Library of Dungeons: Opening Doors

Bat Swarm

We find our heroes rested, but outside a huge door with no way to open it.

Rondo attempted to open the door by magic, but as he shouted his arcane ritual at the door, the giant bats that slept in the upper arch of the tunnel swarmed down and scooped him up. Hawthorn’s diety caused a rock to cause great fear in the bat holding Rondo, and Hawke heaved the rock at the bat. The bats swarmed again, raking Hawke with their claws, dropping Rondo, who fell on several bats on his way down before landing on Hawke. Rondo wasn’t feeling well, and had a nasty bite on his neck. A bat attempted to fly off with Hawthorn, but he caused it to fear him and it dropped him at the edge of the massive guano pile.

Several objects of various sizes fell from the roof as the bats swarmed, a few coins, some odds and ends like a patch of rusty chainmail, a flat piece of metal with a flanged end, and other oddments. Hawthorn used the metal to poke around in the guano a bit, turning up some coins and a rusty (and filthy) knife. After poking around a bit without finding a way to open the door they noticed the goblins changing the guard by the open door, putting out more alert-looking guards (and more of them) and also sending out hunting parties to find the intruders.

Hawke prepares himself for a frontal assault on the goblins at the door, but first Hawthorn prays for guidance and notices a slot on the door which may be a fit for the metal bar the bats dropped. Hawke boosts him up to try it, and the key fits. A seam appears in the giant door, splitting it in two, and both doors start swinging open, with Hawthorn hanging on to the key. The doors opening disturb the bats further and they swoop down, clawing and scratching. Hawthorn drops to the ground in the massive tunnel beyond the doorway.

Hawke lights a torch while the bats are circling and swooping to claw him, and he drives the bats off a little with the torch. He boosts Hawthorn up to retrieve the key, but the bats unnerved the cleric too much and they failed to get the key. They finally had to close the doors anyway to avoid being clawed to death by the swarm. Once closed, the doors sealed fully with no visible seam. They patched up Rondo as best they could, so he was stable but not conscious, and left him near the doors with a note that Hawke wrote:

Bisy Backson

They pass under a number of cages suspended from the ceiling of the tunnel, with humanoid remains, either skeletal or very dessicated corpses. Continuing down the tunnel they come to an iron door on the right wall. Hawke attempts to batter it down, causing a loud “gong” to ring from the door from him hitting it, but not actually opening the door. He steps back further, roars a challenge, rushes the door again, but it opens just before he slams into it, causing him to rush into a room full of goblins, sending three of them flying in the process. There are six more goblins ahead of Hawke, and four more behind him by the door. Hawthorn jumps through the door and makes short work of those four with his quarterstaff.

Hawke is faced with six goblins undeterred, begins punching them down, bar brawl style. The goblins grab whatever comes to hand, daggers, wine bottle, one just holds a big boot, but Hawke takes them out with his fists. The final goblin tries to flee in fear (and probably warn others), but he ends it. Beyond the door the last goblin tried to flee through they can hear the sound of goblins organizing and reinforcements coming, so they bar the door as best they can and head back out the way they came, shutting the iron door once they are back in the massive tunnel.

Continuing down the tunnel, they find another iron door set in the same side of the the tunnel. Hawke has to hit it two or three times, leaving his shoulder plenty sore (and making a ton of noise), but he manages to bash it in and they find themselves in an unlit (aside from the lights they brought with them) pantry of goblin foodstuffs, apparently. Most of it is pretty disgusting and putrid, whether because the goblins like it like that or because they don’t clean things out when they spoil is unclear. There are barrels of fish oil and something that might have once been wine, but is now bitter vinegar. They can hear goblin activity in the distance, but nothing approaching immediately, so they take the time so spread the oil around the room and then set it on fire, retreating back through the iron door and setting it into it’s shattered frame as best they can.

Coming to a third iron door, they can already hear footsteps and shouting behind it so they skip it and head for a wooden structure they can see further ahead in the tunnel, on the left wall. The structure is like a low maze of slatted woodedn crawlways, about a meter tall and wide, with gates that drop down between every two-meter section. There is a place someone can stand on top to raise and lower the gates easily, although with effort they can be raised from within the crawlspace. They open all the gates and crawl through to see where it goes, which is on the other side of the main tunnel wall.

They emerge in a large, cold room. There is some air movement and the sound of running water. The last section of crawlspace passes over a metal grate over the water. Their light shows the room to be extremely clean, with many metal tables and shelves, all slotted, and hooks hanging from tracks in the ceiling. There is a large door with a massive handle on the far wall. Water pours in from a wall on one side of the door, around three walls of the room in a neat trench underneath the slotted tables, and out through a grate in the opposite wall.

Aside from the cold, there are no immediate dangers apparent, so Hawke and Hawthorne make camp here for the night.


Full disclosure: bat swarm photo from National Geographic:!! and cold room photo from Chicken slaughterhouse compact line

Written on May 29, 2017