Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: The Door to the Menagerie

Ancient Complex: Rooms 11 and 1211. The Menagerie

The teleportation room is the same as the others, but leads to a large hall featuring over a hundred varieties of creatures. Each enclosure is the same as those in Room 10, save for small environmental changes such as temperate, ocean, desert, jungle, etc. If the characters want to identify a few monsters, find a couple that are lower, average, and deadly Challenges for their party.

12. The Delivery Room

This room features a large Path Gate that was used to transport captured creatures directly to the menagerie.

When the characters enter the room, read:

The single standing door reveals a chamber with a high ceiling. The walls on the left and the right have a single, long arrow slit going across them just below eye level. To your direct left, is a door leading into the area behind the arrow slit wall. The right side having lost access to it due to the same cave in that took out the second entry door. The primary feature of the room is an immense, freestanding marble slab in the shape of an arched gate. Ancient geometric designs cover the facade and a single line splits the arched slab down the middle.

Path Gate. Standing 25′ high, 9′ wide and 1′ thick, this marble slab is almost touching the walls on each side. Pushing in the facade opens a doorway to a subspace travel system call the Path. This can function as a third method of leaving the dungeon, though the characters can easily get lost in the Path.

If a characters opens the door to the Path, read:

Pushing in the door, you see a wide, white marble path against a pitch black sky. The path weaves in around dense, gray trees that stretch far below the path to unseen roots. The branches and leaves silently sway and rustle against the eerily still air. Other, smaller doors line the path around the bend.

If the characters explore too long, or stand at the threshold talking for too long, they begin to feel like they’re being watched. The sense of urgency begins to send chills down their spines. If the characters continue to leave the doors open, describe that they now hear the wind that is rustling the leaves of the gray trees and it is increasing in intensity. If they still do not close the door, a faceless being spies on them from behind the trees.

Gray Forest. The forest is a manifestation of a creature called the Outsider. He is a creature of the Far Realm, or perhaps another universe. The Outsider has unknowable motives, but wishes to spread his influence throughout the world. While he may not actually be in gray forest at this time, the gray forest manifesting is not a good sign. If not stopped soon, he could actually begin to manifest on the Material Plane.

Treasure. The rooms beyond the arrow slits each hold 1d2 wands of the protector, and 1d4 rods of elemental force.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: A Ghoulish Turn

Ancient Complex: Rooms 9 and 109. Ghoul Infestation

Upon the initial teleportation into the room, read:

The bright flash of the teleportation leave you blinded, until you realize that the true reason behind this blindness is the lack of light in the room.

If a character has darkvision, read:

Your eyes finally adjust and your darkvision activates. You find yourself in the same type of teleportation room as the others, but the light crystals have all been removed and several, lanky, putrid humanoid bodies are sleeping around the dais.

The sleeping creatures are ghouls, six in all plus a ghast.

Start a count at 4. For each loud noise created by the characters, add a point. A failed Dexterity (Stealth) check against the monsters’ passive Perception adds the difference to the count. At 10 points, the ghouls start to wake up. Using the teleportation circle adds four points. For each minute of silence, reduce the count by one. Light in the room adds three.

Ghouls. The ghouls were originally captive humans from the time of the ancients. They do not speak or understand modern Common, but instead speak Ancient Human. They come from the open cell in Room 10. If a character has cast the Comprehend Languages spell, ghouls are all apologizing and mentioning how hungry they are.

Treasure. The ghouls each have 1d8-1 gems worth 1 gp each, 1d6-1 gems worth 5 gp each, and 1d4-1 worth 10 gp each. The ghast has 1d10-1 gems worth 1 gp each, 1d8-1 gems worth 5 gp each, and 1d6-1 worth 10 gp each.

10. Research and Development

The hall is a holding facility for creatures involved in experimentation.

West Pen. The holding pen in the west features an array of goblins of different varieties: green, red, yellow, sandy brown, etc. There are at least ten in total, possibly more in the cave. They are all frozen in time, in suspended animation. One or two are actually in mid-air, jumping between the boulders.

East Pen. The holding pen in the east once held a group of humans until a rare quake cracked the glass at the top of the viewing windows, breaking their suspended animation in the process. As they starved, a group of the humans prayed to demons to save them and were transformed into undead abominations, eating the others and using their new found strength to further destroy the weakened window.

Viewing Windows. The windows have Armor Class 2, Damage Reduction 5, Hit Points 15, resistance to lightning, radiant, and slashing damage, and is immune to necrotic, poisons, and psychic damage.

As the characters look into the far room, read:

The door opens to a small room, illuminated by three large glowing tubes, each filled with luminescent green fluids and a silhouetted humanoid figure.

The three tubes hold the preserved remains of three humanoids: the west tube has a goblin, the east tube has a human, and the center tube has an orc. The implications here are that the Ancients are responsible for the creation of all orc-kind.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: Holy Power

Ancient Complex: Room 66. Crystal Caverns Entrance

If this is the first time they’ve entered a teleportation chamber, read the boxed text from Room 1.




Ancient Complex: Rooms 7 and 8

7. Energy Generation Chamber

The teleportation chamber opens to a circular hallway that leads around to a 10′ wide by 10′ high metal door.

When the party sees the door, read:

As you continue to walk around the path, you see that a section of the inner wall ahead is not made of the same white marble, but of metal. Reaching from floor to ceiling, this wide, metallic slab is bare of any Ancient script or design, save for odd, geometric holes sitting waist high in the center of the silvery panel.

Metal Door. The metal slab is, in fact, a door leading to Room 8, without any indication that it can be opened outside of having a few shaped holes (Handout 7-1).

Strange Ancient Pattern

The holes can be identified as a keyhole with a DC 10 Intelligence check. The door can also be picked with a DC 27 Dexterity check. If the key from Room 20 is inserted into the holes, a section of the slab turns with the key. Once unlocked, the door shifts into the Ethereal Plane, leaving the key suspended in midair.

8. Generator Room

You descend the stairs to find a circular chamber barren of furnishings, save for the massive cylinder in the center of the room. Attached to it is a slanted marble slab covered in lights, buttons, and levers. Within the glass cylinder is a large, muscular man with wings draped across his shoulders floating in an unknown liquid. Bio-luminescent lights dance across his opaque blue skin like lightning.

The man in the tube is an “Angel of the Storm”, a planetar to Solm’s tempest domain, that goes by the name Galadil. He was deceived by the Ancients, and imprisioned. He doesn’t remember much after being summoned, save for the tube filling with liquid.

Glass Tube. The thick glass is only warded against damage from the inside. It has AC 3, Damage Reduction 3, Hit Points 15, resistance to slashing, lightning, and radiant damage, and is immune to psychic, poison, and necrotic damage. If the glass is broken, sphere drones teleport into the room from an unknown location. There are a number of them equal to the number of characters in the room.

Control Panel. The slanted marble slab functions as the controls to the tube. A level on the panel sits next to nine unlit lights going down its track and is adjacent to a three by three square of nine buttons, each with Ancient icons on them (see Handout 8-1). These icons are numbers 1 through 9 and if pressed in the correct sequence, allows the lever to empty the entire contents of the tube into the room. The sequence of numbers as presented are 2, 5, 9, 3, 6, 1, 4, 8, and 7. If pressed in numerical order, the level is activated.

Ancient Text 8.1

Galadil. Trapped long ago by the Ancients, Galadil knows who and what they were. He even mentions them by name: Aarakocra. If told about their fate, he may comment about how the world should reek more of death if they all died, even after all this time. He does, however, mention the smell of it coming from another part of the complex, referencing Room 20. Once out of the tube, he is too weak to be of any assistance. He says that he needs to be brought to the surface, to feel the warmth of Solm on his face, in order to find his strength.

Custom Alternative. If you are using the Basic Rules, you will not have access to the planetar (angel) statistics. His abilities are not important as he is weakened and cannot assist the characters in anything they do. All you need to know is that the characters cannot successfully lie to him.

Custom Alternative 2. In this setting, the aarakocra are used as the Ancient race of humanoids. Their name, and the idea of them being bird people, is not common knowledge. In your own setting, you can easily change the identity of the Ancients.

Sphere Drones

tiny construct, neutral

Armor Class 16 (metal shell)

Hit Points 17 (5d4 + 5)

Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft.

STR 6 (-2) DEX 16 (+3) CON 12 (+1) INT (-3) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 1 (-5)

Saving Throws Dexterity +5

Skills Perception +5

Damage Resistance cold, fire; piercing from non-magical weapons

Damage Immunities lightning, necrotic, poison, and psychic

Condition Immunities blinded, charmes, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, and unconscious

Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 15

Languages understands Ancient

Challenge 1 (+200xp)


Multiattack. The spehere drone makes two slam attacks, or one slam attack and one lightning blast attack.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack. +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6) bludgeoning damage.

Lightning Blast (rechard 5-6) Ranged Magic Attack: +5 to hit, ranged 30 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) lightning damage.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: The Path Splits

Ancient Complex: Room 5

5. Teleportation Junction

You find a wide chamber with a long, raised platform stretched across the back wall. Five plaques mark the positions of five teleportation circles, each glowing the same faint blue.

Circle 1. This circle leads to the experimentation lab in Room 9 where the characters learn a terrible secret. It also has a nice surprise waiting for them at their initial jump. The plaque reads “Research and Development” (see Handout 5-1).

Ancient Text 5.1

Circle 2. This circle leads to Room 13, a larger stretch of the complex, and eventually to the major project lab. The plaque reads “Major Projects” (see Handout 5-2).

Ancient Text 5.2

Circle 3. This circle leads to Room 7 and the energy conversion chamber that contains the power source wanted by the dwarves of Clan Arcanaxe. The plaque reads “Generator” (see Handout 5-3).

Ancient Ruins 5.3

Circle 4. This circle leads to the menagerie in Room 11, a mass collection of animal specimens taken and preserved. The plaque reads “Menagerie” (see Handout 5-4).

Ancient Text 5.4

Circle 5. This circle leafs to the teleportation chamber in Room 6 that can access the Crystal Caverns and Versimidor’s Chamber. The plaque reads “Crew Quarters” (see Handout 5-5).

Ancient Text 5.5

If the power source is removed, the now free creatures of the Menagerie have a chance to escape through this room. Roll a d20. On a result of 15 or higher, a random encounter occurs. Roll 2d6 on the random encounter table below. If you do not have access to the creatures listed, use one with a comparable Challenge Rating.

Random Encounter

Freed Menagerie Encounters

If the party takes too long deciding what to do or rests here, then 1d4 ghouls from Room 9 teleport into the room.

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Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: The Black Dragon

Ancient Complex: Rooms 2-42. Deep Into the Ruins

If this is the first time the party has teleported, read:

The bright flash leaves you blind for only a second before your eyes start to adjust.

This room is essentially identical to the teleportation room of Room 1, save for a single light crystal on the ground rather than in its bronze fixture North of the teleportation circle.

Plaque. A marble plaque hangs on the wall behind the teleportation circle. It is covered in Ancient script (see Handout 2-1). If translated through magic, it roughly reads “Lobby & Guest Facilities”.

Ancient Text 2.1

The door leads to a 30′ by 30′ four-way intersection. Each hall ends in double doors. A single light fixture hangs above the center of the intersection.

3. Versimidor Control Room

When the party enters this chamber, read:

You open the door to see a wide chamber illuminated with three crystal fixtures. Next to the doors are various shelving structures, barren and /or destroyed. Across the chamber, the top 3/4ths of the wall is a glass window; the room beyond is filled with darkness. Just below the window, stretched across the entirety of the wall, is a slanted marble panel covered in levers, switches, and dials. Only three sections of the panel are lit, each with a unique combination of switches, dials, and Ancient text.

This room is the place where the Ancients cared for the black dragon, Versimidor, back when he was a wyrmling. He is now ancient and furious about his imprisonment.

Panel 1. The lit panel on the left has Ancient text (see Handout 3-1) that translates into “Lights”.

Ancient Text 3.1

A dial indicates it it is pointing away from a sun-like icon. If the dial on panel 1 is turned to the sun-like icon, read:

The room on the other side of the glass lights up, revealing a massive natural chamber lit with a large cluster of light crystals above. The stalagmite covered floor of the chamber lies far below you, causing you to assume that the room you occupy sits in the center of a great rock wall.

If the party has not encountered Versimidor in his chamber, then read:

Suddenly, a dark form rises from below the window, filling your vision with an impossible wingspan. Its terrible, skull-like head covered in obsidian-black scales and flanked by two long, pointed horns, faces each of you in turn, gazing into your souls with glowing green eyes. Its jaws open, revealing rows of crooked, pointed teeth as it speaks.

The ancient black dragon, Versimidor, speaks in Draconic at first, but knows Common which he learned from a few “play things” that accidentally stumbled into his chamber many years ago.

Versimidor only wishes to be free, lying and making false promises if he has to in order to convince the characters to release him. If he is angered, he roars, pointlessly spraying acid at the window which is not affected by the attack, and flies off.

Panel 2. The center lit panel reads “Feed” in Ancient (Handout 3-2).

Ancient Text 3.2

If the level is pulled, a chute opens just left of the window, extending 12′ into the chamber. A collection of bones clatters down the shoot, whatever livestock that was once fed to Versimidor being long dead.

Panel 3. The right lit panel has Ancient text that reads “Canopy” (Handout 3-3).

Ancient Text 3.3

If the switch is flipped, the entire chamber starts to rattle and stalagtites fall from as a section of the ceiling opens like an iris. Trees, soil, and rocks fall into the chamber from above and Versimidor is freed. He knows this is how he can be released.

Versimidor. This ancient black dragon has spent almost all of his life within this chamber. Merely a wyrmling when he was captured, Versimidor’s first memories are that of the Ancients killing his mother and violently forcing him into the prison that would forever be his home. Since the disappearance of the Ancients, Versimidor has been feeding on whatever accidentally finds itself in his chamber. One such creature, a duergar, begged to be released and promised to send others in its place. In a rare moment of feeling merciful, the great black dragon released the creature and has been receiving tribute in the form of innocent svirfneblin ever since.

4. Destroyed Teleporter

Most of the dais and southwestern corner of the room has been destroyed. A light crystal that once belonged behind the dais is now on the floor in the northwest corner (marked with an X).

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The Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: Ancient Complex Rift Entrance

Part 2: The Ancient Complex

Verdinan Ruins: Level 2, the Ancient Complex

Built several lifetimes ago by the Ancients, this complex represents both the wonders and the horrors that the long lost race exposed to the mortal world. Experiments were conducted. Sentient and sapient creatures were imprisoned beside wild beasts and monstrosities as if they were not so different. Their arrogance is evident in their craft and their attempts at manipulating the universe.

Within the ruins, the characters are offered several opportunities to free large and powerful creatures. Their decisions in the dungeon could lead to wide spread consequences.

Wandering Monsters

If the players need to take a short or long rest within the Twisting Caverns, or take too long deciding what to do, roll 1d20. Due to the nature of the area, a random encounter only occurs on a roll of 19-20. If one does occur, roll 1d6 and consult the table below to see what creature stumbles upon them in the tunnels.

Random Encounters
Ancient Complex Random Encounter Chart

General Features

The air is old and musty, as if it hasn’t seen much use in centuries, which it hasn’t for the most part. However, the environment is otherwise comfortable to most characters.

Ceilings. The ceilings in this area, unless otherwise noted, reach 10 feet high and are comprised entirely of Ancient white marble.

Doors. Unless otherwise noted, the doors are all double doors, 7 feet wide, with geometric designs carved into its Ancient white marble. The doors are hinged along the top and bottom, allowing them to swing open in either direction.

Walls. A majority of the walls in the complex are composed of the same near-seamless white marble. Shallow and faded geometric designs decorate each stone block. Climbing the walls is a DC 20 Strength (Athletics) check.

Floor. The floors are all made of near-seamless white marble, covered in light, geometric designs. The decorations tend to border each individual block of marble.

Light. About every ten feet, a single bronze fixture hangs from the ceiling with small bronze chains. They give power to the Ancient Light Crystal held within them. The white walls reflect the light easily, allowing everything to be bathed in light.

Keyed Encounters

Check the map for all the keyed locations in level 2 of the Verdinan Ruins, the Ancient Complex.

Ancient Complex: Room 1

1. Rift Entrance

When a player character first enters the hall, read:

You find yourself in a short tunnel lit with a single Ancient light crystal fixture. A massive rift has collapsed the eastern side of the hall, causing it to fill with wind. The double doors to the West are covered in angular Ancient designs.

When a player character first enters the chamber, read:

The Ancient room is lit with crystals that line the walls. Directly ahead, against the far wall, is a raised dais that is only a couple of feet high. On it is a large, intricately drawn runic circle that glows a faint blue.

Light fixtures. These bronze fixtures line the walls and each hold an ancient light crystal. If the crystal is removed, the light is extinguished.

Teleportation circle. This well crafted, rune filled circle glows faintly, but not enough to emit light. A DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals it for what it is. If they roll a total of 20 or above, they determine that it is permanently tied to another circle roughly one to two miles North. Standing in the circle for twenty seconds activates the teleportation process. It pulses in bright light with increasing speed until there is a white flash. This circle leads to Room 2.

Plaque. A marble plaque hangs on the wall behind the teleportation circle. It is covered in Ancient script (see Handout 1-2). If translated through magic, it roughly reads “Versimidor Control Room & Teleportation Room”.

Ancient Text 1.1

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The Ancient Ruins of the West Wood: Interludes

Apologies for the rather late posting; I guess I was taking an interlude of my own. In any case, we’ll have this one today (Wednesday) and Friday, after which I think I’ll switch to a Tuesday/Thursday weekly release.

Interlude 1: Crystal Caverns

From Room 18 in the Twisted Tunnels, the characters could find themselves delving too deep, coming into the Crystal Caverns, a large underground forest of crystalline formations of various size and color. Within the Crystal Caverns is the small svirfneblin village of Geosyn.

The villagers have all been enslaved by a gang of duergar that call themselves the Ascenders. They are working their way slowly to the surface in order to conquer it one village at a time. They won’t admit it right away, but when they first encountered Geosyn, the duergar thought they had reached the surface.

The svirfneblin have been enslaved to work the crystal mines, building up the supply of spell crystals the duergar plan to use with all of their future raids. The duergar leader, Faux Irahl, is a wizard capable of feeding spells into the crystals.

When the player characters enter the Crystal Caverns, roll 1d20. On a roll of 11-20, they encounter an escaped svirfneblin slave named Ker Potom running from three duergar slavers. Ker screams for help when he spots the party, and runs toward them. Once all but one of the slavers have been dispatched, the final one will turn invisible and make a run for safety back in Geosyn.

Custom Alternatives: If you do not have access to the duergar stats, then have the slave running from five duergar thugs.

If the characters do not encounter the escaping slave, they find Geosyn, and are initially feared to be drow. Until they get closer, Medium sized creatures will sense fear and paranoia from both the svirfneblin, all hard at work at various chores, and the duergar, all keeping watch or lazily enjoying the day. Small sized characters will be treated with the same respect as slaves.

If Ker is encountered and rescued, he asks the characters to help him drive off the duergar and free his people. Any money earned or looted is in the form of Underdark stone coins. Ker also knows how to properly refine spell crystals, but cannot do so safely with the duergar occupation.

Interlude 2: Versimidor’s Cell

A tunnel from the Crystal Caverns leads to Room 6 of the Ancient Complex and eventually to a large cavern as described in Room 3.

If one or more characters ventures deep into the cavern, the ancient black dragon, Versimidor, appears from high above and blocks their exit. Noticing that they are not the usual svirfneblin that he is offered by Faux Irahl, he intends to use them to free him of his prison.

Versimidor knows that the control panel in Room 3 can open the canopy of his cell, and can direct the characters movements. If Versimidor recognizes any hint of deception, he can easily make an example of one of the characters, making a non-lethal bite attack on one of the party. If they have an expendable NPC with them, the dragon will eat that creature instead. Versimidor is also willing to keep a character hostage while the others complete the task, and will forget them once the canopy opens.

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