Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What In God's Name Is Going On In Chamber K?

So, as regular readers may remember, yesterday I picked up this imaginary D&D module.

Well I've been flipping through it and taking notes and I got into the "Chambers" section (p. 6-15, after the interlocking NPC-motivation tables) and, fuck me, pages 7 and 8 are missing. So I have no idea what the fuck the diagram in this 2-page spread is supposed to mean.

Does anybody have this module? (Yeah yeah, I checked all the file-sharing sites--it's hard to find scans of it since it only exists in an alternate universe.) Can anybody fill me in on what's supposed to be going on here?

(And, incidentally, so far, even leaving out Chamber K, this module has me completely baffled, so if you ran it successfully and have any tips, I'll take 'em.)


  1. Well, it's been a long time. But IIRC, the Fractal Epidermis (Room k) had a very weird geometry.

    It was the Node of the Cancer God himself (k6) and His games of dark reflections: the seductive Aishapra Mata (the Type V Demon, k2) was split from her innocent aspect (the Prisoner in the Shroud).

    The Polymorphous Doozers of the CellForge (k1) made the subatomic Growing Golems (k4) but they were always disrupted by the chaotic gremlins of Rumpelstiltsteel the MechaTroll (k5).

  2. Ah yes, the Liminarium. This isn't actually a chmaber in the dungeon itself but rather an interstitial plane that you will be transported to if, as is fairly likely, you try to dispell illusions in any of chambers B thru J (F obviously excluded). L-Gansch (k2, a demon) and the Unbidden King (k6- either you never find out what he is or I've forgotten) have been playing a form of chess for centuries using the automata (k4); the architecture you see in the main image surrounds the board.

    Involving your party in the game on one side or another as game pieces - the initially obvious idea, sweetened by attractive offers made by both players - leads not to breaking the stalemate and escaping, but rather to gradual and inevitable infection by the K1 fungus, which rots the body and then scabs over to eventually produce more automata, who are themselves consigned as scrap to k3 when destroyed.

    Impelling the Automata (including, ideally, cannibalised ones from k3 scrap) to revolt and abandon the game is the only certain way out, as both gameplayers fear the Automata; killing both L-Gansch and the Unbidden King without aid is a possibility but hard for a party of the anticipated level. Either way, the party is transported back to the room they were in.

    K5 is an air elemental who haunts the extremely high vaulting of the room, as a nasty surprise for those trying to get out that way.

    As far as Chamber K goes, consider the mindfuck a test for the party rather than you.

  3. Well of course at this point in the adventure the PCs have actually entered one of the layers of the Abyss, coterminous with Chamber K. This particular layer is known as Painbloom, for reasons which will (maybe) become clear.

    The layer is an endlessly repeating series of towers on both floor and ceiling. Gravity is away from the center line and towards both "grounds" (the module has all these rules for what happens if you try and balance between gravities, but I'm sure you can make up something just as good...I think they should have used that space for more monster stats, BUT anyway...). The ground is actually a mass of spongy fungus, going down infinitely (or perhaps until it becomes another Abyssal layer). See the rules on page 9 for infection by spores.

    So the darker cupola kind of things are actually Eel Shrines, one of which is pictured in k3; however, k3 also is the location of the SPECIFIC Eel Shrine at which the PCs arrive when they take the teleporter in Chamber G. The Iron Tower nearby houses Fell-Arinis (k2), the demoness who carries the key the PCs need in Chamber M. The Eels hunt 18 hours out of every 25, then they return to the Shrines to worship and fornicate for the rest of the time; see Table 16, Fornicating Eel Reaction Modifiers.

    While Iron Tower k3 has been taken over by Fell-Arinis, most of them are bases for the Ironworker Army (k4). The Ironworker Army roams the layer seeking out metal and using it to build more soldiers. If left unchecked, they would tear down everything and build Iron Towers everywhere, but they keep getting interrupted by...

    The Metalheads (k5). These guys are basically ogres but they are skilled at making weapons and a sort of arcane-bionics. They keep attempting to exterminate the Ironworkers and melt them down. They are all male.

    The fungus that makes up much of the layer pokes up in Fungal Blooms (k1) every now and then. Any loose organic matter in the layer (those eel orgies get messy) gets digested and turned into giant mushrooms (on which eels and Metalheads subsist, though both are perfectly happy to eat meat). Also, the Blooms occasionally cause new Metalheads to grow through a kind of cloning process, using genetic material from dead ones; the Metalheads pop out of giant flowers. (That's why there's an entry for "Budding Heads" on Wandering Monster Table 34). Inorganic material is left alone, EXCEPT for iron and iron alloys, which is digested and turned into "metal flowers" (k1). These flowers are harvested by both Ironworkers and Metalheads.

    This whole process is overseen by Shadow Priests (k6), who live in the steeples above the Eel Shrines. These were once mortal wizards who sacrificed loved ones in pursuit of life-twisting magicks; their eternal punishment for this sin is to oversee the twisted life cycle of Painbloom, inhabiting undead bodies imprisoned in tiny towers.

    ...So anyway, while there's a pretty straightforward way through this area if the PCs are smart, there's also more than enough opportunity to distract them.

  4. Okay, first off, it's not just you: the entire first printing missed these pages, and because the notes were also lost, the second and subsequent printings had content written by someone other than the module author — most likely one of the senior editors at TSR at the time, but whom has never been determined — and which doesn't really fit in with the rest of the module. That does mean you have a first printing, so congrats, in a way, I guess.

    Secondly: As near as the nerd brain trust has been able to work out, the original concept for this involved various ghostly soldiers (the main picture shows their janissary-type helmets perched on their invisible heads), whose minds had to be entered via the Dream Machine in Chamber R, in order to decipher the truth of the events behind the Prince's Death, which also turned them into ghosts. As you know, this isn't actually necessary to "win" the module, but it's a great help in the encounter with the Prince, and significantly increases the odds of them being able to deal with him without a very hard fight. Apparently this was supposed to be the way the PCs could learn to use the Halo of Tar, so if you've been wondering what the author was thinking, this is what.

    Anyway, the pictures apparently illustrate which minds contain tableaus of which events; it's not clear why the DM needs to know this, but it probably has to do with selecting targets for the Dream Machine. What is known is that each mind worked as its own encounter area; the automaton knights (K4) picture represent those minds that have memory fragments of the battle itself — you should be able to find the stats for the Clockwork Knights in the appendix in back — to which the PCs would find themselves transported, the soldier indicated by K2 remembers the enemy general, the Prince's wife, whom the PCs must fight in the dream (this was specifically mentioned in an interview with the author in 2005), and so on.

  5. Module X2: "Don't Look, Just Run!"

    PART I

    Players wake up in a dungeon prison, their fates in their own hands...until they come across this chamber.

    Chamber K is a wide, empty stone room (30ft by 70ft), whose only noteworthy feature is the immense, intricate relief on the far wall (the main image in the diagram).

    Players can either take their best guess as to what the large stone relief is, or, on a successful Intelligence check (difficult) they can roll on this d6 chart:

    1. Relief of a mirror city, spoken of long ago.
    2. A long lost art carving by a famous gnome lunatic.
    3. A map depicting the path to exit the dungeon.
    4. An amalgam of famous religious sites, like an alter.
    5. A magical font, able to channel power to...something.
    6. Something deliberately constructed to distract/confuse prisoners.

    DM chooses which of these six (or none) is the most correct.

    Now, k1 through k6 are figures carved into the relief. A successful Arcana/Intelligence roll (difficult) tells the PCs that each figure is magical in nature. Touching each of them will do the following:

  6. Module X2: "Don't Look, Just Run!"


    k1: The Impossible Fungus. Touching this bristling collection of spores changes the figure into real organic fungus. Ingesting or applying the fungus to one's skin will do one of the following: roll a d10

    1. PC turns yellow. Smells of daisies.
    2. PC takes 2d4 damage.
    3. PC's sense of smell heightened while in the dungeon.
    4. PC falls in love with the first person he/she sees.
    5. PC grows 1d6 horns from their head.
    6. PC now has 'spider climb', but hungers for insects.
    7. PC is stunned.
    8. PC falls unconcious, dreams about finding a key.
    9. PC's stomach/body inflate until completely round. Can now float a foot off the ground.
    10. PC instantly gains 150lbs, ruining clothing/armor.

    k2: Whispering Figure. This silver figure of a six-armed goddess is no bigger than your thumb. When held close to one's ear, it whispers advice on how to escape the dungeon. The advice is terrible. Worth 3d4 silver pieces.

    k3: Room of burnt things. Touching this figure will transport the PCs to another place in the dungeon. A large, high ceiling room filled with burnt remains of things: wood, bodies, weapons, clothing, animals. All reduced to ash and blackened shapes. All four walls of this room are armed with magical flame traps (difficult). PCs can disable the traps or escape through the far window.

    k4: Tin soldiers. These figures can be removed. They are not magical or valuable in any way. Just small tin soldiers. They're pretty cool though.

    k5: Troll Banshee. Touching this figure will summon a troll banshee. It wails cries of euthinasia and attacks. The module suggests that the banshee be appropriately strong to your party's level.


  7. Module X2: "Don't Look, Just Run!"


    k6: Throne of Death. Touching this figure transports the PCs to the skull-throne of Death him/herself. Death is surprised and amused to have a party of adventurers appear before him/her, and will entertain them for a while if they wish.

    Death says that it will offer the PCs a boon in exchange for both news of current events and the answer to a riddle. Death only awards his boon to those who answer correctly on the first try. It kills PCs who are wrong.

    Riddle: I know a word of letters three. Add two and fewer it will be.
    Answer: Few.
    (The module suggests creating your own riddle if the one above is too easy).

    Death also serves tea and cookies. Eating them will result in death, though they are delicious. If a PC dies, Death will resurrect them with all of their knowledge/experience intact, though in a different body. Have each player who dies roll on this resurrection table:

    Roll a d10:
    1. Elf
    2. Gnome
    3. Dwarf
    4. Halfling
    5. Half-elf
    6. Tiefling
    7. Half-orc
    8. Dragonborn (or equivalent)
    9. Human
    10. Half-giant

    Roll a d10 for sex:
    1-4. Male
    5-8. Female
    9-10. Hermaphrodite

    (The module suggests that if you have your own custom resurrection table, then use it).

    Death's reward is a reprieve from dying in the future. When the PC that wins this boon dies, they come back to life in their current body ten minutes later. Death only awards this once and to only one PC. Once it has been one or all the PCs fail, Death returns them to Chamber K.


    I thought this chamber was a lot of fun, though it did strike me as a bit of a dead end.

  8. No clever comments from me (as usual) but that's some awesome clip art -- is that a John Blanche painting (the creepy dwarf with spikes for feet) and I see Ral Partha's mechanical knights.

  9. The leech pool contained the politest leeches I've ever eaten. The lichethrone was a dick, though—Statler and Waltdorf and that drunk uncle who thinks he's funny time times a million.

    This is one of the sections where GM charisma is the key to pulling it off–if none of the NPCs come off as interesting enough to talk to instead of fighting/running away from them, then they'll never figure their way out of it.

    We didn't meet half this shit, though, since our M-U/hireling teratocluster chased us through the ocular mirrors too fast for us to really stop and play with the folding system. Frying the halfling with Shocking Grasp only got us five questions worth of channelling before he got toasted.

  10. A helpful diagram of the board game puzzle in Chamber K. 'Coronation of Fools' is similar to chess except that it is totally different. The game is in the final moves and the players must find a way to solve the puzzle by having BOTH of the 'Faceless Monarchs' destroyed simultaneously -and within the next 7 moves. The full rules are included in the back of the module.

  11. Cave of 11 Paradoxes, Chamber K
    In this room the ancient, warped city-magic of the sorceresses of the fifth circle seeped into the water, creating a bizarre type of microscopic mold. The mold was deposited by water dripping around the cave, but instead of forming stalagmites and stalactites it organizes itself buildings and other inanimate features of civilization (down to textures, locks and hinges for doors, transparent panes for windows). As a result the whole cave is glittering with magic; if anyone casts detect magic within the room, the magical feedback is so strong he/she must make a saving throw vs spell or be paralyzed for 1-6 turns. Once the character comes to, or immediately if the save succeeded, he or she recognizes that the cave is made of magic, but thousands if not millions of tiny enchantments. It would be take a lifetime of spellcasters to dispell all of them.

    If a sample of the stalagmites or stalactites is taken, in the hands of any of the following characters or hirelings it can strong powers:
    1. Alchemist - produces 1-3 bottles of one randomly rolled potion.
    2. Apothecary - can be cooked into an oil that can remove curse, 1-3 uses per sample.
    3. Cleric - can be made into a power that causes a small city to spring if resurrection is cast on it.
    4. Druid - the influence of civilization causes the druid's wisdom to drop 3 points for the purposes of Chance of Spell Failure, but if the sample is put into a bag and properly abjured, it will protect the surrounding wilderness for 300 yards radius per level of the druid from encroachment by civilization.
    3. Illusionist (level 12 or better) - can be made into a power which, if blown in the direction of an enemy, creates a prismatic spray.
    4. Magic-user (level 12 or better) - it can be worked into a magic weapon via enchant an item to enable the weapon to do normal damage against structures, or used to make a magical ink that causes spells written with it to grow and change. The next time the ink is read to acquire or cast the spell (as from a scroll), roll 1d8 (if a spell should be below level 1, make it 1. If a spell should be above the highest possible level, use the highest possible level):
    1-2. Randomly chosen spell 1 level below the one written.
    3-5. Randomly chosen spell of same level as one written
    6. Randomly chosen spell of same level, but from cleric list instead of magic-user (still usable by magic-user).
    7. Randomly chosen spell 1 level above the one written.
    8. Spell remains the same, but adds the effect of a random spell 2 levels below to its effect whenever cast.
    Sage: wants to study the substance, and trades for it a bundle of fragrant, dried leaves. The leaves can be made into a tea that gives a relaxed feeling and alleviates the need for sleep for one day, but if the bundle is worn as a charm, the character has AC 0 as long as he or she is stark naked.

    K1: Here is an active colony of the mold. If the players go within 2" of

  12. ctd

    here, they must make a save vs poison or be infected with the fungus. The mold slowly takes over their body, gradually turning flesh into brick, mortar, wood, and stone, and causing the character to become listless and eventually just stand in place, taking the form and function of a small building or piece of furniture--a shack, perhaps, or an armoire. Remove curse will remove the effect if they have not yet come to the final stage, although the subject will have an everlasting loathing of cities and other acoutrements of civilization.

    K2: This stalagmite formed in the shape of a pentagon, which trapped the unfortunate type V demon for thousands of years. She has some knowledge about the other inhabitants of the cave, but not a great deal. If freed, she will a small favor or gift, or answer one question truthfully, but if there is a party member of either sex with charisma above 15, she will offer a large favor (up to a limited wish) or gift (major magic item), or answer five questions truthfully in exchange for that person's soul. If the offer is accepted, the person is under an unremovable curse for the rest of his life so that all of his actions will serve his true master, the demons of the Abyss. This could have interesting repercussions if the players attempt to confront Burc.
    Zyzygy, Type V demoness
    AC -7/-5, hp: 40, 2 x scimitar, 2 x longsword, 1x broadsword +1, +3 vs humans, 1x battle axe +3; scroll of control undead, 2500 gp ruby, brazer of summoning fire elementals, necklace of prayer beads

    K3: A pile of broken weapons. Many millennia ago, two warring armies of underground humanoids now long extinct made a truce here and broke all their weapons as proof of their vow (cheaters on both sides induced the gods to punish the oath-breakers with extermination). The only intact weapon is a rusty spear with inscrutable runes carved into its haft; if the haft is broken, the other weapons are restored. Most of the weapons are nonmagical -1 items, but there are 2 swords of backbiting, a quiver of 20 arrows of the hawk, and a flail of penance (see Appendix B for the latter two). If the spear is not broken, but kept, it serves as a noncursed -1 weapon that can hit monsters requiring magical or silver weapons, and once a week allows the wielder to impose a geas.

  13. ctd...

    K4: Two paladins, the obscurely legendary Knights of Yû, went on a quest to test their valor and see which of them was more courageous and strong. Unfortunately, sense of direction was not part of their contest, and they got hopeless lost in the Kingdom. They wish to resolve the debate there and then, otherwise they cannot turn back, but because of the Code of Paladinhood they cannot fight each other for petty reasons. If the players have Hatkant with them, it will trick them into accusing each other of violating the Code and fighting; left to their own devices they kill each after 4-24 rounds of combat. If Hatkant is not present, they will offer to fight the PCs one and then the other, accepting the PCs' judgement of who is stronger. However, in their desire to win, they will never give up and continue fighting until killed or incapacitated (although they will spare their opponents). In any event, afterwards if either survives, he is deprived of paladinhood for selfishness and needless combat, heading home dejected or joining the PCs if they ask.
    1. Yu, Knight of Yû (7th level paladin)
    S: 16 I: 11 W: 13 D: 10 C: 13 Ch: 17 hp: 39
    Suit of full plate, shield (AC 1), +2 warhammer

    2. Yuu, Knight of Yû (6th level paladin)
    S: 18/44 I: 9 W: 13 D: 14 C: 15 Ch: 17 hp: 43
    Suit of full plate, shield (AC 1), heavy horse lance, short sword, paladin's warhorse

    K5: The Murderbarian guards the chest of reverse-gravity potions that will allow the PCs access to the top side of the room. He was a sorcery-hating normal barbarian that came to kill the Hekcrxcz the Hooded, but was so thoroughly dominated by his adversary that he was powerless to stop his will be drained away and his body subverted to the purposes of Hekcrxcz. His current task is just to guard the chest, which he does with ruthless effectiveness. He attacks the PCs on sight, only a gibbering moan suggesting to them the horrors his unsophisticated mind endured and continues to endure. He attacks with two claws for 1-6/1-6, or his +2 scimitar for 1-8. On a to-hit roll of natural "1", he flies into an insane murderous rage that allows him to deal double damage with his claws, as well as kicking with a spiked foot and biting with his insane tongueless mouth for 1-4 each. He devours the corpses of those he slays at his leisure.
    Hraulf, the Murderbarian (Barbarian level 7)
    S: 18/88 I:— W:— D: 17 C: 16 Ch: 3 hp: 60
    Leather armor (AC 2), +2 scimitar

    K6: On the top side of the chamber is the throne room of Hekcrxcz the Hooded, an wizard so obsessed with death he wishes to become a lich and inhabit the lich-keep (not knowing the keep's true nature, of course). A skull-topped lever by his throne opens the passageway to King Burc's Citadel, allowing the PCs to escape the nasty half of the caves if they so choose. At Hekcrxcz's feet lies the preserved corpse of his lover, dead these 200 years. It is for her memory he seeks to become a powerful undead, enabling him to remember her as she was, young, beautiful, and full of life, forever.

    Hekcrxcz may be willing to negotiate with the PCs, since his plans and theirs don't intersect much. He is mostly interested in gems and vials of blood, although information may also be of use to him. If, however, the PCs reveal they have already defeated or released the lich-keep, or have done so and fail wisdom checks on a d20, Hekcrxcz becomes very cross and attacks the PCs mercilessly.
    Hekcrxcz the Hooded (10th level magic-user)
    S: 11 I: 19 W: 15 D: 9 C: 9 Ch: 12 hp: 31
    Bracers of defense (AC 2), staff of withering, 12000 gp worth of precious gems, phylactery of long years, spellbook
    Spells: he tends to favor darkness, shield, ray of enfeeblement, invisibility, haste/slow, lightning bolt, polymorph self/other, cone of cold, conjure elemental.

  14. The 11th Chamber
    The Hand That Feeds
    The Gnawing Eyes

    To enter the 11th Chamber of the Hand That Feeds, one must merely gaze upon the black velvet painting that hangs upon the back wall of Arch Desecrate Shakle's study.

    This parallel reality is a mobius strip. Traveling towards the left on what appears to be the bottom half of the image finds one in due time walking on the upper right portion. This up and own representation is merely a trick of the mind due to the limited capacity of prime material sentience to grasp the infinite space.

    This world is an infiite representation of the repetitive desires of the Nightmare. The towered structures the dot the landscape

    At K1 rise the Pillars of Viralmenstruality - A viral religious concept that became sentient over the eons. Contact with the Pillars will infect the unwary, who wll become zelous procreators of the virus. Seeking to infect any and all they come in conact with through copulation.

    K2 is the Abode of Qellmaset, Naga Queen, the Pleasurer of the Six Orafices. She wields 6 objects of perversity that she uses upon her lovers or those she ensraes with her alluring charms and decadent promises.

    K3 The Effluence of Distilled Hate - ornate catch basins, not unlike great churches hold this thick bilge of seeting anger, oozing emnity and lecherous loathing. It is rumored that in this septic landscape the key to freedom from this world may lie.

    K4 The Order of Knights Eternal - Clockwerk Knights who seek to defeat the Nighmare. Created by the lost wizard Azektane, now long dead, they continue to follow the strict Code of Chivalextalion. Do not anger the knights, few who do ever live to speak of it.

    K5 The RedCaps - Gnomish zealots somehow immune to the effects of the Viralmenstruality. Spiked boots and claws of iron are their weapons. They constantly seek blood to soak their caps in. If the blood staining their caps dries out, they perish. Viscious, murderous and without mercy or conscience.

    K6 The Fane of the Nightmare - Upon the Dias of Skel sits the Nightmare, Lord Master of this Realm, at his feet a hapless beauty sleeps. Defeat of the Lord is Impossibe as the true master of this plane is the sleeping girl Alilytha. How one can awaken her from her slumber is a mystery, not even the millenial efforts of the Order of Eternal Knights have brought this about.