19). Out of the Dark
The hallway branches off in a T section as you step inside the entrance to the ruined keep(The entryway is at the bottom of the T). No lights, but lots of cobwebs, and empty sconces where torches once rested. (The sconces alternate left and right down the hall every 20ft and if the 2nd sconce on the left is turned to the left a grinding sound will be heard, a small vibration will run through the floor and the walls, while dust shakes from the ceiling. The 10ft section of wall which holds the sconce will recede about an inch and stop. It is jammed shut. The movable wall will take magic or picks and sledge hammers to take apart. It is an actual thick section of stone wall formed of stone slabs weighing a couple of hundred pounds each and expertly fitted together (damn that dwarven craftmanship) so knocking it apart will probably involve a good deal of time, a slight chance of stones falling on the character and a great deal of noise).
Once the obstruction is cleared a half-dozen skeletons will burst from the dark interior of the room; each armed with sword and shield. The leader still wears a rusty shirt of chain (he is AC4) while the others wear the scraps of rotted leather armor they wore in life but are now of no additional protection. They bear longsword and shield (giving the other 5 skeletons AC6) and do the damage of their weapon unlike their more generic brethren. They will fight to their destruction.
Inside the room (which is L shaped, the entrance through the secret door is at the top of the L and the bend at the bottom sweeping toward the turning corridor at the end of the hall, nicely obscuring what can be seen around the corner of the room) are two long wooden table with benches, a weapons rack with ten light crossbows (only two have not been rotted by a slow dripping leak that has come down the wall from a large crack in the stone roof) and a score of bolt pouches contain bolts, most of which will fly apart in flinders if anyone attempts to use them as the damp and moisture have rotted them as well. A larger weapons rack is against the far wall, but it is empty. Against the wall facing the Keep's entrance is a small iron stove, cold and overturned, while the ventilation pipe hangs from the roof (inside the stove is a solid clump of ash which, if smashed apart, reveals a piece of parchment 3/4 burned revealing 1/4 of the 1st level of the dungeon below).
The floor of the room is scattered with broken bones and rotted leather armor, sundered shields (four are still serviceable, medium shields) and ten longswords with various degrees of rust (the swords are -2 to hit and damage till they have been resharpened).
A short but long cabinet is against the opposite wall from the secret door. Inside can be found the ancient remains of the rations that the men now skeletons ate in life. Once it was home to a nest of rats, now a score of these giant creatures are also nothing but skeletons themselves. They are animated and with the same vicious desire to kill as their once human counterparts. With a wordless squeak they will spring out and in a flow of bony feet attack those in the room. They are 1hd-4 creatures with 2hp each and AC of 7 and 1 bite attack that will do 1hp of damage. If the nest of rotted bones and rations is examined 200 cp can be sifted from the debris. But if this is done a trap door beneath the base of the wormridden boards of the cabinet will be discovered dropping down to dungeon level 1.
Amid the scattered bones on the floor of this room will be seen a black and dried smear of blood leading to the far end of the room and trailing around the corner. If the party approaches the corner, with a light source or some means of vision in the darkness as the room is a stygian pit, they will notice... (To be continued)