Return to Undermountain04/20/2005


Room 4: The Hall of Mirrors (EL 4)



Room Summary

Creatures: (1) Mimic.
Traps: None.
Terrain: Glass-covered floor imposes a -5 penalty on Move Silently checks.
Lighting Conditions: Darkness.
Magic: Moderate universal and illusion: One of the mirrors is a programmed image made permanent with permanency.
Detectable Alignments: None.
Secrets: (2) The cloudy mirror is a mimic, and blood stains on the floor lead to its larder.
Treasure: The fourteen mirror frames can be sold. See Treasure below.

Relevant Skill Checks

Intelligence DC 10: The carvings of the mirror frame for the cloudy mirror hanging over the flat wall are identical to those on the frame that hangs in the niche near the east entrance. Allow a PC to make this check only if she has already seen the ghoulish frame near the east entrance.

Search DC 10: If a PC searches the place behind the cloudy mirror where it seems there should be a niche, a check with this result allows the PC to know thatthe section of wall behind the cloudy mirror isn't mortared to the wall and ceiling behind it, and it isn't stone. Also, the mirror seems attached to the wall. The mimic might attack a PC searching it, taking the opportunity to adhere the curious PC to itself. Note that dwarves and other creatures with stonecunning that come within 10 feet of the mimic gain a free Search check.

Spot DC 0: The third niche from the east entrance on the north side contains an unbroken mirror, and where the fifth niche would be from the east entrance on the south side hangs a cloudy mirror on a section of wall flush with the hallway. Remember that each 10 feet of distance imposes a-1 penalty on Spot checks.

Spot DC 5: The shards of glass on the ground are all broken pieces of silver-backed mirror.

Spot DC 10: Forty feet from the entrance, a dark brown stain lies on the gray stone floor, and some shards of glass in the area are similarly stained. A character who examines the stain by taste or closely smelling it immediately recognizes the stain as blood. If the PCs see the stain, and the players don't deduce this on their own or investigate it further, a DC 10 Intelligence check allows them to realize that it is probably dried blood.

Spot DC 23: If a PC succeeds at a Spot check to this degree, read the following text:

The cloudy mirror with the carvings of ghoulish faces doesn't look right. The surface of the mirror appears rough rather than smooth, and a similar roughness appears on the wall behind it. As you watch, you think you see a slight movement in the wall and the mirror hanging on it. It's an almost imperceptibly slow pulse or sway.

(This is the mimic breathing.)

Survival DC 10: A successful DC 10 Survival check (characters do not need the Track feat) reveals that the bloodstain on the floor continues down the hall to the west beneath the shards of mirror.

Survival DC 15: Someone with the Track feat who succeeds to this degree can deduce that the trail of blood appears to be from a Medium body dragged down the western half of the hall before the mirror shards were deliberately strewn over the hallway.

The Map

The map for this room is available in two different sizes: One serves as a reference for the DM, and the other is a map with a grid that works nicely with your miniatures.

Each map is presented as a compressed (zipped) Adobe Portable Document Format file (pdf). You need to have Adobe Reader installed to use it. Adobe Reader can be downloaded for free from the Adobe website.

Read this text if the PCs approach from the east entrance to this hall.

A short flight of stairs takes you up into a long hall littered with shards of glass. It stretches into the darkness -- its farthest reaches stretch out beyond a dwarf's darkvision. Three-foot-deep niches are set into the walls on either side at 5-foot intervals. Large empty wooden frames hang in each niche, with bits of shattered mirror clinging to their inside edges like broken teeth in gaping mouths. The frames nearest you bear ornate carvings of ghoulish faces and demonic forms.

Read this text if the PCs approach from the west entrance to this hall.

You turn the corner and see a long hall stretching into darkness -- its farthest reaches stretch out beyond a dwarf's darkvision. Three-foot-deep niches are set into the walls on either side 5-foot intervals. Large empty wooden frames hang in each niche, with bits of shattered mirror clinging to their inside edges like broken teeth in gaping mouths. The frame nearest you bears ornate carvings of ghoulish faces.

Allow the players an opportunity to ask any questions they might have, and ask them to make Spot checks to notice more details. Read the following when they decide to move down the hall.

As you pass down the hall, you note that the frame hanging in each niche appears to be unique. One is carved with daisy flowers, another with roses, and still another with the feathers of some bird. Two unbroken mirrors hang just ahead on your right and left. Mirrors like these two are clearly the source of the glass covering the floor. A clear mirror framed with wooden carvings of dolphins and fish hangs in a niche on the north side of the wall while a cloudy mirror with ghoulish faces hangs over a flat section of wall where it seems a niche would normally be.

Anyone reflected in the clear mirror for 1 round or more causes a reflection of a ghostly skeletal warrior to lunge from the niche opposite the mirror. The "ghost" appears to draw its sword and viciously slash at anyone reflected in the mirror for 5 rounds before it leaps back into the niche and through the wall. The "ghost" in the reflection and the mirror itself are merely a programmed image made permanent with a permanency spell cast here as a prank long ago by Halaster or some other wizard. Feel free to ask for initiative rolls and make it appear as though the PCs are being attacked by an assailant they can see only in the mirror.

The cloudy mirror and section of wall behind it is a mimic standing in the niche. It hopes to catch passersby unawares. The mimic was attracted to this corridor by the sound of some adventurers smashing the mirrors, and it killed one while the others ran off into the dungeon. Seeing the hall as a good hunting ground, the mimic dragged the body into another room to eat later and smashed the other mirrors in the hall to help hide the blood trail. It also removed the mirror frame from the niche it stands in and hid it with the body.

The mimic, who calls himself Squammulsh, sees the PCs as an opportunity to add to his larder. Squammulsh attacks the last PC to pass in a group of five or fewer. If there are six or more PCs, Squammulsh tries to remain hidden and does not attack unless several of the PCs appear to be injured.

Squammulsh wants food, not a fight to the death. If it adheres to and damages one PC, the mimic attempts to bargain with the others, speaking in Common. Squammulsh offers to let the others go if they let it have the PC it adhered to, but the mimic can be bargained into accepting the PCs' rations so long as it constitutes at least two weeks worth of food. (Although hostile at the beginning of the encounter, the mimic becomes merely unfriendly when he has a PC as a bargaining chip. For the mimic to accept something other than the captured PC as a meal, the PCs must change his attitude to friendly or better.) Squammulsh is familiar with the taste of wine, and it immediately becomes friendly and releases the captured PC if offered wineskin or bottle of alcohol.

If overmatched and near death, Squammulsh doesn't bother to flee. Instead the mimic wails piteously and begs for its life. In exchange for a bottle of wine and some food with each visit, the mimic promises to remain in the hall and not attack anyone but merely report on who passes through. If supplied at least once a week in this manner, the mimic is true to its word, but if the PCs fail to supply the mimic, it wanders off into the dungeon in search of food.

PCs who question the mimic about itself find little of interest. Squammulsh's first memories are of the dungeon, and it has stalked the area in search of food ever since. The mimic possesses little sense of direction and has a poor recollection for the layout of the complex since it has spent most of its life waiting in rooms rather than traveling about too much. It can tell the PCs about its larder and the discarded frame in a not-too-distant room, and it recalls a room with many pillars where it witnessed a fight between orcs and goblins some distance away, but it doesn't know in which direction the pillared hall lies.

Squammulsh: See the Monster Manual for a description of the mimic. Lacking a mimic miniature? Bend a bit of aluminum foil into a 1-inch cube to represent Squammulsh.

Treasure: The mimic doesn't have any treasure with it, but the frames hanging on the walls are worth a fair amount to the right buyer. The frames are 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, and each one weighs 30 pounds, making them awkward to carry. A human or similar creature can carry only two at a time at most since two mirrors fully occupy both hands. Also, although the frames are made of good hard wood, the decorations on the frames are delicate and can be broken easily. A PC must take a standard action to set down a frame without damaging the carvings -- an action which provokes attacks of opportunity. For each attack or drop that damages a frame, the frame suffers a 10% reduction in value. Each frame has hardness 5 and 40 hit points.

The hall appears to hold sixteen frames (though one of them is a mimic), and each frame is worth 60 gp. Finding buyers for all the frames could prove difficult, especially the spookier ones, but their reputation as artifacts from Undermountain should garner the PCs full value from most. The carvings on the frames on the north wall are (from east to west): demonic forms, daisies, dolphins and fish (permanent image), birds of prey, elves hunting stags, eyes of various types and sizes, squirrels in oak trees, and ships on a storm-tossed sea. The carvings on the frames on the south wall are (from east to west): ghoulish faces, roses, feathers, faces in clouds blowing wind, ghoulish faces (the mimic), townspeople performing their crafts, acrobats and clowns, and the house insignias of the various noble houses of Waterdeep (from a century ago).

Adventure Hooks and Tie-Ins

  • If the PCs are looking for someone or something, the "adventurers" the mimic chased off might be connected. Perhaps an item in the piles of broken glass, in the mimic's larder, or even within the mimic provides some clue for the PCs to use.

  • The mimic's larder might have a map that belonged to the mimic's last meal. The map could reveal some other portion of the dungeon, an entrance or exit from Undermountain, a location in the city above, or some other location that might intrigue the PCs.

  • The ghostly skeleton in the permanent image might reveal something about its creator due to the accoutrements the skeleton carries. This might signify the presence of a great foe, it might alert the PCs to a real ghostly threat later in the dungeon, or it might be a clue deliberately left by a spellcaster in the hopes that someone would solve some puzzle of his devising.

  • One or several of the mirror frames could be important to a noble house in the city. The house might reward the PCs or have the frames stolen from the PCs or those to whom the PCs sell the frames.

  • The next time the PCs come to the Hall of Mirrors, the mirrors might be restored and the broken glass removed. These new mirrors could be set in the same frames if the PCs didn't remove them before. They could be all new mirrors, this time girded with some magic that makes them more difficult to remove or break. The mirrors or a mirror might be a magic item. The mirrors might all be illusions that distort their reflections or reveal something untrue within their panes.

Need more information? Check the Return to Undermountain: An Introduction for more details.

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About the Author

Once editor-in-chief of Dragon Magazine and now a game designer at Wizards of the Coast, Matthew Sernett wrote in a Dragon editorial that there's nothing in D&D he likes better than when the adventurers flee through the dungeon, running pell-mell through traps and past monsters because what chases them is worse. When he wrote that, Matthew was thinking about Undermountain.

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