When we first started pitching adventures for Gorgon Breath Games, I had a particular interest in producing a one-page dungeon. Sometimes, when I’m writing an adventure, I can be a bit too verbose. I thought it would be a fun challenge to see what I could do in the confines of a limited space. Luckily, I’d also just finished writing up the monster sheet for the Silent Stalker, so I had some ideas for a simple but intimidating dungeon that worked well in that format.
Beware the Silent Stalker is the result. The player party is trapped in an underground castle where the only other occupant is the titular Silent Stalker. Wandering its halls in search of a way out, they have to evade the Stalker as it ruthlessly pursues them. Overall, I was happy with the results and I hope you enjoy running this with your players.
A convenient, pay-what-you-want PDF of this dungeon has been submitted to DriveThruRPG.com. Check that link within the next day for your copy! Also be sure to stop by our Patreon if you like this and our other work.
Legend has long told of an underground castle lost beneath the earth. Its entrance has recently been found. Catching wind of the rediscovered fortress, the player party embarks on an expedition to explore and loot it. After entering however, a tunnel collapse cuts them off from the surface above. With nowhere to go but forward they must find a way to escape.
They’re not alone, however. After the original inhabitants left, a wizard made a home of the castle and created a Silent Stalker to guard it. After the game begins the Stalker will seek the players out and do everything it can to kill them. Every time the players defeat it, it will regenerate and rise to pursue them anew.
While a portion of the map should be created in advance, most of the castle should be added on as the game progresses. The GM can devise new rooms themselves or create them procedurally with the provided table. Every time the GM adds a new area, they should perform a D20 DC. If the dice lands on a 20, the next room should be the Wizard’s Laboratory (WL). Contained in the WL will be a journal explaining that the wizard was conducting forbidden research. The journal will also direct the PCs to a metal disc on the floor and explain that it’s a magic portal that can be activated if the players place three key stones on it.
The key stones are scattered throughout the castle. Whenever the PCs enter a new room (before or after discovering the WL), the GM should perform another D20 DC. If it lands on 5, 10 or 15, the PCs should discover a non-descript stone. A Detect Magic spell will confirm that it’s special. Hopefully, the PCs won’t do anything stupid with it before finding the wizard’s journal.
If any PCs attempt to use their own teleportation magic, they’ll find it doesn’t work. The wizard also embedded magical runes in the keystones that makes them double as anti-teleportation artifacts. If the PCs deduce this, they can alternately destroy the keystones and use teleport out of the tunnels on their own.
Managing the Silent Stalker
- After the GM generates the initial portion of the map, they should select a starting point for the Silent Stalker. This should be far enough from the players so that they don’t encounter it first thing.
- If the PCs don’t encounter the Silent Stalker within 20 minutes of real-world time, the GM should have it start moving toward them according to its “Necromantic Tracking” ability.
- When the PCs initially encounter the Silent Stalker, it shouldn’t attack immediately. Have it stand in a stationary position (either the corner of the room or the end of a hallway) and wait for them to approach it. The GM should just describe a “tall, naked man staring at its feet.” If the PCs move within 10 feet or make any attempt to interact with it physically, it will attack.
- After the PCs initial confrontation with it, the GM should adhere to the rules of the Silent Stalker’s “Quiet Footsteps” ability. When the PCs and the Stalker wind up in the same room, they must perform a Perception DC. If they roll above a 16 they’ll notice the Silent Stalker in the room with them. If they roll below a 16, the Stalker will remain unnoticed and gain the opportunity to perform a surprise attack against one player.
- The Silent Stalker regenerates after its defeated (see Silent Stalker). The only way to permanently defeat it is to locate its totem and destroy it. The Stalker can be permanently killed. The totem should be distributed randomly, preferably after the party’s first encounter with the creature.
- More information regarding the Silent Stalker can be found on its creature sheet, available for free at the Gorgon Breath website.
Creating the Castle
Before the game starts, the GM should take time to create an initial map at least five rooms in size. This is required for the placement of the Silent Stalker.
Beware the Silent Stalker takes place in an underground castle that’s been abandoned by its original creators. We’ve left the identity of these creators vague to leave room for GMs to create their own back story or integrate this adventure into their own campaigns. The GM should ask themselves some questions. Who used to live here? Dwarves? Drow? Kobolds? Why did they leave? What condition did they leave things in? Will the PCs wander through pristine halls untouched by time or the crumbled ruins of a once great fortress?
Be mindful of what your players might want to find. Make this not just a dangerous adventure, but a rewarding one. One PC might be killed by the Silent Stalker but another might find that one item they’ve been looking for. Also keep in mind things they can use to battle the Silent Stalker. No matter the circumstances preceding their departure, the former occupants would have left something behind. Places to hide, materials to create barricades; be creative so your players can creative.
Procedural Map Generation
If you need help coming up with areas to add to your map, roll a D8 and add the corresponding room from the table provided above. A D4 can also be rolled to add differently styled hallways and corridors. The GM can, of course, alter the size and dimensions of these additions to meet the needs of the game.