This week’s update is Hearthflare Temple, a multi-level interactive dungeon with enough moving parts to impress your players but not so many that it is a headache to GM. Starting with a ruined tower with a beacon shining up to the sky, the secrets of this sacred place are buried deep. Secrets that, perhaps, should remain so…
Hearthflare Temple is composed of 9 maps and 12 items used with those maps to manipulate the dungeon itself. To help explain it I will be going through floor by floor on this post to show how it works:
The first thing to note is that a series of GM notes go along with the dungeon itself, serving as a reminder and explination of how the dungeon operates. On this floor there are two items of importance.
First, the Beacon Mirror:
These are placed centered on the rope “X” on the top floor of the tower, and if you are using Roll20 you will want to make these a rollable table with both sides (that way, once placed, you can just swap which direction you want it to be rather than needing to add a new object). By default, the beacon mirror is pointing up, creating the beacon effect that players can see as they approach the ruin. In order to advance through the dungeon, they will need to point the mirror downwards to shine upon the well (which is the second image here).
These four wells should also be made as a single rollable table, with the closed: no light being the default option. Players can open the well and see a long, deep darkness and (if they choose) go down into the B1 level of the dungeon this way. Without shining the light down, however, they will have trouble advancing beyond B1 to B2. It is designed to rest on top of the default well, so once you make your rollable table and place it on the map, resize it to rest comfortably on top of the well and enjoy the interactivity.
Players can also reach B1 by breaking through the cracked masonry blocking the door down.
The Holdfast (B1)
Beneath the upper floors is the holdfast, an ancient stronghold for a knightly order. Something went horribly wrong here in the past, and evidence of a great evil is scattered throughout the halls.
The holdfast has the basin of the large well at the center, and for players coming down through the Well this is where they will begin this floor. The holdfast is broken into four areas: a library, a forge, a barracks, and a tomb. Each has room for their own encounters and side story about what exactly went wrong in this place to cause it to be sealed away and forgotten. As players go through, somewhere hidden on this level is a secret level that adjusts the water level within the well basin.
The Well Basin:
The well’s water level and light level is also designed to be a rollable table placed over the existent well (as with the upper level well). Once it is both empty and lit up by the beacon it will allow the lower levels (B2) to unlock through the rotating statue located on the lower floors.
Hearthflare Temple: Chamber of Trials (B2)
As with other Temples devoted to the Allfather, this temple also has a series of trials designed to test new initiates. When players first arrive on floor B2, it looks like this:
In the middle of the barely seen gear is a dark shape (a statue holding a mirror) above which is a crystal prism (the same crystal at the bottom of the well on B1. Once players have both emptied the well and shone the beacon down, they see this instead:
In the middle of the floor is a large gear that players can make a strength check to try and push in one direction or the other, rotating a statue:
The Mirror Statue:
The statue is also a rollable table, and will be dark on the first version of B2 until the beacon’s light is revealed, at which point it lights up. By default the Beacon’s Light should be pointing directly down (south) towards the final door, revealing the four light mechanic that needs to be satisfied in order to reach the final floor of the temple. As players rotate the statue enough to shine on one of the four blue crystals in the chamber, the floor transforms as the crystal illuminates one of the four wings found on this floor:
As with the statues and objects, all of the Hearthflare Temple: Chamber of Trials maps itself should be a rollable table (with all 6 variants shown here). This will make rotating through each wing incredibly easy to do for the GM. When assembled as a rollable template it should be able to rotate like this:
The four wings are a maze with a series of door traps and hidden levers, a deep pit with a water trap at the bottom and a series of hidden light paths to get across, a palace room for a boss encounter or conversational encounter, and a large arena for a giant monster fight (in our games this was a giant chimera, but use what seems the scariest thing you like).
With passing the trials in each room, one of the four lights on the door south of the statue light up. Once all four challenges are met, players can enter the final floor:
Hearthflare Temple: Rewards and Gold:
Nothing makes players as excited as walking into a chamber just filled with piles of gold and six altars holding legendary weapons, tools, and armors to reward them for their efforts. While the campaign we played had no final challenges here, a fun idea would be to have players fight the true final boss in these chambers (thematically, themselves reflected in the light of the final statue). But whatever seems fun to you as GM is best, as always.
This map is straight up the most complicated thing I have ever made for gamemastering, and I didn’t even run it! I was a player on this map, and left a lot of things vague (like where the water levers are, how to get through the maze, etc.) so that the GM I made this for could still surprise me. Likewise, there is plenty of room to expand here and make it yours for your own campaign.
That’s all for this week (haha, “all”), tune in next week for a fun country festival followed by some new dungeons in December.