Do Enter

Background

Long ago a powerful extra-planar creature was sealed away in an Iron Flask. A small team comprised of a wizard, paladin, fighter, and an acolyte were transporting it to a secure location when their teleportation magic went awry. Stranded, injured, and without resources, they did their best to construct a secure vault to store the Iron Flask. They stayed and protected the vault for as long as they could before dying to their wounds. The wizard left behind a set of Programmed Illusions warning people off.

Some time later a group of kobolds were excavating a cavern and accidentally crashed through the vault’s walls. Over time they came to revere the Programmed Illusions, building up an entire social heirarchy around re-enactments of the long-dead heroes.

Adventure Summary

The characters enter the final resting place of an adventuring party to learn more information. There they will learn about what happened to the adventurers and meet a kobold clan that has taken up residence in the dungeon. At the end of the adventure they learn what became of the magic item the adventurers were protecting.

Adventure Hooks

In the course of previous adventures, the characters might have learned about a lost magical item that was used to seal a powerful demon, angel, fey, or elemental. Perhaps rumors spread of a cave with a glowing entryway.

Alternatively, you might consider any of the following hooks. Several involve a pending crisis, such that the characters are seeking the Iron Flask not just for their own benefit, but to prevent hardship to friends, family, or the common folk.

Pest Control. There have been reports of noise and stolen livestock coming from farmers near the cave. The farmers have come together to offer 50 gp to anybody that can help them resolve the crisis.

Gold Doubloons. Rumors have been circulating in the region about a glowing cave. Most people suspect a dragon of some kind and are dead-set on avoiding the area. You know what they say about dragons though, where there are dragons there is treasure.

Relic. An ancient order of historians have recently gained information leading them to believe there is a magical relic located in this cave. They lack a presence in the area, so they have offered the characters 100 gp if they can find new information.

Kobold Actors

The kobold leaders each reprise the role of one of the illusory figures. They are deeply committed to their roles pretending to be the long-dead adventurers. It has become a form of reverence for them.

The kobolds are amicable to peaceful interactions and may invite the characters to partake in a re-enactment of what happened to the four illusory adventurers.

Arrival

The entrance to the otherwise unassuming cave is illuminated by a flickering red glow. As the characters approach the glow winks out.

This unassuming cavern opening is bathed in a flickering red glow coming from inside. After a moment the red glow winks out and a young sheep exits the cavern.

Dungeon Locations

A1. Cavern Opening

Exposed rock forms the walls of this circular chamber. A thin stream of water cuts across the room. In the center of the room is a short pedestal.

When the characters approach the pedestal a Programmed Illusion is activated. It speaks in what seems to be several different long-dead languages.

A red illusory old woman in long robes leaning on a staff appears atop the pedestal in the center of the room. She begins speaking and gesturing emphatically.

One of the languages is an older dialect of Common. If a character succeeds on a DC 12 Intelligence (History) they are able to pick out a few recognizable words: Do, Enter, Dangerous, Powerful, Adventurer.

If the characters use magic to understand the illusion, the complete phrase is: “Do not enter, a dangerous and powerful demon has been imprisoned here. Turn back, adventurer.”

After 7 minutes pass the wizard’s monologue is interrupted.

An illusory woman in plate appears behind him and places an arm on his shoulder. The old woman stops talking and they rush toward a crevice in the wall together. The illusion blinks out.

After 3 more minutes pass the illusion appears again and starts over. It repeats every 10 minutes.

A2. Crumbling Passage

This narrow passage requires Medium or larger creatures to squeeze.

Crumbling stone presses down on all sides of this narrow passage. 

There is a kobold in the next room. Due to the unstable rocks, a DC 16 Dexterity (Stealth) check is required to avoid alerting them.

After the last character has passed through, the walls collapse.

A3. Stalagmite Chamber

A DC 16 Dexterity (Stealth) check is required to enter this room through the crumbling passage without alerting the kobold in this room.

If the kobold was alerted, it retreats quietly through A4 into A10 without triggering any traps.

If the kobold is surprised, the kobold flees loudly through A4 into A10 without triggering any traps. Read the following as the characters enter the room:

Sounds of a panicked yelp and scrambled footsteps echo through the room as a small creature scampers away. The sound of a stone door can be heard closing.

This cavern chamber is unoccupied. There is a small fire pit that dirt has been kicked over and a stone door on the far side of the room.

Large stalagmites rise in the center of the chamber, a pool of grimy water at their base. On the far side of the room there is a fire pit that’s been haphazardly covered with dirt and a solid stone door leading further east. The scent of cooked meat hangs in the air.
A colorful mural of a wizard, a paladin, a warrior, and an acolyte are scrawled onto the walls around the stone door. Each of the figures is painted in bright red, like the color of the Programmed Illusion in the cavern opening.

Crack in the wall. The crack in the northern wall that’s letting a stream of water through is too narrow to navigate for all but Tiny creatures.

Mural. The mural depicts the original occupants of this dungeon. A DC 12 Intelligence (History) or a DC 15 Intelligence (Religion) check reveals that the Paladin bears the iconography of an ancient order known as The Silver Eye. They were known for working alongside wizards and sorcerers capable of gleaning into the future to ward off threats before they could do harm.

Stone Door. A DC 10 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the stone is worn away about three (3) feet above the ground, where a Small creature would grab the door.

A4. Corrugated Hall

This hallway functions as a juncture between living quarters, water access, and the secured vault.

Water drips through the ceiling of this 15-foot wide by 65-foot long hallway, splashing onto uneven square tiles. The walls of the hallway are corrugated but otherwise smooth. At the end of the hallway is a stone door. The sound of running water can be heard to the north, at the far end of a natural tunnel carved out of the stone. To the south is a small room.

Dart Trap. If the characters move east into the hallway a Programmed Illusion is triggered.

A red illusory wizard appears at the beginning of the corrugated section of wall. She looks toward the characters, says “If you must enter, follow my footsteps” in perfect common, and smiles. She proceeds down the hallway by jumping on specific tiles, like a game of hopscotch, before her form dissolves at the end of the hall.

Characters that follow in the illusory wizard’s footsteps hear a click when they step on the third tile as the trap is triggered. The illusory wizard was intentionally baiting somebody into stepping onto a trapped tile.

A Medium or larger creature that steps on a trapped tile must make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to avoid being struck by a bolt. On a failure, they take 1d8 piercing damage and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 1d8 poison damage and become Poisoned.

A5. Watering Hole

This small chamber provides access to running water. The kobolds access the water further upstream, so they use this downstream point to dispose of waste.

Flowing water cuts through this natural cavern chamber. Makeshift buckets and cups lay near the water’s edge on the eastern side of the room. A wide, round eye is carved into the northern wall across the water.

The carved eye is a symbol of The Silver Eye. If a character touches the eye a Programmed Illusion is triggered. Read the following:

A red illusory wizard appears at the back of the room. A shimmering blue paladin and a yellow fighter appear at the water’s edge. The paladin and the fighter go through a routine, cleaning some food and collecting water. While they do this they talk quietly about the lives they will not return to, the families and friends they have been torn from. The wizard quietly turns away and the illusions dissipates.

A6. Living Quarters

This small room served as both a socialization space and a kitchen.

Seats and tables carved out of stone form a living area in the center of the room.

Three kobolds are hanging out in this room playing with two baby rams (Goat). If the characters approach with clear hostile intent the kobolds gather up the rams and attempt to flee through the hidden passage in A8.

An etching of a wide, round eye is on the underside of the table. The characters may discover it if they search the area and succeed on a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check. If the characters use an Investigation check or otherwise touch it read the following:

The room erupts with noise, a shimmering blue paladin and a green man in robes appear on opposite sides of the room shouting at one another in a dead language. They look old and tired. 

If a character is capable of understanding the language by magical means they gather that the two are arguing about whether or not they should open the Iron Flask to interrogate the creature held for information.

A7. Paladin’s Quarters

This room contains two kobolds that are pretending to be the long-dead paladin and her acolyte. The entrance to the room is trapped. If the kobolds become aware of the characters they attempt to flee through the secret door in the wizard’s quarters.

This room contains a bed carved out of the stone, padded with dirt and a decaying sleeping bag. A kobold, barely visible beneath a rusted plate chest-piece and helmet fit for an adult human, is standing on top of the bed facing the wall. A tattered yellow cape hangs off their armor. A second kobold dressed in old robes that swallow their form is standing beneath them on the ground billowing the cloak. The kobold in plate is shouting “Ahahah! Righteous! Victory! Powerrrr!!”

Wena VII. Wena (LN female kobold) is the seventh kobold to take up the role of the paladin. She is boisterous and self-righteous. She is wearing the long-dead paladin’s plate armor and has the following changes:

  • Their speed is reduced by half.
  • She also enjoys making her cape billow by running around.

She is easily impressed by any show of physical strength. A successful DC 10 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Deception) check is enough. Once impressed, she is eager to introduce you to the rest of the kobold clan.

Oldhelm XII. Oldhelm (LN female kobold) is playing the role of Wena’s acolyte. They are the twelfth kobold to take up the role and the most nuanced actor of the kobolds. They are dressed in tattered acolyte robes sized for an adult human and have the following changes while wearing the robes:

  • Their speed is reduced by half.
  • They have disadvantage on checks to avoid being grappled.

Doorway Trap. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals a tripwire at the bottom of the doorway. Characters that are aware of the trap can carefully step over it or intentionally trigger it. When the trap is triggered, any Medium or larger creatures standing in the doorway must make a DC 16 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or take 2d6 slashing damage as a greatsword swings into them.

A8. Wizard’s Quarters

Painted imagery of the illusory wizard cover the floor. A bed padded with dirt is carved out of the western wall. A table with various vials and wands strewn across it is carved out of the eastern wall. Muffled sounds of frenzied laughter can be heard through the walls.

Wands. A DC 10 Intelligence (Arcana) check reveals that none of the wands are magical. They are just sticks.

Maddened Laughter. A DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals that the laughter is coming through the southern wall.

Secret Door. A DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the secret door along the southern wall. If the characters succeeded on the Maddened Laughter skill check, they have advantage locating the secret door.

A9. Fighter’s Quarters

This room once belonged to Brolde, a fighter that accompanied the wizard Helia. Brolde XI (CN male kobold) is practicing maneuvers in this room.

A bed padded with dirt and torn blankets is carved out of the northern wall. Brightly painted weapons and armor are hazardously plastered to the eastern and southern walls. A lone kobold wearing rusted half-plate stands in the center of the room practicing battle maneuvers with a warhammer.

When the kobold becomes aware of the characters they attempt to play it cool.

The lone kobold slowly turns around, warhammer outstretched with one arm while they lower a smoldering wheat straw with the other. The kobold lets out a puff of smoke and declares, “well, well, well, who do we have here?” 

If the characters express interest in talking to Brolde XI, they demand that the characters demonstrate their strength. Brolde XI can be impressed by a show of physical prowess with a successful DC 11 Charisma (Athletics) or Charisma (Acrobatics) check. If impressed, Brolde XI will be eager to introduce the characters to the rest of the kobold clan.

Brolde XI. The eleventh kobold to take up the role of Brolde, a fighter. He spends most of his time training with weapons and armor. He takes the role a little too seriously. Despite their tough act, they have an acute fear of blood. They attempt to avoid combat and only deal non-lethal damage if they must fight.

A10. Vault Foyer

This room leads to the vault where the Iron Flask was kept. The stalagnate in the center of the room functions as a support column.

If the characters go out of their way to break the stalagnate the room collapses in on itself. The characters have one round to evacuate before taking 33 (6d10) bludgeoning damage.

A thick stalagmite dominates the center of this room, connecting the ceiling and floor. Its edges are sheared perfectly perpendicular to the ground. There is a corridor opening on the southern wall and a massive nondescript stone door on the eastern wall.

Closer inspection of the stone door reveals the following:

The stone door has the barest engraving of The Silver Eye’s symbol in the center of the door. 

The stone door is enchanted and requires the command phrase “Eyes wide, mind steady” to open.

All of the kobolds know the command phrase. If the characters have impressed one of the kobolds they will willingly share this information. Alternatively, a character can attempt a DC 14 Intelligence (History) check to recall information about The Silver Eye. On a success, they remember that “Eyes wide, mind steady” was their motto.

When the stone door’s command phrase is spoken read the following:

A perfectly straight line splits down the center of the massive stone slab, forming two doors.

The doors are perfectly balanced and push open easily.

A11. Shrine to the Oracle

Whatever purpose this room once held, it has since been transformed by the kobolds into a shrine to Helia and the Iron Flask.

Bright murals cover the walls of this room. The southern wall depicts the red illusory wizard holding the Iron Flask high above their head, golden scrawling emanating from it. The east and west walls shows the wizard in a twisted, tormented state without the Iron Flask. The smell of humanoid waste is strong in this room.

A12. Secret Study

This room was used by Helia to record horrific and violent visions, namely those concerning the Iron Flask. It is clear from looking at the walls that the oracle was deeply troubled.

When the characters enter either hallway read the following:

Etched writings and illustrations fill every inch of the walls. The etchings grow denser deeper into the hallway. Some of the etchings appear to move. The stench of waste and a kobold’s laughter can be heard from a room down the hall.

Characters that keep their eyes open while traversing the hallway must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or become Frightened for 1 minute.

If the characters reach the square room at the junction of the hallways read the following:

A kobold wearing a patchy pointed hat sits in the center of the room, laughing uncontrollably. The smell of rotting food and waste are coming from a bucket in the southeast corner of the room. 
The kobold looks toward the characters as they enter and begins eagerly shouting gibberish. 

The kobold is named Helia IV. If the characters try to remove her waste bucket she will break character and reprimand them for disrupting the scene. She can be impressed by succeeding on a DC 10 Charisma (Deception) or Charisma (Performance) check to play along with the madness. Once impressed, she is eager to introduce them to the rest of the kobold clan.

Helia IV. The fourth kobold to take up the role of Helia, the oracle. She spends a great deal of time in the wizard’s secret study pretending to be mad with visions of the future. She plays up the role with discordant laughter broken up by brief thoughtful mutterings.

A13. Vault

This room houses the Iron Flask.

A stone pedestal rises in the center of the room. Resting on top of it is an Iron Flask, its top wide open. The skeletal remains of Wena are carefully laid out in front the pedestal. The eastern wall of the room is broken in, revealing a natural stone passage behind it.

The Iron Flask is considered a holy object by the kobolds. They will not depart with it peacefully.

A14. Kobold Living Area

This large open chamber is where most of the kobolds live. There are eight kobolds and five kobold children. The kobolds living here stole livestock from the farmers nearby but they are making a self-sufficient herd for themselves. There are 14 sheep and rams (using the Goat stat block) milling about the room as well.

A few scattered stalagmites tower 20 feet into the air in this large chamber. Huts crafted out of stone and wood fill the ground floor. Kobold adults and children casually mingle here, occasionally interacting with the sheep that mill about.

If the characters have managed to impress one of the kobold actors they are brought to a clearing in the center of the room. Shortly afterwards the other kobold actors arrive. Any actors have not already met the characters introduce themselves.

The actors invite the characters to stay and watch them act out a play for Our Most Revered. They impress upon the characters that it is an important and monumental day. If the characters agree to stay they can spend some time interacting with the kobolds that live here. In the evening a few small fires are set up in the clearing as they prepare to put on a show. Read the following to describe the play:

The kobold actors stand on wooden planks set over the ground. Each steps out and introduces themselves, inviting adulation from the crowd before them. The crowd settles down as the play begins.

If the characters do not interrupt the play read the following:

The play goes on for five hours, granularly expanding on every morsel of information the kobolds have been able to glean from the illusions. The adventurers crash-landed here, used magic to carve out this tomb, and then slowly succumbed to infighting, madness, and death. At the end of the performance the kobolds step back out in their costumes and make an announcement.
Wena VII declares “Tonight is a special occasion! On this night we will all meet Our Most Revered!”
Oldhelm XII steps forward and raises their hand. “I wish for the red wizard Helia to join us in life!”

Oldhelm XII uses a Ring of Three Wishes with one charge remaining to cast wish. The casting is successful, though the results are unusual. The spell has given life to one of the Programmed Illusions.

A bright red glow blinks into existance in front of Oldhelm XII. Its light coalesces into the form of the illusory Helia. All of the kobolds drop to their knees, heads bowed toward Helia.
The red shimmering Helia puts her hands up to her face first. She examines herself carefully before looking out at everyone else in the room. She asks simply “Who am I?”

The kobolds are ecstatic about the success of the spell and quickly begin answering its questions about who Helia was and what they accomplished.

The characters are free to interact with the sentient Helia illusion, though it is less familiar with the world than they are.

Our Most Revered. The Programmed Illusion of Helia that has been given life by a wish spell. They do not know who they are or why they are here. They might lash out in their confusion if the characters press them with hostility. They use the Sage stat block with the following additions to their spell list:

  • 1st level: Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Identify, Protection from Evil and Good
  • 2nd level: Arcane Lock, Magic Aura
  • 3rd level: Glyph of Warding, Tiny Hut
  • 4th level: Fabricate, Locate Creature
  • 5th level: Dream, Telepathic Bond
  • 6th level: Programmed Illusion

Kobold Children. Kobold children are much smaller than their adult counterparts. They demonstrate kobolds’ affinity for magic. Kobold children generally know how to perform at least one harmless cantrip. Kobold children will playfully grapple and tug on friendly adults to show them neat things they’ve found or built; It might be cool bugs, a neat rock, a coin collection, or something else.

Their spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 8, +0 to hit with spell attacks). A kobold child knows one of the following cantrips, chosen at random:

Control Flames, Druidcraft, Gust, Minor Illusion, Mold Earth, Control Water

A15. Kobold Watering Hole

This large open room serves as a fresh water source for the kobolds. Some food is also kept here.

A16. Underground Stream

The underground stream connects the kobold watering hole (A15) to the kobolds’ treasure hoard (A17), several private rooms for the actors (A18-21), A5, and underneath the cavern entrance (A1). The stream pushes creatures west at a gentle 5 feet per round.

The rocky barrier between the stream and A1 is thin. A creature can break through on a successful DC 12 Strength (Athletics) check. A Small or Tiny creature can squeeze through with a successful DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.

A17. Treasure Hoard

The kobolds keep treasure they have collected here.

Treasure. This room contains 47 gp, 285 sp, 124 cp, a large pile of pretty rocks with no material value, and 1 ruby worth 25 gp.

A18. Wena VII’s Room

The walls of this room are painted with imagery of a kobold Wena leading a kobold clan to safety. The depiction of Wena has wings and is flying. Bits of plate armor rest against the western wall.

The plate boots, greaves, and arms of Wena’s armor are located here.

A19. Oldhelm XII’s Room

The walls of this room are painted with imagery of a kobold Oldhelm patiently meditating, surrounded by sheep. Soggy books sit against the southern wall.

A20. Brolde XI’s Room

The walls of this room are painted with imagery of a kobold Brolde fending off aggressive humans. Various homemade weapons and armor are scattered throughout the room.

A21. Helia IV’s Room

The walls of this room are painted with imagery of a kobold Helia, a variety of dark and hopeful scenes exploding from her head.

This room contains Helia’s spellbook. The book contains the following spells:

  • 1st level: Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Identify, Protection from Evil and Good
  • 2nd level: Arcane Lock, Magic Aura
  • 3rd level: Glyph of Warding, Tiny Hut
  • 4th level: Fabricate, Locate Creature
  • 5th level: Dream, Telepathic Bond
  • 6th level: Programmed Illusion

At your discretion some of the pages of this book may be missing, rendering select spells of your choice unavailable for learning.

Concluding the Adventure

Hopefully the characters enjoyed the process of learning about the dungeon and its inhabitants.

Pest Control. The kobolds are trying to build a self-sufficient herd and will express that if pressed about the theft. If peaceful terms are established between the kobolds and the farmers, they might live in an uneasy co-existence.

Gold Doubloons. If the characters express interest in gold and impress a majority of the actors, the kobolds will part with 50 gp from their hoard.

Relic. The kobolds won’t knowingly give up the Iron Flask peacefully, but the characters might trick them or grab it and run. If the characters pursued this hook, the order will be deeply concerned that the Iron Flask has been opened. Perhaps whatever extraplanar entity escaped from it has begun stirring up trouble.