Dragon Peak: Trial of Earth (Level 1)

Trial Of Earth Level Map
The stairs up from the entry level end on a sizable landing. Especially paranoid characters may feel like someone watches them on the landing. Letters inlaid in white onyx on the floor spell out "Trial Of Earth" in Draconic, acting as a perverse welcome mat.

An archway opens onto a plain of broken rock and sand, with a battle raging as far as the eye can see. Demons, devils, aberrations, giants, humanoids, and dragons fight and die only to rise again and rejoin the battle. Tiamat circles the battlefield and uses her variety of breath weapons to indiscriminately kill. Broken equipment, body parts, and blood cover the ground. Giant hands made of stone appear to reach up through the stone, and the jagged rocks make walking treacherous. Shadow and gloom darken the scene under a leaden sky, the eternal night broken only sporadically with flashes of magic detonations and dragon breath.

Anyone passing through the arch becomes visible to the combatants, opening them to 1-3 attacks per round. Each successful attack inflicts a handful of cold damage and removes a point of strength. Anyone entering the battlefield can see the scene extend past the arch, as if it might actually be a portal to somewhere else, and they see no obvious way out of the battlefield.

The endless plain and combatants come from elaborate illusion magic, hiding the walls and the dozens of shadows hiding in the floor or using the illusory warriors for cover to attack anyone foolish enough to enter the room. The shadows will die if hit hard enough, but the chamber contains over 20 of these creatures. The illusion fades if all the shadows are defeated or held at bay. A daylight spell or equivalent magic will force the shadows to hide in the floor and suppress the illusion, revealing the walls and the door on the opposite wall.

My original notes for this chamber:

An eternal battlefield on a stony plain at night. Illusory warriors attack as Tiamat circles and breathes at random. Demons, aberrations, and devils lead endless charges. Shadows in the floor reach out and sap strength. Daylight will eliminate them.

Things that evolved during play:

  • See invisible reveals the walls, the illusions of the fighters, and the shadows lurking in the floors. It also reveals the invisible kobold lich in ghost form lurking in the ceiling watching the party deal with the trials. He gave the party the hint to look at the prophecy, since they received a copy so long ago that it slipped their minds.
  • Perception checks might reveal that visible attacks don't actually cause damage, but the hidden shadows do. Failure will reinforce the illusion.
  • I went fast and loose with the shadows, giving them a +4 to attacks for 2d6 cold damage plus the point of strength loss. My players discovered the daylight trick after they discovered the illusions and shadows.
  • Defeating each trial will earn the party a white stone with an alchemical symbol, needed to unlock the door after the fifth trial (Moonlight). I initially forgot to do this, so I had all five appear simultaneously after solving the Trial of Moonlight.

Part of T.W.Wombat's Lore 24 project, detailing the world around Fellport.
For all city posts, see the Fellport Index. For posts about the wider world, see the Beneterra Index.

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