Skull of the Cyclops Trial

By Kane Driscol

While not as infamous as the Grey Hill Fire Trial, the second trial from ICRPG CORE is no less impressive. In just a few scenes you have to deal with stronger than average foes, traps, and nail-biting rolls.

While naturally geared towards rogue-ish types, I found that this trial would be just as engaging for a fighter or a magic user to contend with. I mean a fighter could take on the guards at the beginning with a few good rolls. Maybe use their strength to reposition them and throw them off the ledge to buy some time?

In the trapped corridor, some magic would be really helpful to blast or freeze the mechanisms away. Investigating the area might even provide some insight to how it works, or just heal yourself of any damage dealt along the way.

Even the last room would be a blast to see a team tackle. The rogue can get across and steal the item, the fighter could fend off the guards, a ranger could help support the rogues return across the pit. So many possibilities!

Some Suggestions

As I was prepping this trial, I had some time to think about ways to change things up or tweak the trial in the event you wanted to run it for yourself. It’s perfectly fine as is, but consider the following to fit your needs.

  • Like you saw in the video, timers of when the guards would arrive or how long they are distracted can be really helpful.
  • If you do have a timer going, maybe every time someone fails a stealth check, tick the timer down by one mid-round. Turns the pressure up on each and every roll since you don’t want to alert the guards.
  • In the trap room, if you wanted to test out a mage, think about switching the traps for an enchanted doorway. You’ve got to complete a heart of effort to divine a counter spell, all the while magical wards are dealing damage if you don’t pass an INT or WIS check.
  • For fighters, perhaps present a final big guard in the last room and some collapsible columns. Got to fight the guy while hanging onto the skull!

And those are just a few ideas! Trials are great practice of the LOG mentality. Each scene is a location with a simple obstacle and a simple goal. With that in mind you can come up with just about anything for a trial! Then you can build on any of that to design more complex encounter and full blown sessions.

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Kane’s Kiln

I'm a day-to-day Game Master and I'm here to play, have fun, and share anything I can to help others in this great hobby!

Let me know if you have any questions or need help with anything ICRPG-related. Always happy to assist another lumpy-head!