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View Full Version : I made a mad wizard dungeon, but I need a guide npc



minichirops
2019-02-02, 10:30 AM
I made a detailed 13-floor, mid-level dungeon, from mountain-peak to drow-infested base, for a wizard trying to hide the secret of creating reproduction-capable life. However, I don't think my players have the attention to detail to make it without hints, so I want a companion character-and I was considering an artifact item, which maybe communicates through dreams. Any good suggestions?

Keltest
2019-02-02, 11:00 AM
Perhaps a golem or homunculus? The dungeon presumably needs maintaining, and the wizard needs servants.

Avista
2019-02-02, 05:26 PM
I once made a mansion owned by an evil wizard who had a narcissistic personality and conducting less-than-reputable experiments. In one of the rooms he had a large terrarium with many strange animals, and the largest one had a beautiful exotic bird living inside a self-sustained ecosystem with all the insects it could eat. The bird turned out to be an elf who had attempted to steal a relic from the wizard many years ago, was captured, polymorphed into a bird, and kept as a pet. Needless to say that when the party found him and the thief was freed, he was more than happy to assist the party and extract some revenge for his humiliating imprisonment.

Twist: Artifact the thief was after was also the same artifact the party wanted, so there was some inter-party conflict too.

You're more than welcomed to use some variant of my plot if it suits your needs. :D

noob
2019-02-02, 06:16 PM
I made a detailed 13-floor, mid-level dungeon, from mountain-peak to drow-infested base, for a wizard trying to hide the secret of creating reproduction-capable life. However, I don't think my players have the attention to detail to make it without hints, so I want a companion character-and I was considering an artifact item, which maybe communicates through dreams. Any good suggestions?
The mad wizard got thrown out of its dungeon by its creations and officially comes as such to the party and asks for help in retaking the dungeon and tell them it would be ready to give them the artifact they wanted to get.
He is also ready to guide them because it is curious about what its creations did.

the_david
2019-02-03, 09:41 AM
Have you considered that if your players don't have the attention span to focus on this dungeon, it might not be a good idea to force a dungeon like this on them? Sometimes it's a good idea to adapt to the playstyle of your players. Doing the opposite can be a good thing too, if you want to challenge your players, but a 13 level dungeon might be overdoing it.

Another thing is that you're trying to take away player agency. You're essentially robbing the players of the fun of discovering stuff on their own this way. Your players might feel a bit railroaded, even if they're not.

The best thing would be a kind of balance between these 2 playstyles. A middle way of sorts.

My solution would be to instead use the 3 clues rule. Instead of giving the players 1 clue at a time, you give them 3 so that even the dumbest players on the planet could follow your trail of bread crumbs.

minichirops
2019-02-03, 12:05 PM
I certainly like the curiosity motive for

Bulhakov
2019-02-03, 05:56 PM
The wizard's apprentice or foe cursed and turned into a small animal or object? The cursed victim can only communicate through dreams.

Imagine a mouse approaching a party and trying to pantomime it wants someone to sleep. Or the mouse just sneaks into the sleeping bag of one of the PCs. Or they can just stumble upon the cursed item.

Neknoh
2019-02-03, 06:09 PM
How about a gargoyle that always lies?

the_david
2019-02-03, 06:20 PM
A ball of thread, like the one Ariadne gave to Theseus.

Edit: A magic eight ball.

hotflungwok
2019-02-04, 04:28 PM
If you't not stuck on the dream communication, give the players a shrunken head, an old enemy of the wizard who he carried around for years and so knows the dungeon pretty well. After a while it got lost or stolen or forgotten, and the players find it in an old wardrobe or chest or something. Give it a personality, an accent maybe, and quirks. Maybe it likes alcohol and loudly demands to drink any time it sees wine or other booze, which makes it drunk and starts it singing. Maybe it's friends with some group in the dungeon that owned it for a while and doesn't want the players to kill them. Maybe it demands a share in the treasure so it can get raised.

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-05, 06:37 AM
Hm ... it needs to be Frankenstein.

No, see - this wizard has figured out how to make life, right. So he made his prototype lifeform - 'Frankenstein' - and Frankenstein escaped into the world, only to discover there's no one like him anywhere. He's all alone, unique, unloved, and so on. He doesn't have to be monstrous, or patchwork, or anything, though he can if you want him to, he can basically be anything.

The only important part is that he needs to reach the source, whatever arcane horror show the wizard used to create him (m/f) to create another like himself - to not be alone, forever.

I mean clearly he needs to be monstrous somehow. Otherwise there'll be no moral dilemma.

Spore
2019-02-06, 09:41 AM
Just give into the Alice in Wonderland tropes and make a bunny familiar. One that is pissed with the mad wizard and secretly is his imp familiar in disguise, wanting to lead adventurers to his master to finally kill him and claim his soul.

noob
2019-02-06, 02:13 PM
Just give into the Alice in Wonderland tropes and make a bunny familiar. One that is pissed with the mad wizard and secretly is his imp familiar in disguise, wanting to lead adventurers to his master to finally kill him and claim his soul.

The adventurers would know it is an imp because only imps can twist meanings enough to think that killing its master is helping it.

Sebastian
2019-02-09, 06:51 PM
A cracked crystal orb which project an "interactive hologram". it is a guide to the dungeon, the wizard created it because he is really absent minded and kept forgetting the layout of the rooms and getting lost in it. He know the map of the dungeon and many information about it, he can answer questions and even offer information spontaneously, even if something in an annoying or non appropriate way("IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE TRYING TO SNEAK PAST THESE MONSTERS. CAN I SUGGEST YOU TO..."), kinda like Clippy, the old assistant of Microsoft Office.

It is cracked because it is damaged, (that is why the wizard left it behind) and its information could be missing, incomplete or even outdated, if you don't want to make things to easy for the players.

LordEntrails
2019-02-09, 08:54 PM
Have you considered that if your players don't have the attention span to focus on this dungeon, it might not be a good idea to force a dungeon like this on them? Sometimes it's a good idea to adapt to the playstyle of your players. Doing the opposite can be a good thing too, if you want to challenge your players, but a 13 level dungeon might be overdoing it.

Another thing is that you're trying to take away player agency. You're essentially robbing the players of the fun of discovering stuff on their own this way. Your players might feel a bit railroaded, even if they're not.

Nothing else matters, imo, until you consider what the david says above.

A mega dungeon is a great thing, but it can also be a horrible thing. A single quest into such a place is going to be long and tedious.

Mutazoia
2019-02-09, 09:11 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fGujzulsas

noob
2019-02-10, 07:13 AM
Nothing else matters, imo, until you consider what the david says above.

A mega dungeon is a great thing, but it can also be a horrible thing. A single quest into such a place is going to be long and tedious.

you could put 50 quests in the dungeon from stuff like "protect the goblins and help them get out of the dungeon and be free" to "redeem the black guard here back in Clerichood"
Also each creature is a quest in itself: as Sasha said about pokemon: "I am going to enslave them all" and as Paladin told about creatures "I am going to turn all of them good against their will then protect them"

Cliff Sedge
2019-03-26, 08:31 PM
How about an escaped slave/prisoner (someone who escaped from the drow) who ran screaming out of the dungeon and by a miracle survived. Maybe he or she didn't make it all the way out and is found by the adventurers between the first and second level of the dungeon, badly wounded, hungry, thirsty, tired - and if the PCs offer food/drink/healing/.. maybe even weapons & armor, the escaped slave is willing to go back down to get revenge on the evil drow.

This person won't know all the ins and outs of the dungeon, but can recognize some landmarks from time-to-time: "I think I remember there was a locked door down that way." / "I heard sounds of monsters in this area when I last passed through it." / "I almost sprung a trap running down this hallway, but I don't remember where it is." / etc.

Maybe the NPC is a 1st- or 2nd-level cleric and has access to healing and detection spells, but needs to rest and find some specific items necessary to construct a makeshift shrine first. In combat, the character will only fight if absolutely necessary (which might be because party members are coercing . .) and if not well-protected by the party should easily get hurt and be at risk of dying - thus taking away the heroes valuable resource.

Clistenes
2019-03-27, 09:08 AM
A broken construct girl; human face, ceramic and/or wax shell, clockwork insides, human mind, old dirty doll-like clothes... she was discarded and thrown into a pit, and had resigned herself to spend eternity there...

If you do it well, they will die for her, they will slay dragons and topple thrones to repair her...

paddyfool
2019-03-27, 11:06 AM
Is the wizard at the mountain peak? If so, then you could have an evil or at least hireable-by-evil party who normally live within the Drow-infested base, but whom the Drow have hired/ordered to scout out the dungeon with a view to them taking over. Gives you one or two less levels for the party to scout (since the drow would presumably have maps), a base within the dungeon and lots of potential for side quests, intrigue etc.

Segev
2019-03-28, 12:47 AM
An extremely adorable halfling whos a bit flighty and is in it for the ADVENTURE! But cant make it on his own. Hes been with other parties (they turned out not to be nice people and tried to hurt or avandon him, but hes clever and sneaky), so he knows some of he tricks and secrets and will share hem if the party lets him come along.

A good sense motive or prolonged observation of his immature traits might clue people in that this is actually an elven child masquerading as a halfling.

Except his memory of the place starts out spotty, but as they find key chambers with clues as to what he mad mage was hiding, he suddenly recalls more. Also, he more he recalls, the older he gets.

Turns out, this is the mad mage himself; hed scattered his very mind and experience across the dungeon to protect his secrets. This not only de-leveled him, but the ritual he used was meant as a twisted gift by its original demonic (or jerkface genie) creator as an answer to requests for eternal youth. It drains memories as it makes you younger. The mad mage wanted it originally for the side effect,, and considered the youthening as the knock-on.

Maybe hed even been being raised by some of his creations and got legitimately lost when a band of adventures attacked.