This is the first in many RPG maps I plan on posting that will include background and room information. I’ve included both a keyed and non-keyed version of the map for anyone’s use. Practically all of these locales will also be places that exist in the setting of my webcomic MegaDungeon. I’ve broken this into two parts. This post will cover half of the rooms in the dungeon.
Note: The intent of the descriptions for this “dungeon” is not to necessarily fulfill all of the needs of a DM to run an adventure so much as it is to serve as a launching pad for a DM’s imagination. So, be forewarned, there are no stats included here and the content is a bit zany.
(Totally Optional) Background of the Thieves’ Guild
Many generations ago (decades or months–depending on whether you’re counting human or rodent years), The Temple of [insert Generic Anthropomorphic Urban Rodent God of Your Choice] met with great catastrophe. Enemies of the Rodent God, possibly bedecked in crude mock apparel of rodent-kind, infiltrated its hallowed nests and bolt holes, assaulted the nuns, slaughtered the pups in the orphanage, and plundered the temple’s treasures. Holy relics and agèd wheels of Blessèd Cheeses which had been stored in the temple’s reliquaries and debris piles were pilfered and sold in the heathen markets of the streets. The Children of [insert Generic Anthropomorphic Urban Rodent God of Your Choice] who remained were forced to abandon their temple, and for generations it remained so.
Until… One day an entrepreneurial young man by the name of Alvebroso, who’d never done no wrong and who was blessed with equal parts ambition, gumption, and city-bred cunning, stumbled upon the Temple whilst being wrongly pursued by a city watch sewer patrol on trumped up charges of jewel thievery. Taking one of the old anthropomorphic rodents’ bolt holes, he found precisely what he didn’t know he was looking for: a place to make his name–or rather make certain his name, while whispered darkly in the cant of them-in-the-know in alleys and the more gloomful booths of taverns, was a damn well kept secret.
Soon enough, the young go-getter had a crew of likeminded but decidedly and deliberately less clever young men (and men only–but not because Alvebroso was a misogynist but because the types he was able to recruit tended to be lacking in social graces and were already spending too much time in the sublevels of their parents’ half-timbers anyhow) and established the city’s latest Thieves’ Guild, but one for the new century.
Inspirationally Vague Area Details and Ramblings About Rooms
(I think I might have gone too far…)
Everything is keyed to the map above. I’ve also bolded the names of any NPCs for easy reference if you choose to use them. And yes, I know it needs more secret doors.
A. House Basement Entrance. The building above is a tenant building that’s residents have complained quite often to the city officials about the sewer smell seeping from the basement and the sounds of padded feet coming and going throughout the night–just when the place was becoming a good neighborhood (see Rodent God presence above). Plenty of loose stones in which to stash weapons/cash/other illicit acquisitions.
A1. Building Manager’s Room. Thieves have the building super (or medieval equivalent) on the pay roll. This is his room. He’s got a bed, a writing desk covered in parchment scraps with ramblings against the city’s aristocracy (alas, his dreams of being a broadsheet publisher), and a small gold-framed silhouette of a dead prostitute he frequented in his youth who was stolen from him by a libertine noble with a heart of gold (said super’s dealings with the thieves’ guild may have originated in the acquisition of this silhouette and maybe the offing of this woman and/or her rich husband, essentially killing Richard Greer and Julia Roberts’ characters in 1990’s hit romantic comedy Pretty Woman)
A2. Really Smelly Room that’s Probably a Privy or that Smell Might be Coming from the Sewer or at least You Hope It Is…
B. Old Rodent Bolt Hole. In past days of the Temple’s prime, this passage was used by its rodential inhabitants as an easy means between the thoroughfares of the city sewer system, the temple, and the surface. The ground is probably pretty muddy from overflow of the sewer during the rainy season. This has made the whole tunnel irritatingly slick (interpret as you will for player torture). Giant rats used to probably slide their bulk down the hole.
C. Bazaar o’ Things Better Left Unspoken. Being that the Thieves’ Guilds Supreme Pilferer is a man of entrepreneurial bent, he’s opened a bazaar for people of less-descriminating tastes in this chamber, which was once the warren/sanctuary of the Rodent God. The pillars and walls will still bear the ratty bas reliefs and stains of rodent infestation–not to mention a number of lesser rodentia who still scamper hither and thither through the shuffling of padded boots, sandals, and the oversized, leathered soles of small, potbellied demihumans herein. The market should have a tremendous assortment iffy products.
Quick d12 Table of Merchants Found in the Bazaar
1. Seller of skulls that’s braincases are said once to have housed unspoken secrets which never passed their long-vanished lips. All purchases are random. At least one secret guaranteed. No returns. (Stock low, new shipment perpetually due in fortnight’s time.)
2. A clothier who weaves only the silk produced by underworld worms that is darker than death and allows movement with less friction than thrice-buttered man-pig hams.
3. Haberdasher who claims his hats will make one so stylish and suave you’re guaranteed to die an early death at the ravages of a venereal disease or your money back.
4. Butcher. Prime cuts of the rarest (and optionally nameless) meats. Caters.
5. Subhuman fishmonger who has dragged his eyeless catch from the deep, lightless rivers beneath. Filets available upon request but can only read pictorial representations of orders.
6. Secular confessor. All ears and no tongue, never learned to write or read. Advertises by word of mouth. Did not originally intend this career, just sort of fell into it without choice. (Has discretely sold his skull upon death in advance to the Seller of Skulls above for a comfortable sum of money. Hears confessions now purely for love of the craft.)
7. Classically trained torturer. Has own tools but willing to try new things. Currently advertising the use of puppeteer leeches, buy one torturing, get second half-off when purchasing use of said leaches. Seeking apprentice.
8. Highly educated coffee vendor. Also looking for work as a scribe, barrister, sage, historian, philosopher, or witty hanger-on. Will work on contract.
9. Bunch of beggars. Will loiter outside establishments of any and all repute. Promise 65% share of any alms collected.
10. Urine collector. Moonlights as apothecary. Self-conscious about day job. Sniffs fingers a lot.
11. Procurer of What You Need. Whaddya need? Has lazy eye. Will often repeat things spoken to him. Will return with approximation of request in 1d4 days (+1 day for “oddness” of request).
12. Slaver of humanoids, anthropomorphoids, fungoids, medusoids, androids, icthyoids, trapezoids, etc. Non-discriminatory and progressive for his occupation. Sees all races, species, and aggregations of sentient matter as created equal.
C1. Catwalk and Observation Deck. This stone walkway is held aloft by arches across the middle of the bazaar. At least two guild thieves of up to the title Filcher stand watch here. The lower their rank, the more likely they are drunker’n whose mother you’d call my… (60% chance for apprentice Rogues, subtract 10% for each rank above, unless the man is a made Guild Thief, and his chance increases back to 60% because he couldn’t give two shits about no stinkin’ guard duty.).
C2. The bridge, before it collapsed (under the duress of ages or mounds of rodent ejecta or both), spanned thirty feet above the pool of sewage below. Now the bridge is lined with more market stalls. This section of the bazaar is unofficially where all of the fences gather to buy the hardworn wares of guild thieves and sell those wares to anyone willing to pay the exorbitant prices, but hey, where else are you going to find that vintage bottle of port of the fallen magical empire, of a batch that is said to change the sex of any who partakes of a glass (great for parties)? or that water clock built of a stuffed owlbear carcass that gives off a pneumatic hoot for every hour? That’s what I thought. Down below, the sewage is filled with crocodiles, which has given rise to the saying in the local cant, “If it’s missing, it’s probably down with the crocodiles”–applies to both objects and people.
D. Collapsed Chancel. Here is where the lay members of the Rodent God’s cult once gathered for fellowship, worship, and the hearing of the scatomancer’s prophecies. The ceiling has collapsed. One of the doors that leads into this room is permanently half open. It is a favorite place for the prostitutes who gather in the bazaar to slip away to with clients. They have curtained partitions and beds and divans and throw rugs all about the place for proper transactions. Burly guild guards at the door won’t let anyone through without showing their cash first.
E. Guild Storage. Connected to the bazaar by a drawbridge mechanism that must be operated from both sides, this area is where the guild stores items that are either too valuable, too dangerous to sell in the bazaar itself or are to be sent to specific foreign buyers. The place is stacked up to the balconies overlooking it with crates. The guild has set up a number cranes along the pillars to manage this cargo. It is possible to climb upon these crates to reach the balconies if one doesn’t too much mind being filled full of crossbow bolts from the guards who are stationed there.
E1. The Docks. These docks sit in a sea cave (river cave or other cave of watery sort) that allows the guild to discretely ship their goods. The docks can receive only so many ships at once so a number of them are always found out on the water itself (E2). If you’re looking for a rowdy good time, this is not the place to be. The guild keeps a tight grip on what happens at the docks. It’s a really boring place. No fun to be had whatsoever. A point of contention in the guild, whose more traditionally minded members believe docks should be a place of no-holds-bar,free-for-all good times.
E2. Western Balcony. Safety rail long collapsed, rope strung along its length. Three guild guards on duty armed with crossbows. Take their job very seriously, afraid of intense flogging from guild torturer Balrack . Secret door not so secret–it fell of its hings quite some time ago and is now just a fitted into the wall and jury-rigged crank to lift the door out of the way. The door leads to the chamber of the guild’s warlock, Gabbelax the Unbearable (I).
E3. Eastern Balcony. Safety rail intact. As other side, three guild guards on duty. The shifts on this side, though, day and night, have been recently in cahoots on organizing a union for cutpurses and lower ranks. They believe the cut of their takes is far too low compared to other guilds. Currently considering whether or not to decamp or bring their grievances forth to the Council of Eights.
F. The Sea/River/Lake Cave. It’s a cave. It’s full of water. The sewer dumps into it. Danger: Crab People (tense alliance with the guild). No lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk.
G. Barracks Hallway. While Alvebroso likes to keep a clean house (he doesn’t live in the guild house himself), it’s damn near impossible with a few score troubled adolescents and adults with poorly developed prefrontal cortices living in close-quarters therein. Coming down the hall, the smell of unwashed linen doublets and silk thieving garbs (among other odeurs de délinquant) emanating from the bunk room door-sills could damn near double someone over, even after a trip through the city sewers. The quickest way to access the hall is by crossing the wooden beams placed over the broken stairs that lead into the hallway from the Bazaar (E).
G1. Bunk Room of the First Footpads. A few young thieves sleep here. These rooms were once the nests of rodent ascetics seeking to become one with the Great Running Wheel of the Multiverse so as to be closer to the Rodent God. Every bunk room has a few spartan cots and a eating/gaming table and chairs in it. The First Footpads are the newest recruits of the guild, having just left their apprenticeship and allowed, for probably the first time, into the guild house itself. Many of them are overzealous and eager to prove themselves and of course there’s the one
jackass fixture in the bunk room who’s been in the First Footpads for about two decades (let’s call him Doug the Blade. he’s 37) and welcomes all the new guys to “the life” with a bit of tough love.
G2. Bunk Room of the Second Footpads. You don’t mess with the Second Footpads. The things they’ve seen in the houses of the wealthy have made them all deeply cynical and reckless. They’ve smelled the rot at the heights of society and looted its corpse. The Second Footpads have a long-running game of Fox & Geese going on the bunk room table. So far the total wagers on the game have come to about 500 gold pieces and four hands (literally hands, as in if they lose the bet, they lose a hand–one guy has bet both of his). Additionally, their bunk room is decorated with the spoils of their most memorable exploits. These may not be treasures in the sense that any e’er-do-wells seeking to undermine the guild’s operations would brave uncharted depths and horrendous troglodytic guardians to attain them. They’re more sentimental.
G3. Bunk Room of the Third Footpads. The Third Footpads, or better known as the “Girthy Thirds,” are where guild thieves end up who seem genetically incapable of the more subtle arts of thievery, such as burglary, pickpocketry, and not being noticed. These guys are the guild goons. Not a single one of them isn’t packing at least 250 lbs. of pure man-meat when he heads out into the narrow, darkened alleys and streets of the city. When a thief needs physical protection, he calls on the Girthy Thirds. When a thief needs a knee broken, he calls on the Girthy Thirds. When a thief’s little niece is being bullied, he calls on the Girthy Thirds. Their bunk room walls are covered in motivational posters. They also have a number of solid metal weights strewn about for getting their beast on when not otherwise deployed. Footlockers contain numerous earthenware jugs of whey, which they purchase wholesale from a the priests of Ar’nuuld, god of strength and buffness (or if that’s too cheesy for you, you can replace Ar’nuuld with some other, far less awesome god of strength, if you have to).
G4. Bunk Room of the First Cutpurses.
G5. Bunk Room of the Second Cutpurses.
G6. Bunk Room of the First and Only Larcenists. When the First and Only Larcenists enter a room, they do so in a pall of cigarillo smoke and dark clothing. Their movements are swift, graceful, and full of je ne sais quoi (no, really, I don’t). They’ve got a thing you can’t quite put your finger on, mostly because these thieves are the subatomic particles of the trade. At any given moment, you might see one, blade in hand and all your soft parts in their eyes, but they feint and you can’t tell where from which way they’re going. Or you’ll know, by the slight disturbance in the air of a dark room, they are slinking nearby, but their position eludes you, at least until you find a knife at your knackers and a disembodied voice telling you to fork over your life’s savings. Needless to say, their bunk room is posh. It’s like the guild house’s version of a backroom of a club that’s wallpaper you’ll never know the color of. Probably a few (unmarked) secret doors and niches hereabouts that I couldn’t even locate when I drew the map.
H. Meeting Hall. At the calends of each month, herein the thieves gathers among the smokey, incense-laden braziers and shadow and silk-draped buffet tables for the monthly Goal-Setting & Core Competencies Meeting. This is when the Council of Eights (the closest thing to a shared leadership Alvebroso has allowed in the guild) gives the egalitarian mob a false sense of influence in guild decisions, while pretending they themselves have any, either. The pillars in this chamber are covered in graffiti, most of it complaints and insults towards the Council of Eights members’ parentage. Two sets of stairs lead up to the old chancel.
H1. Meeting Hall Balcony. Formerly a chancel for the sanctuary, this area is now where the Council of Eights sits whenever there’s a meeting of the guild. A set of nine chairs sit along the balcony. The ninth, much larger and cushioned chair is in the center just behind the altar/lectern. This is where Alvebroso sits whenever he actually attends a meeting. The chair is gilded and made of rare wood. It could go for a hefty sack of gold, if one managed to find a place that’d buy it, considering most fences and thieves in the city might recognize its origin.
I. The Chambers of Gabbelax the Unbearable. The guild’s only employed warlock resides in this chamber, once a secret ascetic cell when the temple was in its heyday. Gabbelax claimed it upon being hired so that he could study the arcane ramblings incised into the wall stones by the claw of some long-dead rodent monk. For the past four years he has been translating and cross-referencing the allusions of this rambling, non-linear text. The warlock’s notes can be found in the massive writing desk he keeps looking out across the sea/lake/river cave (F). So far the translation has only given him glimpses of what might be the true structure of the Multiverse (see Running Wheel Theory above), but he cannot bring himself to accept a trotikocentric (rodent-biased) worldview. As such, his current goal is to become a wererat, which he sees as his only chance to peer deeper into this mystery. Until then, though, he has to settle living like a rat (hence the smell emanating from the secret door that leads to his chamber and the heaps of trash and feces in the chamber).
J. Food Storage. This room is packed with crates, bags, sacks, barrels, kegs, earthenware jugs, and bladders of rare delicacies procured from the many eating houses, taverns, and nobles’ kitchens of the city that the thieves have robbed. There is currently an ongoing gentleman’s bet between the various thieving ranks to acquire the rarest foodstuff possible in the city. Word has recently come from upon the lips of dying men in the back alleys of the city’s ghettos and slums of a noble in the Old City who has ordered an entire hatchery’s worth of manticore eggs. A notice in the hall outside the storage room reads with this information.
K. is for Kitchen. The chief chef of the Thieves’ Guild is the famous, and rumored (among the city’s noblesse customers of his former restaurant) to be dead, Bantario of Far Kal-pesh. The man, once of famously gigantic proportions, is now but a shriveled and flabby husk of his former self. For the past eight years he has toiled in slavery to the Thieves’ Guild, concocting untasted masterworks of the culinary craft. Bantario long ago gave up any hope of escape but now endeavors himself fully to transform the endless supply of ingredients brought into the kitchen into deadly works of art. While he has become a monkish aesthete of a gourmand, he now seeks to take revenge upon his captors by crafting such calorie-rich fare that in some months time the entire guild will be too fat to operate at peak condition. In fact, the effects of Bantario’s revenge has already begun to show in the paunches of the guild thieves. Only the number of stairs in the guild house has stymied his revenge…
Part Two coming soon.
Commercial use of this map or the content of this page is not allowed whatsoever (unless arrangements are made with me otherwise), but feel free to use it in your own campaigns. ©2015 Billy Longino.