Two Page Mini Delves: The Crypt of Titch

This article is (potentially) part of a new series where I give experienced DMs a two page,  fully fleshed out delve that can easily be dropped into any campaign, at any level.

If you follow the Weekly Roundup, you know that I’ve mentioned the Dungeon Geomorph Dice a few times. One of the artists who contributed to the dice, Dyson Logos, has his own blog where he frequently posts hand drawn maps without any real background or adventure attached.  In fact, there are several such artists out there, drawing maps for fun.  These maps, I decided, need a purpose.  I wanted to create something small and easy for DMs to drop into their campaign, and I wanted it to be usable by as many people as possible.  (Here is the original post in which Dyson presents the map I’ve used for this delve.)

My philosophy behind the two page delve is simple: create something ultra simple that anyone can drop into their campaign.  Keep it to two pages (or less): one page holds the map, background, and room by room description, while the second page holds any stat blocks necessary.  As you will see in a moment, those stat blocks will generally only be traps or diseases, not monsters.

Here’s the semi-revolutionary part

The adventure is meant to be level agnostic, so all I’ve listed for combat encounters is the “reskin name,” monster type, and special attacks (if any) you may want to add.  Listing the monster type will allow you to steal and reskin a similar monster of the appropriate level from any of the monster manuals (or use this if you want to quickly level up something on the fly). In the future, I may include the “quick and dirty” level adjuster, but for now I want to see how it goes over.  The adventure background is vague, but complete (no, that’s not a contradiction, I swear) and contains enough gaps to fit into your setting and allow for some embellishment.  If this particular adventure is well-received, I will do more (I may even start making my own maps).

 This is a very simple delve – there are only two combats and a trap, and they are meant to be fast and furious.  The point of the delve is twofold: for the PCs to find the weapon that they are looking for, and also to discover the “dirty secret” that the father had been hiding.  I hope you enjoy; you can download the delve here.
EDIT: The PDF has been updated (8/22/11) to reflect a somewhat cleaner format, and a few small tweaks based on feedback.

This is a working project that I am actively seeking feedback on.  Please leave comments.  Is this something you would find useful?  Too vague? Requires too much DM prep?  What would you add/subtract?  What’s unclear?  Almost any feedback is welcome!

11 thoughts on “Two Page Mini Delves: The Crypt of Titch

  1. C. Steven Ross (@CStevenRoss)

    Benoit,

    Excellent! I’m using this immediately with my regular Sunday game. This is another great advance in dealing with the D&D “arms race” of escalating monster stats met by equally escalating dungeoneer stats and complexity.

    Reply
    1. Benoit Post author

      Thanks, I’m very interested in how it goes for you; especially if you got hung up anywhere, or if anything was confusing/hard to underdstand/hard to use. I’m open to refining the format more if it’s needed.

      Reply
  2. Domino Writing

    I like the idea, but I would suggest you take it a little further (doors are made of?, walls are?, lighting, etc.). If you’re using 4e as the base, you should definitely have the squares marked off, since miniatures movement is so important – maybe say how big a room is (X squares by Y squares).

    Reply
  3. Ed

    Good job Benoit. Looking forward to using this (and future ones) in a few one-off sessions with my group. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
  4. Maître de guilde

    Simply Awesome,

    I look forward to drop this first Two Page Delve into our oncoming D&D yearly weekend at the end of the month.

    I’ll let you know how it went.

    Cheers

    Reply
  5. C. Steven Ross

    Ben-Wa,

    We hit up this gem earlier today and it was a blast. Contrary to some popular wisdom, I found the lack of squares and defined sizes to be liberating and useful; different systems and different levels require different spacing. I used Dungeon Tiles and slapped them down lickity split, making the rooms the sizes that felt appropriate. I ran this fora 16th Level group, using a Stone Golem (from the Monster Vault) in the place of the brutes at the end, and put in an Abyssal Ghoul Devourer (Lurker 16; Monster Vault) inside the mistress’ sarcophagus and they worked out great. The Lurker was intended to make any combat a notch more deadly by slipping in a nasty critter in the back lines; however, the dungeoneers were crafty, patient, and smart, taking out the ghoul 1-on-1 when it was little threat. They felt really proud of themselves, as they should!, and rewarded when they were able to use their brains to gain a very significant tactical advantage.

    I made the final reward, the weapon, a magic ring that fit well into the overall campaign story, and quickly popped in some treasure-parcel-appropriate bling for the tomb robbers in the group to steal. The descriptions of the rooms were well done, and provided a good framework. The lack of details and implied details were great; it got the players’ imaginations working and they naturally filled in any missing details, creating connections and working out a behind the scenes story on their own. I’d really love to see more of these, this was awesome as hell. Very little prep work needed, and really scratched that explorer itch that my players have.

    The only complaint I would have was that the players in my group had the mentality that every room had to have a defined purpose or effect, so they would get stuck in a room (for example, Room 4) until they found a magic item, some loot, a monster, etc. So maybe put in more loot descriptions and/or misc. random effects? The Dungeon Trick Generator from saveversusdeath.com might be a good tool to use in that department.

    Reply
    1. Benoit Post author

      The lack of graph and other minor details was intentional, so I’m glad you didn’t find that a hindrance. As to the lack of a purpose for every room, I did think about that; without philosophizing too much, I think it’s something that 4e (and maybe 3.5) has trained us towards. “If the DM wants minis on the map, there will be a combat.” or “If it’s drawn on the map, there’s something to do/find.” Here’s where I’m coming down on it right now (and am open to changing my mind): Let the players know beforehand that not every room will feature a combat or bit of loot. Here’s why: well, for starters, if you were actually raiding a tomb, I can’t see finding SOMEthing in every room. But also, it will hopefully increase a sense of dread and caution when you’re not sure what to expect, if anything, when you enter a room. I can see that backfiring too though, to the point where players are taking too much time in a room that doesn’t have anything for them to find.

      I like the idea of a ring – I don’t know where you placed it, but I would put it on the finger of the mistress – kind of a surrogate wedding ring that Boran gave her even though he couldn’t be married to her. I also liked the undead lurker within the sarcophagus – did it play dead when they opened it? I’ll make those two changes when I get a chance and reupload the mod.

      Thanks for the feedback!!

      Reply
    2. Benoit Post author

      And I’m definitely planning on doing more of these, but not until mid-August (after Gencon)

      Reply
  6. Pingback: D&D 4e adventure – The Crypts of Titch « A Character For Every Game

  7. RaveBomb

    Thank you. I’ll be using this as a template for my in an upcoming session. I was looking for something straightforward and small and this fits the bill exactly.

    Reply

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