Table of Contents
Dungeon Master should consider difficulty of encounters, traps, puzzles, etc. and rewards relative to party level. Game should last 3 to 5 hours. DM should read over game and fill in details relative to story and their players.
In the shadowed depths of Eldritch Hollow, an ancient power stirs. The Heart of the Void, a legendary artifact of unimaginable might, once sealed away by the enigmatic sorcerer Eldanar, now threatens to unravel the very fabric of reality. When anomalies and monstrous creatures begin to emerge, a desperate call for heroes echoes through the land.
Enter a tale of magic and mystery. Join a band of brave adventurers as they navigate the treacherous corridors of a dungeon, filled with devious traps, puzzles, and spectral guardians bound by ancient spells. Each step brings them closer to the Heart of the Void, an artifact capable of bending time and space, coveted by dark forces lurking in the shadows.
As the boundaries between worlds thin, the adventurers must confront not only the dangers of Eldritch Hollow but also the moral quandaries of power. Will they harness the Heart’s energy for good, seal it away for the safety of the realm, or succumb to its corrupting influence?
Long ago, the ancient sorcerer Eldanar concealed a powerful artifact, the “Heart of the Void“, within the depths of Eldritch Hollow, a dungeon shrouded in mystery and peril. The artifact, capable of bending reality and time, has recently been reawakened, causing anomalies and monsters to emerge, threatening nearby settlements.
A desperate call for heroes has been issued by the High Council of Mages, promising untold riches and fame to those who can navigate the treacherous depths of Eldritch Hollow, neutralize the anomalies, and secure the Heart of the Void before it falls into the wrong hands.
Players start outside the Dungeon, unaware of its whereabouts, else the precise location of the entrance into the Eldritch Hollow; this is up to the Dungeon Master.
For Dungeon Master – Game Layout
- Mysterious Entrance: The players must uncover the hidden entrance to the dungeon, guarded by enigmatic runes and spectral guardians: ghostly or ethereal creatures that serve as protector or sentinels of the Eldritch Hollow.
Characters my use diplomacy, brute force, stealth, etc. to bypass these spectral guardians.
- The Trapped Halls: As they delve deeper, they encounter a labyrinth of traps, puzzles, and guardians, remnants of Eldanar’s protective spells.
- Traps: These could be classic D&D traps such as pit falls, arrow shooting statues, or enchanted tiles that trigger harmful magical effects when stepped on. They require the party to be cautious and resourceful, often needing to detect and disarm them or find clever ways to bypass them.
- Puzzles: Challenges that must be solved to progress, which can range from physical mechanisms that open secret doors or deactivate traps, to riddles and magical sigils that must be interpreted correctly. These puzzles are often integrated with the lore of Eldanar and the dungeon itself, requiring players to pay attention to the story and environment clues.
For example, if the party fails to correctly align the symbols on surrounding pillars with the central sigil on the floor, the sigil activates a magical trap, unleashing a burst of elemental energy (like fire, ice, or lightning) or summoning hostile arcane constructs to attack the party.
- Guardians: These can be creatures bound by Eldanar’s spells to protect key areas, constructs animated by magic, or spectral beings that serve as both a test of the party’s might and their wits. Some guardians might be directly hostile, while others could be bound by rules or codes that allow clever parties to bypass combat through diplomacy, trickery, or fulfilling certain conditions.
- The Cavern of Echoes: Here, the echoes of past adventurers who failed their quest haunt the players, offering cryptic advice (whisper, “Secret” as in secret door) or misleading them (windy whisper, “Fear.”).
- The Chamber of Elements: Players face challenges based on the elements, it or each, guarding a piece of an ancient relic needed to access the final chamber.
Chamber of Element(s)
In “The Chamber of Element(s),” the adventurers encounter an elemental-themed challenge(s) that test their versatility and adaptability. The element represents an aspect of the natural world and requires a unique approach to overcome. Here’s how an elemental challenge might be designed (DM may consider more than one):
- Fire Challenge: The room is heated by intense flames and lava flows. The players need to navigate through without getting burned, possibly by solving a puzzle that allows them to redirect the flow of lava or extinguish flames temporarily. They might also face fire-based creatures, such as salamanders or fire elementals.
Or the fire challenge might be a room with a floor of shifting tiles, each step triggers bursts of flame from the walls, challenging the adventurers to find the safe path by deciphering the pattern of safe tiles.
- Water Challenge: The area is flooded or contains powerful currents and whirlpools. The party must figure out how to cross the water, which may involve manipulating water levels, holding their breath to dive for levers or passages, or contending with aquatic monsters like water weirds or merrow.
Or the water challenge might be a room filling up with water, or a spring that takes them across the other side of the map (maybe past an impossible wall).
- Air Challenge: This challenge features strong winds, flying enemies, or puzzles that require manipulating air currents. The adventurers might need to cross a chasm with gusty winds threatening to knock them off their path or solve riddles with hints whispered in the wind.
Or an air challenge might be that they enter a very turbulent room with gusting winds. Players must correctly position a set of statues (or a statue) to face into the wind, which causes the statues to emit a harmonious tone that calms the chaotic air currents, allowing safe passage.
- Earth Challenge: In this room, the party faces obstacles such as moving walls, quaking ground, or creatures made of stone or earth. They may need to navigate a maze that constantly shifts or defeat a golem that blocks their path to retrieve the earth element’s relic piece.
Or a more challenging challenge, adventurers encounters stairs where each step is a floating stone slab. As they ascend (DC 14) or descend (DC 12) per step, the slabs begin to rotate and move, and if player falls off, they fall just 4 feet, in a cavity, 50% taking 1d4 damage, but they trigger the unleashing of a monster (Stone Golem, Earth Elemental, etc.).
A challenge (or challenges) rewards the players with a piece of an ancient relic upon completion. The piece(s) are necessary to access the final chamber where the “Heart of the Void” is located. Players must use their skills, spells, and creativity to overcome the raw forces of nature embodied in the challenge(s). This not only provides a varied gameplay experience but also weaves the theme of elemental power throughout the narrative of the dungeon.
Boss Fight – Final Encounter
- The Rift of Eldanar: The artifact’s energy creates a rift in reality, spawning creatures from different dimensions and times.
The Resolution: After a climactic battle and solving the final puzzle that harnesses the power of the Heart of the Void, the players can choose to destroy it, risking its catastrophic implosion, or seal it in a new, safer vault. The Council of Mages arrives to aid in the artifact’s containment, rewarding the heroes for their bravery and ensuring the safety of the realm.
- A mysterious figure observed the heroes’ progress and offers them a place in a secretive guild of treasure hunters.
- The destruction/sealing of the artifact has unintended consequences, leading to new adventures.
- One of the players is imbued with a strange power from the artifact, opening up personal quests.
This storyline offers a mix of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving, ideal for an immersive D&D session. Feel free to adapt or expand upon this story to suit your campaign!
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Eldanar, The Arcane Guardian
In this narrative, Eldanar is envisioned as an ancient and powerful sorcerer who played a key role in the dungeon’s history and lore. Here’s a brief background:
Role in History: Eldanar was renowned for his mastery of both protective and elemental magic. He lived many centuries ago and was known for his wisdom as well as his reclusiveness.
Connection to the Dungeon: Eldanar is the creator of the dungeon, which he designed as a safeguard for the powerful artifact known as the “Heart of the Void.” He imbued the dungeon with various magical traps, puzzles, and guardians to protect the artifact from falling into the wrong hands.
Legacy: After his disappearance or death, the knowledge of his existence faded into legend, with the dungeon and its secrets becoming a source of intrigue and speculation among adventurers and scholars.
Character Traits: Eldanar is often characterized by his foresight and meticulous nature, as evident in the intricate design of the dungeon’s defenses.
In your D&D adventure or campaign, Eldanar can be further developed to suit your story’s needs, potentially having left behind journals, magical items, or other clues that players can discover as they explore the dungeon. His legacy and intentions can be a point of interest and speculation throughout the adventure.
About Artifact: Heart of the Void
Some detailed aspects of this mystical artifact:
- Appearance and Nature: The Heart of the Void is a palm-sized, multifaceted gem that seems to absorb light, giving it a deep, almost black color with occasional glimmers of dark purple or green. Its surface shifts and moves, as if containing a liquid essence.
- Origin and Lore: Created by Eldanar, the gem is an amalgamation of powerful elemental and arcane magic. It is said to be a piece of the primordial darkness from which the universe was born, harnessed and crystallized by Eldanar’s unparalleled magic.
- Powers and Abilities: The Heart of the Void has the ability to bend reality, manipulate time, and warp space. It can create portals to other dimensions, slow or hasten the flow of time, and even alter the fabric of reality within a limited range. However, its use requires immense magical knowledge and control, making it incredibly dangerous.
- Effects on Surroundings: The artifact’s presence influences the dungeon, causing spatial and temporal anomalies, like rooms that change their layout, corridors that seem to extend infinitely, or pockets of slowed time.
- Guardianship and Legend: Eldanar sealed the Heart of the Void within Eldritch Hollow to prevent its misuse. Over time, it became a thing of legend, sought after by many for its power.
- Risks and Drawbacks: The Heart of the Void is not just powerful but also volatile. Uncontrolled use can lead to catastrophic events, such as tearing holes in the fabric of reality or causing severe time distortions.
- Current State: It lies dormant in the deepest chamber of Eldritch Hollow, its power contained by Eldanar’s spells and the intricate design of the dungeon.
- Role in the Adventure: In the adventure, the Heart of the Void is the ultimate goal. The adventurers must decide whether to attempt to harness its power, seal it away more securely, or destroy it to prevent its potential dangers.
The Heart of the Void serves as a powerful plot device, offering opportunities for exploration, conflict, it’s a classic high-risk, high-reward element that can drive the narrative and challenge the players.
What If Character Attempts to Harness the Powers?
If adventurers attempt to harness the powers of the Heart of the Void, several possible outcomes could unfold, depending on their methods, intentions, and magical prowess. Here are some scenarios:
- Successful Harnessing (Highly Skilled and Knowledgeable Adventurers): If they have the necessary magical knowledge and skills, they might be able to tap into a fraction of its power, using it to manipulate time or space on a small scale. This could aid them in their quest, but it would require extreme caution and control.
- Partial Control with Unforeseen Consequences: More likely, the adventurers would only partially control the Heart’s powers. This could result in unpredictable effects, such as teleporting to an unintended location, creating temporal loops, or unintentionally altering reality in their vicinity.
- Overwhelmed by Power: The artifact’s power could overwhelm the adventurers, causing severe mental or physical strain. This might manifest as psychic damage, temporary loss of certain abilities, or other debilitating effects.
- Attracting Unwanted Attention: Using the artifact could draw the attention of other powerful beings or entities, such as rival adventurers, malevolent forces, or even the spirits of the dungeon’s creators, leading to new challenges or threats.
- Catastrophic Failures: In the worst-case scenario, a failure to properly control the Heart could lead to catastrophic events, like tearing open rifts to other planes of existence, reversing or accelerating time in an uncontrolled manner, or causing massive reality distortions.
- Binding or Cursing: The Heart of the Void might bind itself to the adventurers, either as a curse or as a source of power, leading to a long-term storyline where they must seek a way to either harness or rid themselves of its influence.
In any scenario, attempting to harness the Heart’s powers should be a significant and risky endeavor, with both potential rewards and dangers, making for a compelling narrative element in the adventure. If it takes a counsel of mages to control it, what chance do any single player has?
Dungeon Master, it’s your D&D universe, your world, your decision.
PDF available at Patreon Heart of the Void
PDF available at DMS Guild Heart of the Void Adventure