Trap Mansion
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Phillip Ellwood always hated the so-called "adventurers" - their uncouth ways, their bragging about deeds which by all rights should be considered crimes, the way the newspapers adored them and rulers of cities pandered to them, and the fact that one of them seduced his fiancée away from him and killed his dog. Thus, he decided they needed to be show how pathetic and stupid they really were, and spent most of his inherited fortune on building a trap-filled mansion (complete with extensive subterranean dungeon) within the Dartmouth Protectorate. The traps were magical to make them harder to disable permanently, and were intended to humiliate just as much as they were supposed to kill. Flying custard pies filled with sharp razors, self-laying tables filled with delicious-smelling food containing poison which induced lethal diarrhea, swarming creepy-crawlies which would eat clothes and armor in a room filled with tiny spikes on floors and walls, and so forth. Furthermore, all rooms had small, concealed observation holes in the walls and ceilings allowing Ellwood to watch hapless adventurers stumbling through the rooms.

After the mansion was ready, Ellwood spread rumors about the many treasures found within (which was true, as he thought that without some rewards adventurers might just leave instead of foolishly forging ahead and encountering more traps). Soon, the first party of adventurers arrived, and Ellwood watched as they stumbled from trap to trap. He mocked them aloud for their failures to get around the obstacles, and laughed when two party members died in them.

However, he was quite surprised when the understandably adventurers managed to break through his hidden passageways, tied him up, and threw him into one trap after another until he died. After the disgusted adventurers left, his ghost rose up and haunts the mansion still, now universally called the "Trap Mansion". The ghost now repairs any traps that have been disabled, and waits for further adventurers to enter his house, which he will continue to mock and deride just as he was alive.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

I've recently read some older AD&D adventures, and in them, the whole point of some dungeons seems to have been merely to humiliate any adventurers that enter them - in some cases the builder of the dungeon will actually make fun of the adventurers entering it directly.

This is my take on what would really happen when a typical adventuring party encounters someone daft like that,,,


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