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Sneaking Through the Castle

Level 1 Exploration Scenario

In this scenario, the PCs are sneaking through an indoor location, such as a castle keep, seeking to reach the dungeons. The PCs may be on a rescue mission, or perhaps there is a secret entrance in the dungeons leading to new challenges. It's assumed the PCs have already won entry to this location though some means and have chosen stealth once inside (upon noticing the patrol approaching at a T-junction), but adding a few more regions and Challenges can extend the scenario to the keep's entrance if needed.

The interior of the castle is dark except for specific places that either have torches lit on the walls or carried by guards. The PCs cannot use light sources of their own (except those such as a Wax Candle) or they will be seen. If you wish, you can have the castle well-lit instead with tended sconces throughout the area. This will make the scenario easier and may be appropriate if you add regions or have a smaller group of players.


This scenario features one group of patrolling guards, which the PCs will probably seek to avoid. If they decide to take them out instead, be sure to reference the stealth rules for hiding bodies.


Setting Civilization
Type Stealth
Lighting Dark (except D & F)
F - G (goal)
D - B 
|   |
C - A (start)


(Region A) The T-Junction
The patrol approaches quickly from the east. The hallway continues to the north into shadow and darkness. You see a wooden door on the west wall.
Exit To Obstacle
North B -
West C Simple Locked Door
Guard Dog Patrols A-B Appears at end of 1st round
Trained Guard Patrols A-B Appears at end of 1st round
Bored Guard Does not patrol Appears at end of 1st round

(Region B) North Hall
The hallway dead-ends here. Doors on the north and east walls look well-secured. A door on the west side is cracked slightly open, but it's rusted and doesn't seem as though it will give easily.
Exit To Obstacle
West D Creaky Window (rename to Creaky Door)
South A -
Murder-holes (on B-D) Hidden: 1d6

(Region C) Kitchens
Utensils and cooking devices fill this cluttered room. Someone left a large quantity of meat setting out; the stench of rot is everywhere.
Exit To Obstacle
North D Creaky Window (rename to Creaky Door)
East A Simple Locked Door
Foul Vapor
Fortune Hidden: 1d6

(Region D) Basement Stairs
This hallway has an archway with stairs leading down to the basement, your probable destination. A human guard sits near a lit wall sconce, half asleep.
Exit To Obstacle
Down E -
South C Creaky Window (rename to Creaky Door)
East B Creaky Window (rename to Creaky Door)
Bored Guard Does not patrol

(Region E) B1 Storage
Bags, crates, and barrels fill much of this expansive basement; finding your way through will be like navigating a maze. The sound of many small scurrying feet reaches your ears.
Exit To Obstacle
Down F Winding Tunnels (one-way)
Up D -
Noisy Walkway
Vermin Swarm Freely passes through Winding Tunnels
Fortune Hidden: 1d6

(Region F) B2 Entrance
You've reached the entrance of the dungeons. A sole guard mills about idly, carrying a torch for light.
Exit To Obstacle
East G -
Up E -
Torch Bearer Does not patrol Will not attack PCs if Creature present
Dungeon keyring Hidden: 1d6

(Region G) Dungeons
Ahead, you can see a number of cells. Your target must be in one of them. A barred gate with a sturdy padlock blocks progress.
Exit To Obstacle
East Goal Barred; use Keyring (as Strategy) or pick vs. Lock: 1d12; then, Creaky Window (rename to Creaky Door)
Poisoned Surface Hidden: 1d6
Fortune Hidden: 1d10

Two Players

  • As Three Players
  • Remove Guard Dog from A
  • Remove Vermin Swarm from E
  • Swap Torch Bearer in F for a Bored Guard

Three Players

  • Remove Creaky Door in C-D
  • Remove Winding Tunnels at E-F

Five Players

  • Upgrade Bored Guard in D to Trained Guard
  • Add Guard Dog to D
  • Swap Vermin Swarm in E to Plague Rats

Six Players


The PCs successfully sneak through the area, finding the person or location of interest in the dungeons.


If the PCs lose their Stealth Tokens, they are discovered by the guards. What happens next depends greatly on your adventure setup and how the PCs respond. If they try to talk or fight their way out of it, you might run an appropriate (and difficult) interaction or combat scenario. At level 1 in a fortified castle, though, it's likely that the enemy guards would overwhelm the party and not listen to their words. You could bypass the scenario with narrative of a scuffle that leads to the PCs each suffering an Injury and being locked in the dungeons.

This is probably a stronger fail-forward approach since the dungeons are where the PCs were headed in the first place. Once locked in, they might find the person or location they were looking for. The new challenge becomes escaping from the dungeons (or, if the PCs were looking for a secret passage within the dungeons, perhaps they're locked in the cell containing the passage and may continue on freely).


Feel free to play your Seekers intelligently rather than strictly following the provided patrol notes. Alerted Seekers should generally pursue the PCs (or at least where they think whatever they saw or heard might have gone), even if they don't normally wander about. For extra fun, if the Vermin Swarm follows the PCs into F, the Torch Bearer might panic. Be sure to play this up descriptively. Of course a screaming guard might also alert other nearby guards, such as the guard in D (if not defeated) or even those off-map (such as any north of D, or even the patrol way back in A-B). This should put the PCs on a time crunch to complete the scenario before more Seekers arrive.

Challenges like the Creaky Doors and Noisy Walkway assume that the extra noise generated could potentially alert other guards, even if the PCs have methodically disposed of every Seeker they've come across. You might decide that there are no other guards close enough, however; you may then remove these Challenges. This likely only affects the final Creaky Door and perhaps the Noisy Walkway in E.

The map provided in this scenario assumes the PCs are headed directly to their destination, which is the norm when sneaking about. However, if your players prefer to exhaustively explore even in such situations, there are lots of places where you can add additional rooms and hallways for them. You could add a region or two off of B, blocked by Reinforced Locked Doors, containing Fortunes or other goodies. It's probably not necessary to add more dangers into these regions since the PCs are put at greater risk from the patrols; however, it's not unreasonable to include some Environs there for EP damage, such as Acrid Smoke, Crumbling Infrastructure, or Blue Mold.

Other places for expansion include the hallways east and south of A and north of D. If the players insist on heading those directions, you'll probably want to start adding more guards. You can use higher-level Obstacles as a soft way to bar progress in certain directions, such as Security Doors, Heavy Stone Doors, and Labyrinths, but be prepared for some lucky PC rolls (or judicious use of Karma) to get them through. Harder blocks could include a hallway or room that's well-lit and filled with guards and other castle denizens, making continued stealth in that direction an impossibility. Even then, don't be surprised if the players decide to try some wild plan to empty the room with some kind of distraction, or even charge in with their weapons. Such decisions should end this scenario and take the adventure in a bit of a new direction. Try not to resist this; many players get great joy from such havoc.

More level 1 exploration scenarios

scenario_e_sneaking_through_the_castle.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/30 10:43 by triptycho