Drag and drop dungeons:
They’re always handy to have in the bag; people unexpectedly run off on a tangent, or you need to add some meat to a situation. I must admit that I normally just move planned dungeons around to fit in with the group’s direction. The Ogre compound is some filler that ties easily into the setting.
Discovery in this instance:
The party took Tonk’s airship to the basin (who wouldn’t?), facing a frosty reception and crashing into the dense canopy. Tonk bailed with the only parachute, and the pygmy tribesmen promptly jumped the interlopers.
Not being compete murder hobos, they killed the vanguard and captured the leader. After talking things over, they were invited to the pygmy’s treetop village; the tribesmen had assumed the blimp to be a war machine from the ‘pigdogs’ below.
The tribe have lost several members to the recent arrival of large brutish men. As formidable warriors, the group naturally offered to mount a rescue.
Arriving at the camp:
Two hundred metres down on the jungle floor, and a couple of hours north, the visible ruins of an ancient structure are less than impressive. Vines and creepers cover stonework, most of which surrounds an entrance set into a raised mound of earth. These repurposed ruins were once home to the Drannum – a race of lizard-men whom have long since migrated.
Various ogres mill about the place, depending on how challenging one wants the combat. My party used a group member to lure the external Ogres into the jungle, so I gave the chief a sidekick and threw another in the tannery. As always, combat is not mandatory.
The clearing features a campfire, a couple of logs …and a few Ogres roasting their dinner. As the party approaches, they witness another Ogre dragging an unconscious Tonk into the complex. Use a pygmy if Tonk is dead, or the Zeppelin wasn’t used for the journey into the basin.
A spacious room, with an opening in the ceiling from which vines descend; ferns cover the floor, although most have been recently trampled flat. Three stone statues of lizard-men seem to have been used for target practice. Passageways lead off to the north-east, north, and west.
The air hangs heavy in this humid room; steam trickles up through the smooth flat stones that cover the floor and several raised platforms. A makeshift throne of trussed wood and bone sits proudly in the centre, host to a particularly imposing Ogre.
The basking chamber was created around the geothermal vents by the reptilian architects. The Ogre chief wields a formidable axe, which appears to be a sharpened half-pelvis secured to a runed staff – it’s a Berserker’s Axe. 1d8/1d10 versatile, +1 to damage/hit, +1d6 on a critical, +1 max HP per level. DC15 WIS save every time you are damaged by a foe; on a failure, go berserk and and use all available attacks on the nearest creature. Berserk lasts until you start your turn with no visible creatures within 60 feet. You form a cursed bond with the axe, attacking at disadvantage with any other weapon.
A tanning rack bearing a suspiciously humanoid-shaped piece of leather stands in the east corner, aside an assortment of simple weapons. The room’s air has a metallic tang, likely a result of the various cuts of meat heaped in a grisly pile. A bisected relief statue of a lizard-man protrudes from the far wall, his arms in a high embrace. A large crystal is set into the stone surface directly above, and chiselled lines emanating from the sphere give it some semblance of the sun.
An angled mirror behind the crystal reflects any light source down into a concealed mechanism. The statue will split in two as a hidden doorway roughly moves aside.
Wooden cages line the far and near walls, occupied by two pygmies – and possibly Tonk. A bloody club and dark staining on the floor is an ill omen for the captives.
Beyond the stone door is a long winding tunnel, filled with the roar of distant water. Canopic jars sit on various shelves, each paired with a scrivened plaque – assumedly names of the diseased. Two small side-rooms contain skeletal remains atop stone slabs, with large obsidian shields resting on their chests.
+1 shields of fire resistance. Many of the jars have simple gemstones set into their lids.
The end of the corridor opens into a round chamber; a waterfall has completely eroded the far side, replacing it with a glistening cascade that fills the room with a persistent rumble. A ceremonial stone altar stands in the centre, and a there’s a simple table against the west wall. The table contains a variety of books and personal effects. This room is surprisingly bare when compared to jar-lined corridor and side chambers.
Upon entering the room, a wisp of smoke will wind around the waterfall and into the room; it reforms as a pallid elf with red eyes. He’ll summon two swarms of bats from the ceiling should combat commence, but he has no particular desire for a fight. The vampire’s Leather Armour of the Eternal Night grants advantage to stealth rolls, and +2 AC in dim light or darkness.