Isaac’s Basement

December 21, 2017 dnd rpgs dungeons nilvein doom side of the mountain

Isaac’s Basement is a one page dungeon that’s meant to be dropped into your campaign near a mountain, or forest, or any area where the PCs will be visiting regularly and will want a friendly NPC to give them a place to camp out, guide them, give them rumors, etc.

What’s Going On?

Isaac is a lonesome woodcutter who lives by himself in a cabin in the woods. He’s incredibly friendly and helpful, though a bit of a loner. He’s a widower, whose wife, Marie, and daughter, Sarah, died a few years ago, killed by a bear in the woods nearby. If he gets to know the PCs he’ll confide this information to them.

In truth, Isaac has become a werebear, and he is the one who killed Marie and Sarah. He’s consumed by guilt about this and has started experimenting in the basement with necromancy in an ill-fated attempt to bring Marie and Sarah back to life. He’s had some small success, which keeps him going, despite the fact that his lycanthropy regularly makes him into a monster who prowls the nearby lands during the full moon, looking for victims, who eventually become the components of his eldritch experiments.

Notes on the Surrounding Wilderness

Outside Isaac’s house are two paths, one will lead to a graveyard filled with unmarked graves (these are failed Sarahs and Maries) the other leads out into the woods to a small unadorned hunting shack that Isaac sometimes stays in and Jordie occasionally frequents. The trapdoor to room 15 leads to a pit trap to some random place in the woods. Any wooded area could easily fuck the PCs into finding themselves here.

Map of Isaac’s Cabin and BasementMap of Isaac’s Cabin and Basement

Key: Isaac’s Cabin & Basement

  1. Musty Hunter’s Den
    ! 25% chance Isaac is here, drunk, stoking the coals of his fire.
  2. Cluttered Kitchen
    ! 25% chance Isaac is here, cooking savory meat stew.
    Hatch in the floor is locked and hidden beneath a heavy cask of ale.
  3. Packed Pantry
    $ Rare Spices (200GP) from Yoon-Suin or some other far away place.
    $ Animal Skins (300GP) from great and wondrous beasts1, Isaac tells tall tales of their defeat.
  4. Dusty Guest Room
    PCs who sleep here will have nightmares of being buried alive, no healing from rest. If PCs stay the night, but don’t sleep, they will see Isaac sneaking out at night.
    $ Chest holds girl’s clothes and a teddy bear. Inside the teddy bear is a heart-shaped diamond (500GP).
  5. Isaac’s Room
    ! 50% chance Isaac here at night.
    $ Chest holds a woman’s brush, scarf. Beneath is 500GP, +2 Dagger against Lycanthropes
  6. Anatomical Library & Study
    $ Multiple skeletons hang from the pillars and detailed anatomical drawings (50GP/ea.) line the walls.
    A butcher’s table with flanks of meat, de-gloved hands, a little girl’s skull. Neatly organized.
  7. Alchemical Study
    Jars w/ hearts, eyes, livers, brains, line the shelves. They are labelled appropriately.
    $ Unmarked Potions: x2 Potion of Healing, x2 Potion of Growth, x2 Poison (Formaldehyde)
  8. Operating Theatre
    ! Elf prisoner, severely wounded, strapped to an operating table. He has been de-gloved and has no tongue and can’t cast spells. Will reward the PCs for freeing him if they can.
  9. Jordie’s Chamber
    ! Jordie sitting on a stool talking with the prisoner in 10 through the bars. He won’t let them out, but is otherwise nice and chatty. Is not hostile at all, but confused easily (Paul Dano).
  10. Prison Cell
    ! Little Girl who has been kidnapped from the local village2.
  11. Black Marie’s Room
    ! Black Marie is here, chained to the wall. She wears a pearl necklace (2,000GP).
  12. The Vats
    ! 50% chance Grey Sarah sits in the corner and stares at the wall. Occasionally she stirs the vats.
    4 Vats (See Note below) containing two small bodies and two normal sized bodies. They do not have skin yet.
  13. Grey Sarah’s Room
    ! 50% chance Grey Sarah sits in the corner and stares at the wall.
    $ Beautiful wooden toys lay strewn about the ground. Beautiful dresses (500GP) lay across the bed in a huge pile, untouched.
  14. Crypt
    $ Sarah & Marie’s original corpses are in here in magical preserving coffins (5,500GP). Though many pieces of them are missing and in jars in room 7.
  15. Isaac’s Cage
    The doors and trapdoor above are self-locking. Isaac will bring bears to slaughter PCs trapped here. The stone walls are scratched to shit.
    The trapdoor above leads to a long sliding tunnel that is difficult to climb up and eventually leads to a pit trap out in the woods.

The Vats in Room 12

If the PCs pour a potion of growth into the vat, then the body will grow skin and hair (the small bodies turn to Sarahs, the normal sized ones turn to Maries). If a potion of healing is then poured in, the creature from the vat will come to life. If a potion of poison is poured into the vat it will disintegrate whatever is in there. A potion of healing before a potion of growth will raise a skinless beast who shrieks and attacks on sight. Only the potions from room 7 will work. Isaac’s experiment is not complete and the creatures do not have souls, they will attack anything that moves or howl and attack each other. They will do whatever is the most creepy or tragic at that time.

Wandering Monsters (In the basement)

  1. The ghost of a little girl will warn PCs to stay away from Isaac and then run away.
  2. d4 Black Bears that Isaac is letting rest in his basement.
  3. Isaac in werebear form leading a pack of Black Bears back from a hunt.
  4. Bear cub, insanely cute. Will take a liking to the PCs. It’s mother is looking for it. This will cause problems for PCs who want a bear pet. Otherwise: Free bear!
  5. 2d10 Villagers looking for their children, Isaac will offer to help them and then lead them astray if they make it to him. If they are in the basement. They are pissed.
  6. A failed experiment of Isaac’s. Stat as Wight, though she looks like a skinless woman or child and cannot stop crying. She screams Isaac! Please stop!” until she dies or wanders off. Hostile as fuck.

Monsters & NPCs

IsaacIsaac

Isaac
Stats as Werebear.

Isaac became a werebear and in his initial rage and confusion killed his wife Marie, and daughter, Sarah. He has long since killed the sorcerer who turned him and has spent the time studying and trying to find a way to resurrect his family. He is incredibly helpful and warm to the PCs and is not suspicious in any way3. Keeps keys to room 15, 12, 7, and 10 around his neck on a necklace.

Jordie [Room 9]
HD 1-1. AC Unarmored. Simpleton. Morale 2.

Jordie is a slow kid from a neighboring village who wandered here and Isaac has taken in as his own sort of adopted son. Jordie helps Isaac with the prisoners and other odd jobs and seems to have no greater understanding of the wrongs that are being done, just that Isaac’s family died and this will help him get them back. Don’t you want to help Isaac get his family back? If threatened he will run away and try to get Isaac or a bear (who can then get Isaac). Owns keepsakes from Isaac’s victims.

Elf Prisoner [Room 8]
Level d4 Elf. Unarmored.

Isaac thinks that Elves and their immortality hold the secret to bringing his wife and daughter back to life (they don’t). He is trying to extract the soul from this poor creature. He’s already removed his tongue, so he can’t cast spells.

Little Girl [Room 10]
Level 0. Unarmored.

This little girl has been kidnapped. Isaac lured her in his bear form, by being playful and charming.

Grey Sarah [Room 12 or 13]
Level 0. Unarmored.

Grey Sarah is the greatest accomplishment of Isaac’s. She is like Sarah in every way, save for she doesn’t grow, speak, or think. She is an empty vessel. The most she has been able to learn is to stir the vats occasionally. Isaac loves her and will do anything to protect her. She is unaware of this or anything else.

Black Marie [Room 11]
HD 3+1. AC Unarmored. Claw/Claw/Bite+Poison Rot.

Black Marie was the closest thing to a success Isaac had before Grey Sarah. Success is a tough word because Black Marie is infested with some broken soul and hates all things. She has spell like abilities to cast Darkness and Frost Bolts once per day and her bite (which can only hit if both claws hit) causes poison. Save vs. poison or lose 1 pt, of CON per day until you die.

The original notes for Isaac’s basement in my traveler’s notebookThe original notes for Isaac’s basement in my traveler’s notebook


  1. Take these from your wandering monster tables for the nearby hexes.

  2. Or anyone the PCs are looking for.

  3. In my ideal world he helps the PCs and guides them through the woods, providing health, healing, and comfort for a long time, but eventually the PCs curiosity gets the better of them and they unravel his hideous experiments.



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