Sometimes Dungeons make people sick. Wizards, alas, seem especially susceptible to this. Perhaps it has to do with their connection to magic, all that primordial power and it’s ability to change...
In any case, there exist within certain places, those driven utterly mad by their esoteric studies and delves into forbidden realms of blood and gold. The question remains if they are human or not. These beings cultivate dungeons, willingly tearing and tugging at reality, chiseling away at the walls and pulling at the threads of reality’s curtains until their cozy little parasite is just the picture perfect home. Or laboratory. Or abattoir. Taste is subjective.
Who knows how long they’ve existed, or if they ever truly were or are human, but there exists one being in particular who vexes adventurers like no other: Jubilem Vile, The Master of Games.
Devious, cunning, without remorse or pity, something alien and broken in the manners by which he has laid his traps. Games, a thousand thousand games, lethal in nature and horrific in intent. Even the most mundane now feature something gone awry to cause the downfall of adventurers who wander into his demense. Often adventurers have little no no idea they’ve even stumbled into a dungeon, so crafty are his wiles, while other times his worlds become alien renders of children’s playthings.
The worst part is dealing with Jubilem himself during the events. Like a sadist child at play, everything is “fun”, a comedy of violence, a playtime without consequence for his self, but the highest stakes for mortals. One may feel that the only way to win is to not play, and if it were the material realm that would be true, but not here. The game proceeds whether the players wish it too or not, because adventurers are never playing alone: Jubilem always has more than one set of players, some even champions who’ve won more than one game on his behalf, to say the least of all the pieces he controls on the board.
Which game is he playing with you today?
Lethal Chess: It’s a chessboard, where the players are assigned their piece by class (warriors are knights, mages are queens/kings, thieves and scoundrels are rooks, clerics and priests are bishops). The pawns are helpless farmers and peasants, and the enemy pawns slavering monsters, the rival royal pieces fellow adventurers and bigger monsters. One piece taking another initiates combat, but the aggressor always wins initiative.
Penny Pot Poker: Vile himself leads the game, being played with the worst of the worst: faeries, demons, hags, and other extradimensional horrors. The catch, unspoken truth being that every copper is a day of your life, silvers a year, and golds a decade. Whether spent in servitude or in just life-drained is dependent upon who wins the final hand. There’s even a rumor that Death Herself occasionally plays.
Diabolical Sliding Brick Towers: Moving the small wooden bricks of a little tower and place them atop the stack. With each brick moved, a larger stone tower in an adjacent room moves with them. Double the tower’s height, but don’t knock it down. The rest of the party is in the room with the stone tower, the exit is within reach of the tower doubles in height. Pulling bricks reveals the creatures Jubilem’s hidden in a pocket space behind them.
Hot Frog Run: The exit and safety is just in the other side of the room, but alas, it’s bisected by a series of roads. Gorgons stampede down each lane, huffing and puffing venomous fumes that petrify those who breathe them, only for iron-shod hooves of the next demonic cattle to crush them to rubble. Between these creep spike-shelled tortoises, impossibly large. The gorgons dodge them, juking left or right into another lane at random.
The Blind Armada: a shimmering curtain of darkness bisects the room. One adventurer watches from the balcony, while their compatriots sit in boats below along a lettered and numbered grid, armed with flaming arrows. Across the room, Vile plays for the enemy, a similar fate for those he’s chosen. Shark fins break the water, a promise of what lies below the waves. The last boat standing is the winner.
Shoots, Snakes, and Ladders: the room has been designed as a manifold labyrinth of ladders affixed to long, thickly greased slides above a gaping pit of roiling acid, the exit once again a the top. Each slide terminates in a metal serpent’s face, some of which are animated and hungry. The adventurers must exit at the top again, while other players fire arrows set ablaze at them from balconies on each side.