Catacombs of the Shield Queen

The dungeon is lit by magically refilling oil braziers. It has masonry walls and tiled floors that are dusty but otherwise clean. 1-in-3 that any door is stuck. Hallways are inscribed with ancient runes that also appear on the shields of all monsters. Pronouncing this rune correctly (perhaps an Intelligence check) will pacify any monster except those in areas 4 and 5.

Wandering monsters (1 chance in 6 every hour):

  1. Headstealer (1)
  2. Old crawler (1)
  3. Ghoul (1d2)
  4. Yienhools (2d6)
  5. Human bandits (2d6)
  6. Reroll twice, using both results

Keyed areas:

  1. Catacomb entrance via spiral staircase. Walls have decorative columns (pilasters) in the shape of muscular shield maidens. All shields wielded by monsters in this dungeon are emblazoned with a cross formed of four chain links. Each time PCs enter a section of the cross, 1-in-3 chance that a statue will come to life and attack as a dergenue.
  2. Chapel. A small altar along the far wall holds unlit candles and stone tablets engraved with ancient runes (worth 3d12 gp to right collector). If the candles are lit and the runes read aloud, no further wandering monster rolls will be required in this dungeon for the next day.
  3. Storage room. Contains several empty crates with a few ruined carpentry and masonry tools here and there. However, 1d6 bags of teeth are also found among 2d4 bags of 1d100+25 ep each.
  4. Mausoleum. Statue of consort on N wall, queen on E wall. Tiles on the floor form a mosaic of the device on the shields. When PCs aren’t looking, statues blow kisses to each other and thus may be found in different poses when PCs look back. Each statue has a necklace worth at least 400 gp and will be defended by two dergenues in the form of shield maidens from the walls if the statues or necklaces are touched. The wearer of one of these necklaces has a 1-in-3 chance to charm any monster in this dungeon other than the dergenues. The dergenues’ shields can be looted and used as +1 shields; however, the bearers receive a -1 penalty to all to-hit rolls while carrying the shields.
  5. Crypt. Lower section contains a spike pit trap between the two sets of stairs . Three sarcophagi sit in the western end of the lower section. If any one of them is opened, exploding bones rise from all three and attack. Each sarcophagus contains a gem worth 1d100+25 gp.
  6. Sitting room. 1d6 zombies sit on the benches along the walls and will attack if anyone enters the room, otherwise they sit quietly in wait.
  7. Gallery. 2d6 yienhools stream from a magical tapestry in the alcove in the southern wall. This tapestry will repeat this effect (no more than once per turn) to defend any building in which it hangs. The door leading down and out from the gallery is locked by Hold Portal (unless the referee adds another level).
  8. Hearth. If fires are lit in both at the same time and the shield rune pronounced, then moving images will appear on the W wall showing the story of the Shield Queen, the scribe who loved her and became her consort, and the jealous knight who slew them before becoming cursed himself.
  9. Petrified corpse. If the corpse is touched or examined, the hands become old crawlers. Each crawler is wearing an ancient Ring of Spell Storing - one with Hold Monster, the other with Magic Mouth.
  10. Guardroom containing 2d6 skeletons. Each skeleton carries a shield inscribed with the runes above.

Monster Stats Reference:

Bag of Teeth: HD 1; AC 9[10]; Atk Bite (1d6+1/round); Save 17; Move 0; CL/XP 1/15; Special None.

Dergenue: HD 2; AC 4[15]; Atk 1 strike (1d6); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Drag into stone, immunities.

Exploding Bones: HD 2; AC 8[11]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Explode when killed.

Ghoul: HD 2; AC 6[13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d4); Move 9; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Immunities, paralyzing touch.

Head-stealer: HD 3+4; AC 8[11]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6) or strike (1d4); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None.

Human Bandit: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.

Old Crawler: HD 2; AC 4[15]; Atk 1 rotting grip (1d8); Move 6 (Scramble 12); Save 11; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Possible spell casting, good saving throws, continuous damage.

Skeleton: HD 1; AC 8[11] or 7[12] with shield; Atk 1 weapon or strike (1d6) or (1d6+1 two-handed); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.

Yienhool: HD 1d6; AC 8[11]; Atk 1 claw (1d4); Move 9; Save 18; CL/XP 1/15; Special: grab and pin arms, swarm over the top of battle lines.

Zombie: HD 2; AC 8[11] or with shield 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon or strike (1d8); Move 6; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Immune to sleep and charm.

Map by Dyson Logos. Monsters from “0E Reloaded”, Matt Finch, 2009.