A 32×44 dungeon map that requires a series of valves to be turned in order to lower the lava level and reveal the brimming treasure room…
This is my most ambitious dungeon to date! It’s a gauntlet of four valves that need turning before you can finally access the treasure room, which itself is guarded by what is undeniably a boss arena.
This dungeon is inspired by the Legend of Zelda games I enjoyed on my Game Boy as a kid. Though the “puzzle” here is very simple, I hope that it invokes the same sense of adventure! The whole thing revolves around lowering the lava in the central room.
What would be a suitable monster for that boss room, and all the other minor combat rooms? I’d love to hear your selection in the comments below. 🙂
Opening The Main Gates
The adventurers arrive via the tunnel in the south and are met with enormous stone doors standing before them. These require the turning of two valves to open, and each one can be found in the wings which branch off to the east and west of the antechamber. You might force them to be turned simultaneously, for a little added complexity. Turning them causes the great 4×1 foot stone doors to slide to the side and reveal the central, lava-filled chamber.
These rooms (and the halls beyond) might be home to automaton defenders, burrowing parasites, or wandering ghosts. For these wings – and every other room in this dungeon – I will be leaving the combat design to you!
The Central Valve
The 10-foot-radius valve in the center of the main chamber can be turned anticlockwise in order to drain the surrounding lava and reveal walkways to a series of new rooms, culminating in the boss room and main treasure vault.
When the adventurers arrive, the main chamber is brimming with lava up to the edge of the central platform. Turning this valve will lower it one level – enough to reveal the door to the east – before *clunk* it locks into place and can be lowered no more.
The eastern wing features three sub-rooms intended for combat encounters. At its end is another minor valve, and turning this will loosen the central valve and allow the lava to be lowered another level. Next will be revealed the western wing with its own series of rooms and valve. Turning this one will allow the lowering of the lava one more time in order to reveal the main vault.
Lava Levels, in Order
These images are provided in the download ZIP as 16×16 JPG files. The base map depicts the main chamber in its ‘drained’ state, and the other images are intended to be stacked on top of the base map and hidden one-by-one during play as the adventurers progress.
Entering The Main Vault
Behind the northern doors of the main chamber is a 70×55 foot ‘boss room’ with four pillars, four pressure plates, and some elevation to mix things up. It’s up to you whether or not you utilize those pressure plates, but I like to think of them as the final key to the treasure room, requiring all four to be pressed in the same moment for the mechanisms to activate.
Regardless, be sure to pick an appropriate guardian to challenge your players here!
Behind the final doors is a room scattered with treasure, featuring a large chest at its center. Whatever the dwarves left here must be valuable enough to warrant all these steps, so be sure to take the opportunity to spoil your players. 😉
Looking for something other than dwarves and lava? Here are some of the map variants I made for the $5 patron pack…
- Jungle. The interior of an overgrown ziggurat perhaps, hiding things cursed or valuable.
- Desert. Sandstone halls and ancient defenders.
- Sewer. A vault hidden in the dank depths of a city, where few would even think to look.
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What about a fire elemental or some oter fire based creature?
There does not seem to be a fully drained sewer option in the full map pack; is this user error on my part?
You’re right, thanks Chris! It’s all fixed now and ready for you to re-download.
Is there a variant of these maps with the vault doors open or will we just have to use the open vault base in the assets folder?
Indeed, those assets (the ‘base’ and ‘door’) can be overlaid on the map to give you the ability to open and close them. I though this would be the most versatile way to go, as I personally just describe doors opening without manipulating the map.
This is so cool! I love all your maps but this is very impressive.
Hello. Beautiful work. I just got the dwarven vault. Do you have images for when the initial stone doors are opened?
Thanks! I personally open the doors ‘theater of the mind’ style, but there are such assets inside the Dwarven Vault Pack‘s asset folder.
I’m late to the party. Ross, is this available on our Patreon? Also, are the “overlays” available for the alternative maps; ie desert, sewer
Hi Peter! It sure is: The Dwarven Vault on Patreon
And yes, each variant has its own uniquely colored overlays. If any are missing, it’s by mistake!
Looks like I am having the same issue that Chris did. Missing the fully drained room in my download
I think that my file system is just a little confusing: there should be a ‘Dwarven Vault … 32×44.jpg’ map and three ‘Dwarven Vault … Level X – 16×16.jpg’ overlays in all. The most-drained version is on the base layer map (The 32×44 one) but there is no fully-drained, sans-lava version I’m afraid.