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A large temple, forgotten and crumbling, deep underground.

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Connor’s 32×44 map promises to fill a whole session by itself with its branching pathways, natural obstacles, and multiple stages. Not to mention its inner chamber, bursting at the seams with magic…

The ruin is clearly long past its prime, but someone has been meddling inside. Who, or what, might they be? And what could be the purpose and effect of their visually striking ritual? We hope you’ll share your ideas in the comments. 🙂

The Buried Temple’s premium pack (previewed below) also includes a few striking variants that I especially like, including desert and volcanic color schemes. It could be fun to whisk your players across several different locations as the battle goes on and the magical vortex spins…

Whether or not you use the “Activated” map variant at all, this map serves well as a secret lair or boss room in a larger adventure! Whatever you use it for, we hope you have fun.

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Download the Buried Temple battle map

You can download the digital files below, where you’ll also get an opportunity to support us. Thank you! It’s thanks to you that we can keep making these maps and assets. 🙂

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About the author

Ross McConnell

DM, aspiring artist, and founder of 2-Minute Tabletop! I love drawing, writing, and worldbuilding, and this is the website where all of it comes together.

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  1. My first impulse is to throw the whole "stop the ritual" trope out the window. Nope. You're on the other side.

    There's a spirit of earth and fire that needs release so that a positive destiny can be fulfilled, and you're going to face off against opposed elemental spirits and other enemies. Maybe from the evil elemental princes Imix (fire) or Ogremoch (earth), or an Efreet or Dao lord. Maybe from some Prime Material bad guys who have their own interest in the ritual's failure. You aren't the one making sure the sequences are just right and activating the ritual, either. You have a squishy ritualist for that, who knows where to go to start and what to do at each point. You're the guards stopping the opposed groups of invaders who are trying to derail the rituals. Live on the other side of the dungeon for a change.

    Because the spirit bridges earth and fire, its stabilization extends through the para/quasi planes: Dust (Desert theme), Magma (Volcano theme), Ash (Dark theme). Each stage is a race and a defense, with ambient conditions that are an attenuated version of the corresponding plane. Each cycles the party through to the next as it's completed, via a planar crossing-point. The party will be depleted by the time they reach Ash, but the opponents will be undead so they can lean on still-available niche abilities. When all 3 are stable, the main ceremony to the Fire Elemental Plane begins. Magic is invoked with a revivifying side effect, and the PCs face the final battle as the ritual capstone is attempted.

    You think the temples are in bad shape now? Completing the entire ritual has the effect of destroying all of the temples. If the squishy ritualist doesn't die in the process, the party can navigate through the vortex to the changed landscape in the material plane. If not, the party will need their own escape.

    Failing the ritual also collapses everything. In this case the only escape will come, if it does at all, via the party's Plan B.

    As for what happens if the ritual succeeds, that's up to the GM and depends on their campaign.

    * Perhaps a legendary dwarven forge is rekindled for the next thousand years.

    * Perhaps it restores a depleted volcano, allowing it to come forth again and create a combined island a la Pixar's "Lava" short. Maybe that becomes a new homeland for wandering ship nomads or raft-dwellers. Maybe it becomes the PCs' new base.

    * Perhaps it reforges or kindles an artifact of some kind. Maybe the artifact is a legendary staff or weapon. Maybe the artifact just regulates local volcanoes so they're more "Hawaii," less "Pompeii." Which means people can live next to them.

    * Perhaps the lava brings forth key metals or gems in its wake as the flow is restored. Perhaps the mineral is dweomerite, and some of those gems have magical properties.

    * Maybe it returns energies being siphoned into the Elemental Plane by a malign elemental or jinn, restoring local balance.

    * Or releasing quieted energies, perhaps not too far from some bad-guy's Prime Material stronghold.

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