Encounter Culture #1 Abjuration

Welcome to the first installment of my new recurring series "Encounter Culture" where I'll present an encounter complete with a breakdown and some tips for how to use it and what it adds. And in keeping with Duck and Rolls month long celebration of Schools we'll be looking at an encounter focused on Abjuration. The encounters are designed to be modular allowing you to place them neatly into many adventures.

The Rainbow room-  CR 16 encounter - 76,800 xp.

The basics:

This room poses a deadly challenge to a group of heroes who would ordinarily be more that capable of defeating the lower level foe before them. The encounter contains 12 prismatic wall traps that will activate in a specific pattern over the course of 3 rounds dividing the room into just a few small safe squares. The Iron Golem they players will be fighting is immune to the effects of the spell and thus can move freely laying the hurt on the players who can neither see nor move through the ever increasing barriers. And anyone touching the walls may wind up dragged off into a fight with two weaker golems in a pocket plane.


Description to read to players:  The room before you is a large 60 ft by 60 ft perfectly square chamber with 30 ft high walls made of beautiful mirrors causing it to seem to reflect endlessly all over itself. In the very center stands a golem of gleaming iron and steel likewise polished to a near mirror finish.  The floor is carved neatly into 144 perfect 5 ft squares and for the time being the golem appears inactive.

If any player makes a DC 10 perception check you can also add: Prominent runes and symbols criss cross the chamber, worked into the floor, walls, and ceiling.

When any of the following conditions are met the process begins:

  • A.) All character enter the room
  • B.) At least one character has been in the room for 3 rounds
  • C.)The golem inside is attacked

 On the first round the 4 sides of the room are filled with prismatic walls. (The Grey square represents the starting point of the Golem)


On the second round the room is carved into strips by the second set of walls 

(Round 2)

And on the third round the room is cut up into cubes 

(Round 3)


The Iron golem will attack anyone within the room, or within reach (10 ft) of its entrance. However the golem is not merely placed as a sentry. It's creator is using a magical item built into its helmet to see what it sees and give it commands, and pressure plates in the floor relay the location of anyone touching the ground. As such the golems tactics should reflect a highly intelligent foe with knowledge of the locations of each opponent standing in the room (and their weight). This also means it may use it's reach to attack an opponent from safely behind a prismatic wall, albeit with a 50% miss chance. A smart player may ready their action to attack when attacked in order to counter this approach. If the golem encounters a foe wielding a adamantine weapon it's typical tactic is to disarm the foe (And thus take hold of the weapon) and then use it's free action to drop the weapon in a space containing a prismatic wall, often destroying it.

Anyone destroying any of the prismatic walls are sure to become fast targets of bullrush manuever and deadly slams. 

Prismatic wall trap:

These runes are not disguised very well at all (Perception DC is only 10)

The runes are also very weak and are not protected particularly well. (Disable device DC 20, requires only a full round action). Also unlike most magical traps if the trap is disabled the wall vanishes entirely.

Anyone contacting the prismatic walls is subject to their normal effects, all saving throws are DC 22. However anyone transported to another plane is instead brought to a special pocketplane detailed below. As with the prismatic wall spell the walls cannot be created in the space a creature occupies. Unlike the spell this doesn't prevent the whole wall being formed, just wall sections in squares that are occupied, this leaves holes and gaps in the barriers where the players are.  

The Inverse room: This pocket plane has the same dimensions as it's material plane counterpart room although with no entrances or exits. The prismatic walls exist in both planes simultaneously and the pocket plane is populated by 2 Clay golems who are ordered to kill anyone who enters the room. These clay golems are not being directed by their creator and so their tactics are less advanced. Anyone failing the save against the violet effect of the prismatic walls while in this plane will be sent to the nearest open identical same location on the material plane.

The inverse room has one other extra feature. In the center 4 squares is a large rune (Perception DC 15)

The rune emits a Soothe Construct spell each round if it has line of effect to a construct, this all but guarantees the clay golems will not attack each other.


High points: This encounter mixes high magic, colourful design and a sense of terror. A huge iron enemy stalks out of sight, swinging out with its massive fists while the players are separated and isolated from each other and  vulnerable to all kinds of attack. And if one is sent to the other plane a character may have to risk everything and throw them self against a wall, trying to survive the other effects and voluntarily failing against the violet wall to provide backup.



The tale of the tape:  This is the breakdown of the Challenge Rating

This is a CR 16 encounter made of a Mixed pair which would be a CR 15 and a CR 13, and then we further split the CR 15 into a 14 and a 12.

The CR 13 is the Iron golem.

Each prismatic wall trap is CR 7 on its own based on the formula for calculating trap CR and so a group of 12 of them is equal to CR 14 (Each doubling adds 2 to the CR and increasing by 50% adds 1 to CR.)

The CR 12 encounter is represented by the 2 clay golems in the inverse room. The possibility that they won't get to fight is counter balanced by the possibility that one PC may get trapped with them.

The Soothe construct trap doesn't add anything appreciable to the CR of the encounter since the chance of the golems going berserk is very low, and realistically there will be few times that the golems have line of effect to the runes once the walls come up. It's mostly there to show off another abjuration spell and to explain how the golems are able to work together without eventually destroying eachother.


If you enjoyed this stay tuned for more “Encounter Culture” featuring all the other schools of magic throughought the rest of the month. And for more quality content visit: http://www.duckandrollgames.com/