An adventure hook designed for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.
By Mark-Alexander Cross
This hook could be seen more as a puzzle to solve but if you know anything about what I like to do by now, then it is time to take the box and kick it into oblivion!
Number of Players: 3 to 6 – Player Level: 5 Onwards – Game Style: RP/Puzzle/Action
Read this aloud to your players:
“You have been travelling for several weeks through the thick jungle and are beginning to wonder if you will ever reach your destination: a fabled hidden palace full of riches and wonders. The danger inside will be greater than the heat that bears down upon you now but relief has finally come! There, standing before you, is the Great Wall of the Palace, a structure that spans hundreds and hundreds of feet high beyond the canopy of the trees.
The only thing that stands before you and the palace is the Great Wall’s gate that bears down upon you. It stands seventy feet tall and is forty feet wide, lined with carvings that tells the history of a long forgotten people and almost makes out a strange looking face.
So what are you doing?”
When your players approach the gate itself, have the strange face come to life and speak the following:
“Greetings jungle walkers! Why has thou come to this ancient place?”
A few notes about the Gate:
- It is a forgotten living creature (classified Monstrosity) and can’t be dispelled.
- The Gate’s alignment is Neutral.
- Any attempt to scale the walls, dig under or teleport through (including the dimension door spell) suffers magical displacement and ends up in the location they started at. The magical level of this displacement is nine.
- Any attempt to destroy the wall causes the Gate to attack via its own powers (if in range) or summons monsters that match the party’s level.
The Gate is willing to grant access but wants to determine the party’s reason for coming to the Palace, and it is fine with any conclusion that they will come to for it holds no agenda bar testing how bad they want to get inside. Use the gate as your vessel to start the adventure, for example by sending the party on a fetch quest or to solve a riddle it will pose.
Here are two examples:
- The Gate has no strength after years of inactivity and can not open without food. Get all Monster Hunter up in that jungle and send them to track a dangerous dinner.
- Pose a riddle and place clues on the carvings to solve it: “Birth and Death are two of three certainties but what is the third?” Answer: “Life because it comes between the two.”
Another way to use the gate for players who love their action is to turn this into a good opening slug out, posing a challenge and threat to give a tease of what is to come in the Palace.
So have a stat block from me and I shall wish you all happy adventuring!
The Gate – Huge Monstrosity – Neutral Alignment – HP: 100 – AC: 15
STR: 22 (+6) DEX: 10 (+0) CON: 20 (+5) INT: 10 (+0) CHA: 6 (-2) WIS: 14 (+2)
Speed: 0 – Senses: Darkvision & Blindsight up to 60 feet.
Condition Immunities: Banishment, Sleep and Charm.
Arm Regeneration: At the beginning of the Gate’s turn it regrows any severed limbs.
Summon Monster: The Gate can use its action to summon monsters from the jungle, to be used primarily when the party goes out of the Gate’s range. Use whatever monsters you wish but try to balance the summoned with the rest of the encounter.
The Gate makes four attacks, two tentacle strikes and two grasping attacks.
Tentacle Strike: 15 foot reach, +9 to hit, 2d8+6 slashing damage.
Grasping Strike: 15 foot reach, +9 to hit and on a successful attack the target is hoisted 5 feet into the air and is considered grappled. On the target’s turn they automatically take 2d6 bludgeoning damage but can make a DC 15 strength check to attempt to break free. The tentacle can also be destroyed with a AC of 8 and total HP of 6, at which point the grappled target will drop harmlessly to the floor.