation to use the weapons. None of these weapons in here can be used to harm Jolly Rodger, or any of his minions. This room is guarded by 4 Sword Wraiths, who were Jolly Rodger’s crew men in life. They are fiercely loyal to their captain, and cannot be swayed against him. Stock with whatever enchanted weapons might tempt your players; I have no specifics.
For Players: “You enter a well-lit, and well-stocked armory. The long hallway stretched before you, and you see row upon row of well-organized arms and armor.”
Sword Wraith pg. 241 Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
For DM: This is a secondary ritual room, where dread sacrifices were directly made to Jolly Rodger’s Eldritch Masters. There are a number of strange ritual altars and circles in this room. It is curiously absent of blood and gore though.. Should the players be foolish enough to activate one of the circles, they will open up a small void portal that will release a Star-Spawn of Cthulhu at half-health. Four eldritch zombies, sacrifices that were not deemed acceptable, stalk this room. Use stats for Maurezhi and Rutterkin.
Maurezhi p. 133 Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Rutterkin pg. 136 Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Star Spawn of Cthulhu pg. 368 Tome of Beasts
For Players: “As soon as you peer into this room, you feel the sense that this place was not meant for you. You cannot tell left from right, due to the strange geometry of this shrine. There is a feeling of great pressure, as though you were an unimaginable distance from anything remotely of this world. Strange, irregular ritual circles dot the floor at intervals that speak of strange constellations.”
For DM: The door to this shrine will only open once all the monsters in the basement have been defeated. This is because Jolly Rodger wants the adventurers properly weakened before he faces them. He intends on using them as a final sacrifice to the Lords of the Dark and Deep.
For Players: “This shrine is much more “friendly” to mortal sensibilities than the last two. The walls in here are dotted with alcoves that contain idols of strange, cephalopodic gods. Upon a great, stone altar lies a broken, and dried corpse. Upon that corpse’s chest lies an amulet that glows with a soft grey-blue-green light.”
For DMs: As soon as all the players enter this room, the door should slam shut and Jolly Rodger will awaken. Alternatively, if all of the players refuse to enter the room, then he will awaken and shut the door as soon as the amulet is touched.
Jolly Rodger Fight
Jolly Rodger’s desiccated corpse will knit itself back together and he will rise to complete the dark ritual that was interrupted almost a century ago.
Jolly Rodger will use the stats of a Boneclaw. Treat the "Piercing Claw" attack as though it is a sword-whip (think Ivy from Soul Caliber). Once the "Boneclaw's" health is reduced to 0, begin the second phase of the fight. While inside the shrine, Jolly Rodger will recover 10hp at the start of every turn.
Boneclaw pg. 121 Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes
For Players: “Your weapon strikes a mighty, final blow upon the dread pirate. His old bones rattle and shatter apart as his corporeal form is rent asunder by your strike. You hear a sharp cackling echo throughout the dark shrine.”
“K'yarnak h'ya mnahn' nggrah'n ee Nyarlathotepnyth h'ehye Dagon, Chaugnar Faugn hafh'drn Yoggoth ep tharanak orr'e ilyaa n'ghft, kadishtu Hastur Shub-Niggurath vulgtlagln syha'h nog. Enter this world, master! The sacrifice is complete! Rise you scurvy lot, and guard the the gate of of the great hungerer!"
For DM: The incorporeal ghost of Jolly Rodger will appear at the altar, and continue to chant in Deep Speech. The wall behind the altar will fade away into a swirling void that whispers of a hunger beyond mortal ken. Four ghostly pirates (Sword Wraiths) and a many-armed abomination (Cambium) will rise from ground to protect Jolly Rodger while he completes the ritual
Cambium pg. 51 Tome of Beasts
Sword Wraith pg. 241 Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
At the sight of the Cambium, make all of your players perform a difficult WIS save. Gith characters and G.O.O. Warlocks will have advantage. On a failure, a character will take a moderate amount of psychic damage. On a success, they will take a small amount of psychic damage. Jolly Rodger will spend 10 rounds completing the ritual. Once it is complete, a tentacle will lash out of the void and devour the Sword Wraiths and the Cambium. Jolly Rodger will become a Deathlock Mastermind, and defend the Star-Spawn of Cthulhu. If the players defeat the Cambium and the Sword Wraiths before the ritual is complete, they may attack Jolly Rodger and interrupt the ritual. They will have to take his phylactery/amulet from him to do so. During phase 2, regard Jolly Rodger as a Ghost with 1 hp. If a player enters the the void portal, regard it as being inside a Hunger of Hadar sphere. Jolly Rodger and his minions are immune to ill effects of the void portal.
For Players: “Jolly Rodger cackles with glee as a black tentacle with many eyes lashes out of the void, and coils itself around the many-armed horror that has assailed you. The creature makes an abominable screeching as it is flung into the void. A rumbling, altogether alien chant is heard echoing from beyond the dark shroud at the back of the shrine. The wraiths drop their weapons, and disengage to follow the strange call from beyond. As the rumbling continues, it forms syllables comprehensible to the mortal mind. Cthulhu fthagn! Cthulhu fthagn! Cthulhu fthagn! A strange cephalopoid beast, borne on twisted wings suddenly erupts from the portal!”
For DM: If you get to Phase 3, your players are probably screwed. A Star-Spawn of Cthulhu will emerge from the portal and attack the players. Jolly Rodger will become a Deathlock Mastermind, and defend the Star-Spawn of Cthulhu. The void portal remains open until the players destroy the altar. final sacrifice to bring the avatar of his master into this world.
Deathlock Mastermind pg 129 Tome of Beasts
Star Spawn of Cthulhu pg. 368 Tome of Beasts
Should your players win, they may claim the Amulet of Seas, as well as Jolly Rodger’s Adamantine Cutlass, his Eyepatch and the Chest of Holding.
Adamantine Cutlass Short Sword, very rare
This is a cutlass made of adamantium. It cannot be reforged into another form, unless by Wish. This weapon will strike a critical hit on an attack roll of 19. If an ability would allow you to strike a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20, you will also score a critical hit on 18. On a critical hit of 20, this sword negates the effects of adamantine armor. Adamantine weapons may cut the flesh of any being.
Amulet of Seas Wondrous Item, artifact (requires special attunement)
The amulet of seas is the phylactery of the Pirate God, Corsair. It contains half of his divine power, and it is a symbol of Corsair's blessing placed upon his chosen avatar, The Pirate King. Whosoever wears this amulet, and is attuned to its power, may speak and act with the authority of Corsair. Corsair may revoke ownership of the amulet at any time.
Chest of Holding
This chest has an interior space considerably larger than its outside dimensions. This chest is 3ft x 1.5ft x 2ft, but the inside can hold up to 2,000lbs or 900 cubic feet of volume. This chest weighs 50lbs, regardless of contents. Breathing creatures trapped inside the chest can survive a number of minutes equal to 30 divided by the number of creatures within (minimum of 1). This chest has no lock on it, and cannot be modified to have one. In all other aspects, this chest is identical to the Bag of Holding found on pg 153 of the DMG. This chest contains
150 Platinum Pieces
10,000 Gold Pieces
5,000 Silver Pieces
5x 1,000 GP Gemstones
Demon Armor Armor (Plate) Very Rare (Requires Attunement)
While wearing this armor you gain a +1 bonus to AC, and you can understand/speak Infernal. In addition, the armor's clawed gauntlets turn unarmed strikes with your hands into magical attacks that have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls, and a damage die of 1d8.
Curse: Once you don this cursed armor, you cannot take it off again unless you use a Wish or coat yourself in Oil of Slipperiness. While wearing the armor, you have disadvantage on attack rolls against devils/demons, and disadvantage on saving throws against their spells and abilities. See pg. 165 in the DMG. Note that in my setting, Demons and Devils are synonymous, and they all speak infernal.
Corsair’s Lucky Eye-Patch Wondrous item, Legendary (Requires Special Attunement)
This is a simple, black leather eye patch. To become attuned to this eye patch, you must sacrifice one of your own eyes to the Pirate God, Corsair. Once attuned, this eye patch functions the same as a Stone of Good Luck (DMG pg. 205). If the wearer commits any sort of sacrilege against the Pirate God, Corsair, then they will immediately become de-attuned to the eye patch. If the wearer restores the use of their eye, then they will immediately become de-attuned to the eye patch.