So I'm making a tomb on a tropical island called the Hall of Dead Heroes, a tomb where the evil natives buried their three most honored of their kind back in their civilization's high point. The tomb leads into a central room, with three corridors, one leads directly to Xanathon's tomb (the highest of the buried "heroes") the other two to others (each with a skill challenge trap to reach). Those two at the end (past the skill challenge trap) have "half of a key" that with both together make it possible to go down the corridor leading to Xanathon's Tomb.
The following skill challenge is obstacle 1 of 2 on the way to his resting place, the second being a "boss fight" against a huge undead solo snake. The area being an oval shaped room with a two flat "sides", and a murky-water filled hole in the center, that's actually a tunnel the undead snake can use to zip around and come out different locations in the area.
Anyways, how does the following skill challenge look? Much credit to Jim11735, who's post from Feb 2010 I came across. He posted the jist of the idea, but I formatted it to look correct, and inserted the Vipers for combat, and did the actual skills for the skill challenge. As well as the curse and ritual.
Encounter Level 9 (1,600 XP: Standard)
This skill challenge represents the first of the two rooms that together form the tomb of the once great native caster, Xanathon. A wizard, who, had a fondness for creatures of the slithering type, as displayed by his requests for the traps to protect his treasures.
Once the trap has been “sprung” by the characters, and the room has dropped ten feet, have the characters roll for initiative. The Snake Chamber trap activates after each character’s turn. Every time the Snake Chamber trap activates, 1 foot of snakes slither from the ceiling and cover the floor, more and more, until 9 feet of snakes fills the chamber. Snakes leave the room however, half a feet of snakes crawl away from the bottom layer for each inch the gap is beneath the wall panels. In addition, the first four times the Snake Chamber trap activates, a single Venomous Snake enters the room in a random location.
Each turn another foot of snakes would be added to the chamber when it is completely full of snakes instead pushes each character 1 square towards the wall, caught in the current of writhing snakes. At the end of a round with a room 9 feet deep with snakes, the weight of the snakes lowers the room 1 inch before calculating how many leave.
In the skill challenge, each wall can earn a success or failure only once. Each success lowers the floor another inch, increasing the rate at which the snakes leave. So after eight successes, the gap expands to nine inches, meaning that four and a half feet of snakes exit each round, whereas four enter the chamber each time it activates, meaning the room will eventually empty and the party can squeeze out to the next area. The first failure causes all the symbols on each panel to flicker, and causes each non-snake creature adjacent to it to gain ongoing 5 psychic damage (save ends). Three failures ends the skill challenge, causing all the symbols to fade out, and the room eventually fills with snakes, the sheer weight of which causes the room to lower 1 inch each round.
1 Snake Chamber Skill Challenge
4 Xanathon’s Viper
When the characters approach the area, read:
“The stone-block corridor comes to an end and opens to a mostly circular room, its shape composed of multiple 10 foot wide flat sections of wall. The room is about forty feet across, and 9 feet tall with no other doors or exits in the room. The walls each bearing a symbol carved into it and etchings cover the ceiling, each of which is an outline of a circle.”
Enter the snake chamber, read:
“As the last of you enter the chamber, the sound of sliding stone is heard as suddenly the whole room drops ten feet, and the only exit is now replaced with a solid wall. You notice the center of each of the circles above have not dropped with the room, leaving hundreds of circular two inch openings above, and the carved symbols in the walls now glow a faint green. In addition, there is now a 1 inch gap between the base of the walls and the floor.”
“As you get your bearings now that the room has dropped, snakes begin to pour though the holes in the ceiling, the first few hit the floor and slither away through the gap, but the number of snakes coming in is greater that the number leaving!”
Snake Chamber Trap Skill Challenge
Setup: You must use your knowledge of traps, the arcane, and knowledge of Zehir to open the gap more to empty the room of the snakes. Characters attempting Arcana and Thievery must be adjacent to wall sections, and must be wall panels the characters have not yet attempted checks on yet.
Complexity: 2 (requires 6 successes before 3 failures)
Primary Skills: Thievery, Arcana, Religion (after a successful Arcana check)
Arcana (DC 22): You examine the glowing arcane symbol on the wall panel, and through manipulating the energies correctly, cause the gap to widen another inch. In addition, the first successful Arcana check allows the character to realize certain prayers may be spoken to Zehir in draconic that, when spoken, widens the gap by yet another inch (this unlocks the use of the Religion skill to characters who can speak draconic).
Religion (DC 19): The character speaks a long-winded prayer to Zehir in the draconic tongue.
Thievery (DC 22): You fiddle with the traps workings, removing the metal symbols from the stone panels without hampering the arcane energies.
Success: The room has dropped a total of 9 inches, and the snakes slither out little by little, keeping the snakes from filling the room, and therefore preventing the curse of Xanathon.
Failure: The arcane energies fade from the symbols, and a non-penetrable arcane barrier rises behind it, no longer allowing the tampering of mechanisms. Failure means the only way the gap increases to 9 inches is by the room filling full of snakes causing all characters to be under the Curse of Xanathon and lowering slowly by the weight
The Vipers engage the closest enemy.
Features of the Area
Illumination: Whatever source the characters bring with.
Snakes: 1-3 feet of snakes counts as difficult terrain, 4-6 feet of snakes is difficult terrain as well and slows each medium or smaller non-snake creature, and 7-9 feet of snakes restrains all non-snake creatures in the chamber.
Xanathon's Viper Level 9 Brute (x4)
Medium natural beast (reptile) XP 400
HP 117; Bloodied 59
AC 21; Fortitude 20; Reflex 22; Will 20
Speed 6, climb 6
Resist 5 poison Initiative +9 Perception +10
Death Rattle (fear) • Aura 2
Enemies in the aura take a -2 penalty to attack rolls.
Standard Actionsm Bite (poison) • At-Will
Attack: +12 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + 6 damage, and the deathrattle viper makes a secondary attack against the same target. Secondary Attack: +10 vs. FortitudeHit: 1d8 + 4 poison damage and ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).
Str 14 (+6) Dex 21 (+9) Wis 12 (+5)Con 17 (+7) Int 4 (+1) Cha 16 (+7)
Alignment unaligned Languages —
© 2010 Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved. This formatted statistics block has been generated using the D&D Adventure Tools.
Xanathon’s Curse Level 8 Curse
Stage 1: In the last 12 hours of each day, the target loses the ability to speak any known languages, and instead only hisses are produced when attempting to speak. In addition, the targets gows snake-like fang that bestow a -5 penalty to diplomacy checks.
Stage 2: The target’s speech converts to hisses for the final 16 hours of each day.
Stage 3: The target’s speech converts to hisses for the last 20 hours of every day, in addition, at the beginning of each combat (before initiative is rolled) the target falls prone and cannot stand up for 5 minutes.
Check: At the end of each extended rest, the target makes an Arcana check if he or she is at stage 1,2, or 3.
11 or lower: The stage of the curse increases by one.
12-15: No change.
16 or higher: The stage decreases by 1 (if at stage 1, no change occurs).
Ending the Curse: The target spends 2 hours in prayer apologizing to Zehir for breaking into a disciple’s tomb in the draconic language, or cast’s the Eternal Snake ritual on a snake not already under it’s effect.
The following is a ritual found in a ritual book Xanathon was buried with:
You whisper words of Zehir’s faith, combined with the arcane powers and weave a blessing of eternal life to a snake.
Level 5 Component Cost: 10 gp
Category: Exploration Market Price: 50 gp
Time: 10 minutes. Key Skill: Arcana or Religion
You target a snake with the natural origin of huge size or smaller. The snake now has the Immortal origin, and can no longer persish due to aging, or lack of food or water, but retains it’s insticts. For example, even though the snake no longer requires nourishment, it still hunts for prey as a normal snake would instinctively.
I apologize for the wall of texts.... but.... what do you think?