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Steampunk Tower

Level 2 Exploration Scenario

The PCs must reach the top of an old mechanist tower filled with devices and strange traps. Perhaps the tower is a remnant of Thrane ruins, part of a castle's defensive systems. Or, maybe it was inhabited by a mad genius whose creations have run amuk after death. Regardless of the reason, the strange tower and its mysteries await the party.

The PCs will have to split into two groups to tackle the tower effectively. As such, it's most appropriate with 4 or more PCs. If you only have 3 PCs, you could add a guide as a temporary NPC party member; consider a Geomancer or Retainer.

The respawning Saboteur represents an agent or agents with interest in slowing the PCs' progress. If you want to go even higher technology, you could make it an artificial intelligence using magical technology long-since lost. Either way, the Saboteur is not affected by any hazards or Obstacles in the scenario.


Setting Civilization
Type Normal
Lighting Mixed (see regions)
    C - F (goal)
    ^   ^
    B   E
    ^   ^
    A - D


(Region A) 1F West [lit]
Bizarre clockwork devices are all over this old tower, most of them rusted and no longer functional. A few, such as the odd flickering lights, still work; hopefully most of the more dangerous machines remain dead. Thick metal bars barricade the staircase leading up. You don't see any controls for them in nearby rooms, but hallways meander to the east. Unfortunately the lights don't seem to be working in that direction, so you can't tell what you might be headed into.
Exit To Obstacle
Up B Barred
East E -
Saboteur Respawn: 2 Hidden: 2d4
(Region B) 2F West [lit]
Something appears to have exploded here long ago, leaving many deep cracks in the walls and floor. Somehow the lights still work, but nothing else is moving, whirring, or blinking. You spot a rusted lever on the east wall; perhaps it still functions?
As an Action, a PC can activate a device here to remove the bars blocking D-E.
Exit To Obstacle
Up C Barred
Down A -
Deep Pit Height 1; Fall to A
Fortune Hidden: 1d8
(Region C) 3F West [lit]
Just one floor to go, though you don't see any stairs going up nearby. There is some kind of locked box attached to the wall, with pipes and cables running outward from it.
A Standard Locked Door guards a Control Panel here; defeating the Door allows a PC to freely remove the bars at E-F.
Exit To Obstacle
East F -
Down B -
Murder-holes Hidden: 1d10
(Region D) 1F East [dark]
You can hear the sound of metal banging nearby. Something is at least partially functional, and by the sound of things, it's probably dangerous.
As an Action, a PC can activate a device here to remove the bars blocking A-B.
Exit To Obstacle
Up E Barred
West A -
Slicing Blade
(Region E) 2F East [dark]
The rooms and corridors here are filled with heaps of junk - piles of rubber, rusted bits of cut metal leaning against the walls, stacks of broken gears, and the like.
Exit To Obstacle
Up F Barred
Down D -
Wall Darts
Device (activate when found to remove bars blocking B-C) Hidden: 1d8
(Region F) 3F East [dark]
One last set of bars blocks the stairs leading to the top of the tower. The control panel here is exceedingly complex, however, with a number of controls and a metal plate filled with symbols and rotating components. It looks like some sort of clockwork riddle. To make matters worse, vents throughout the area randomly release hot steam, including one positioned right near the control box. The sooner you figure this thing out, the better.
Exit To Obstacle
Up Goal Puzzle Wall
West D -
Down E -
Steam Vents
Fortune Hidden: 1d8


A little reflavoring can transform this from a steampunk theme to a more typical fantasy ruins crawl. If you do this, change the setting to dungeon.

This scenario is fairly low in difficulty for a party that's equipped to deal with darkness and traps. To add to the difficulty, you could exchange the Slicing Blade in D for another Steam Vents and swap the Wall Darts in E for Burning Pitch, especially if you don't expect several PCs to be headed that way together. You can upgrade the Standard Locked Door for the Reinforced variety if your party is good with locks (and similarly swap the likely-useless Murder Holes for something truly dangerous like Plague Rats, though you won't want to give them a Respawn timer and maybe don't let them pursue to F). If the Rats don't fit well, have the PCs accidentally break something the moment they enter the region, causing various devices to catch fire; place an Open Flames into the region.

At high player counts, give the Saboteur a Respawn: 1 timer, or maybe add a second one instead so that they can pursue the PCs up both routes.

You might consider making the entire tower dark. This rewards groups who invest in multiple light sources but makes things much more difficult for groups with only one. In this case you probably don't need to upgrade any traps.

You may want to use an Obstacle rather than simply say an exit is “Barred” to give the PCs a chance of getting through in other ways. You should use a very high level Obstacle in this case; something around 6th level is appropriate. PCs are unlikely to overcome such an Obstacle with standard methods, but tricks like a Delver spending Karma become valid options.

This setup also converts well into a chase scenario. A round limit of 6 is probably appropriate, or 5 if only one PC needs to make it to the end (especially with 5+ PCs). One way to explain this is to have a limited amount of time before the tower's most fierce defenses kick in; if the PCs don't make it to the top fast enough, they'll have to do battle with dangerous level 3 Adversaries. Consider a scenario featuring Clockwork Sentries, Gluttonmucks, Lode Spiders, or even a Gargoyle. This could be problematic if the party is still split, so when the defenses kick off, you might have a bunch of doors open in the tower that link the west and east paths. This way the PCs can join back up in the narrative moments between scenarios. Alternatively, divide your monsters between the sides, forcing them and the PCs to fight as two separate groups at the same time.

More level 2 exploration scenarios

scenario_e_steampunk_tower.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/11 10:50 by triptycho