How can characters cross Crematorium in the Turn of Fortune’s Wheel adventure


I will be DMing this adventure today. And I have to admit, as a non-native English speaker, I have some trouble with the M-5 Crematorium area.

The puzzle, as far as I understand it, goes like that:

There are red and blue levers on both sides. Red ones are mostly irrelevant to the issue I have.

The door on the far side is shut. Blue lever on the near side can shut and lock both. After a timeout both door unlocks.

Now the issue is, can the door be simply slid open? And could characters just

go there and move the far door open without pulling any levers at all? Does it start unlocked?

If so, this would make the puzzle trivial and next to non-existent for characters that manages to avoid

Maurice, the zombie employee dutifully trying to cremate a corpse and not registering it's still alive.

Is there anything I am missing here? Or is that employee the part that matters here the most?

Best Answer

The Zombie is the main danger

The levers are outside of the room as you can see in this illustration:

Crematorium Map: "M5" room located between two "operating" areas with two levers each, one red and one blue

The adventure says:

Zombie Worker. After the characters enter the crematorium for the first time, a human zombie wearing a name tag that reads "Maurice" appears in the window of the opposite door and triggers the safety mechanism, trapping any characters inside the crematorium for 1 minute.

Maurice then places its moldering hand on the red lever, preparing to trigger the furnace. The characters can try to distract the zombie from its task with magic or theatrics and by making DC 14 Charisma (Performance) check. On a successful check, the zombie gurgles contently and loses interest in the lever. It shuffles along when the doors unlock. On a failed check, the zombie pulls the furnace lever.

Mortal Lessons

A character could easily die in area M5. If this happens, reveal that the characters have multiple incarnations. Consult the "Glitch Characters" section in this book's introduction for details. If a character isn't slain here, seek other opportunities for reckless actions to result in temporarily mortal consequences.

So the sequence is the characters enter the area, Maurice appears, pulls the blue lever and traps them closing the doors, then starting to pull the red lever. The characters might know what happens next, if they tried out the levers on their end of the crematorium before they entered, and learned (without any risk to their health) how it works. In that case they will likely try their utmost to stop Maurice from incinerating them, and the module gives the DM guidance to allow for this.

The characters cannot simply open the door from inside the 1 minute while it is locked, and the zombie will also not wait for a minute to pull the red lever.

I think the room is not meant as a death trap that is impossible to avoid, as the guidance text says "A character could easily die in area M5", so while this can happen, it's not necessarily happening. But, for example if the characters did not try the levers, and do not know the doors are locked or what will likely happen next, it could kill them.

Hope you got this in time for using it in your game tonight.

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