Content of the article: "I Built A High Level Lich’s Lair for You to Use – Includes Link to Map and Explanations on Why I Did What I Did"
Just had a blast with this map last session: https://www.reddit.com/r/battlemaps/comments/gwg2yn/gauntlet_of_the_lich_mini_dungeon_battle_map_30x45/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
Thank you so much for making it u/AfternoonMaps! I thought I'd give a summary of how I used it, in case other users want some ideas. My party is 5 adventurers at level 17, playing 5th edition D&D (bard, sorcerer, ranger, barbarian, monk). The sections below match up to the sections of the map, as described in the original post with the map. You'll want to open it side-by-side with this post. note that enlarged the picture and made each square of the map equal to two squares, so it wouldn't feel cramped for #3 when I was adding multiple dragons to the map.
0. Before getting to this map, the party fought a lich named Iris at a different location and decided they needed to find her lair and destroy her phylactery before she could fully respawn. They used magic (legend lore, contact other plane) and NPC contacts to learn how to find the lair and that:
- Iris' phylactery is a coin. It is silver on one side and gold on the other. The silver side has arcane symbols. The gold side shows a picture of an eye with the words "Beautiful Victory."
- The phylactery can be destroyed by hitting it with two sources of radiant damage at one. (This was tricky for this particular party to do).
1. Green Moon Pool
- The spikes in the pool have Purple Worm Poison: DC 19 Con save or take 42 (12d6) poison damage, or half on save.
- The pool contains 5 Core Spawn Worms, reskinned as "arcane octopuses" (medium size creatures, instead of being swallowed the octopus would attach onto your head).
Why this works for a lich's lair: Liches are immune to poison. Liches have a lot of languages so she can give orders to the octopuses (even though they can't speak back).
2. Chambers of the Dead
- Attempting to unlock the central gate (via thieves tools or magic) triggers a Symbol spell (Stinking Cloud), centered on the lower area where the party is most likely to be.
- Attempting to unlock the central gate automatically opens all other gates and awakens the undead.
- Stinking Cloud is a DC 18 CON save or waste turn vomiting, with a 20 ft radius. It makes the area heavily obscured, so the party is blinded and attacks against them have advantage.
- The chamber on the right contains a single modified Orcus stat block (no legendary or lair actions)
- The chamber on the left contains 4 frost giant zombies
Why this works for a lich's lair: Liches are buddies with the undead, so she can walk through the side areas. If she sets off the Stinking Cloud, it's no big deal since she's immune to poison.
3. The Cave
- The opening at the top is a portal to the plane of elemental fire.
- The opening at the left I replaced with a plain wall with a painting of a door on it. Above the door was a riddle: What is the most beautiful part of the eye?
- If they solve the riddle with Iris, the room is enveloped in magical darkness and Iris’ voice taunts them via magic mouth saying "Only an intruder would pick the obvious answer! You’ll probably die before you figure out the true answer. That portal will stay open and this door will stay closed until you do."
- A second magic mouth opens up and says in draconic: “An intruder has entered Iris’ lair! Dragons from the plane of elemental fire, fulfill your promise and come to my aid and you will be handsomely rewarded.”
- An adult red dragon comes out of the portal every 1d4 rounds until it is closed. Dragons have blindsight and are not affected by the magical darkness.
- If you solve the riddle with Victory, the portal closes and the door opens.
- The party can each propose another guess on their turn during the battle with the dragons. I let them roll to get hints.
Why this works for a lich's lair: The lich know her own passwords. If something went wrong, she has true sight and can see through the magical darkness.
4. The Flame Room
- In this room, the dragon heads spew smoke, heavily obscuring the area. The smoke comes from pipes within their mouths which can be plugged up.
- The floor and the walls are riddled with slits. When a character get too close, a spinning blade on a flexible mechanic arm whips from the slit and attempts to attack. Drops of liquid flick off of the blades.
- Any creature that enters or starts its turn in the room is attacked by one of the blades. Blades get +12 to hit, and do 2d12 Slashing damage. Additionally, there's a DC 15 CON save or the character becomes poisoned for 1 minute. The poisoned creature is Paralyzed (can’t act or react or move) and will get shredded by the blades.
- Since the smoke makes the area heavily obscured, the characters are blinded, so the blades get advantage on attacking them.
- Note that I think it's unfair to sucker punch the characters with an attack like this, so I treated it as a puzzle.
Why this works for a lich's lair: Liches have true sight can see through the smoke. Liches are immune to non-magical slashing damage, so she can just walk through this room unscathed.
5. The Mirror Room
- When the players come into this room, three of their reflections step out of the mirrors and attack.
- The enemies use a modified Lazav stat block (no legendary actions, and shifting nightmare is a recharge ability).
- The enemies start with mirror image active. If they are in an area without mirrors (ex. if they leave the room or if the mirrors around them are shattered) those mirror images go away. Mirror images come back when they get back into a mirror zone.
Why this works for a lich's lair: Liches have great business sense and are trusted by their employees. The Lazav can change its damage type and test if the person coming through the room has the lich's damage immunities and resistances to test that it's really the lich.
6. The Portal Room
- This room is a suffocation zone. When the characters step into this room they immediately start to suffocate. They cannot vocally communicate or cast spells with verbal components.
- You can hold your breath for 1 plus your CON modifier minutes. However, if you go unconscious you are no longer holding your breath and die in 1 plus your CON modifier rounds.
- Someone outside the room can still cast spells into the room and sounds made outside of the room can still be heard inside the room.
- The portal is guarded by 2 Walking Statues of Waterdeep and one modified Borborygmos (changed from giant to construct so he can be a statue too).
- Through the portal you can clearly see a treasure room, with heaps of coins and a sarcophagus.
Why this works for a lich's lair: The lich does not have to breathe and will have no issues with a suffocation room.
7. The Treasure Room
- I finished up the dungeon with a treasure room puzzle. The room was divided into thirds. The left side and the right side had stacks of coins and each had 4 pedestals with loot on them. The middle is a path that leads to the sarcophagus.
- The loot on the left and right sides is perfectly symmetrical and disrupting the symmetry causes the ceiling to start collapsing.
- It takes 1d4 rounds to collapse, after which the party takes 10d10 bludgeoning damage per round.
- The loot pedestals hold
- A plane shift fork for plane of elemental fire on the left balanced with plane of elemental air on the right
- 2 potions of vitality on opposite sides of the room
- A ring of spell storing on the left and ring of protection on the right
- A staff of fire on the left and a staff of frost on the right
- The room contains 35,000 coins total. All of them look like the phylactery coin.
- The sarcophagus can be broken open by a DC 20 strength check, or opened by a thieves tools check, those it is trapped with a poison needle (see purple worm poison from above).
- Inside the sarcophagus is a single phylactery coin, as a red herring!
- The sarcophagus has a false bottom, which can be found with an investigation check.
- The false bottom leads to a small room, where Iris' body is reforming on a marble slab, the coin phylactery is under her pillow.
Why this works for a lich's lair: This is the final chance for the lich to protect her phylactery. If the intruders are greedy, they will bring about their own doom. If they aren't clever, they will waste time on the 35,000 fake coins, or think that the coin in the sarcophagus is the real one and miss the false bottom.
Another big thank you to the creator of the map, thank you to the community that gave me some of this ideas, and thank you to my party for making DMing a joy!
- Critique this idea: players get to choose a peril in a dungeon
- Question. Is it possible to use 2 legendary creatures as a duo in a boss encounter (level 17-20 encounter)
- First Puzzle Room I’ve Felt Good about Creating
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