Gates of Hell (D&D 5th Edition Artifact and Monsters)

Michael O. Varhola

Following is an artifact inspired by the description of the Gates of Hell in the "Inferno" of Medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri and based on the similarly-inspired bronze sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin. In its description I mention the Inferno itself, but storytellers could use this ominous artifact as the portal to any appropriate location. 

“Your path continues steeply upward toward the peak of the mountain and, presently, it ends not far from the top at what appears to be an alcove in the face of the rock. Set within this aperture is a massive set of ornate, bronze double doors set into a heavy lintel fashioned from the same polished brownish metal. Scores of small figures are incorporated into the door, most of them shown suffering or being tormented in some way within what amounts to a depiction of an infernal landscape. Ominous runes are forged into the lintel above the door and statues of three life-sized, spectral men stand above and point down toward them. An ominous bronze figure sits beneath these men and just above the doors themselves, its chin resting upon one of its fists.”

Overall the metal gates and their frame are 30 feet high, 20 feet wide, and five feet deep. Incorporated into them are a total of 180 figures, four of them size Medium and the rest size Small. The runes are Infernal script and read “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.” The gates will not actually open but, if anyone touches them with the intent of passing through them, such a person will be transported to a specific spot in the Vestibule of the Inferno demiplane. When this happens, anyone with the character touching the gates who can also see them and who also intended to pass through them will be transported as well, appearing to be sucked into the gate by anyone watching.

A round after someone uses the Gates of Hell to travel to the Inferno, an Erinyes will appear in the air some 20 feet in front of the portal and about 20 feet above the ground. This vindictive monster will be clad in a golden breastplate (AC 16), be armed with a Rope of Entanglement in one hand and a longsword in the other, and will comport itself like a celestial creature. If any characters remain behind, it will attempt to capture one of them with its magical rope and to reduce the others to 0 hit points in melee. If successful, it will move all of the bound characters into contact with the gates and then transport them and itself to its castle in the Inferno (where its captives will be imprisoned and need to be rescued by companions who have gone through the gates ahead of them). If the Erinyes is being defeated in melee, it will attempt to use the gates to flee to the Inferno, taking with it if possible any characters entangled by its rope or that it has already incapacitated.

If anyone attacks and damages the gates in some way, the spell Thunderwave, cast as if with a 9th-level spell and at the 17th level of ability, will erupt in a 15-foot cube centered on the gates. Creatures within this area will suffer 10d8 thunder damage and be driven back 10 feet (those succeeding on a DC 19 Constitution saving throw suffer half damage and are not driven back). This will happen up to once in any round in which the gates suffer damage of some sort. The gates are AC 18 and have 300 hit points total.

In addition, if the Gates of Hell are attacked the three six-foot-high bronze figures of male shades standing above the portals will animate, drop to the ground, and attack anyone nearby. If the gate is attacked subsequently, during each round this occurs 2d4 of the small bronze figures will animate and attack intruders, with one of these appearing to be a winged devil that can fly and the others looking like tormented people. In all cases their intent will be to slay anyone attacking the gates. They will not move more than 30 feet from the gates, unless someone is attacking them from a distance. All such figures are inferior to true Golems but much more powerful than simple animated objects.

If somehow more than half of the bronze statues are destroyed or if the Gates of Hell are reduced to 150 or fewer hit points, then the fourth Human-sized statue, the Thinker, will also animate and attack intruders. 

Animated Bronze Statue “Shade” (3)
Medium construct, unaligned
 
AC: 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 91 (14d8+28)
Speed: 30 ft.
 
STR             DEX             CON             INT               WIS              CHA
14 (+2)         12 (+1)         14 (+2)         3 (-4)            10 (+0)          1 (-5)
 
Damage Immunities: Poison, Psychic, Thunder
Damage Resistances: Fire; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from nonmagical weapons that are not adamantine
Condition Immunities: Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
Senses: Blindsight 60 ft., Passive Perception 10
Languages:
Challenge: 9 (5,000 XP)
 
False Appearance: While an animated bronze statue remains motionless it is indistinguishable from a normal statue. 
 
Magic Resistance: An animated bronze statue has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects. 
 
Actions
Multiattack: An animated bronze statue makes two slam attacks. 
 
Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d6+2) bludgeoning damage. 
 
Description
These three statues of gaunt men have been designed to look like the shades of dead people. 
 
Animated Bronze Statue “Damned” (176)
Small construct, unaligned
 
AC: 20 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 63 (14d6+14)
Speed: 20 ft. (fly 30 ft.)
 
STR             DEX             CON             INT               WIS              CHA
12 (+1)         14 (+2)         12 (+1)         3 (-4)            10 (+0)          1 (-5)
 
Damage Immunities: Poison, Psychic, Thunder
Damage Resistances: Fire; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from nonmagical weapons that are not adamantine
Condition Immunities: Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
Senses: Blindsight 60 ft., Passive Perception 10
Languages:
Challenge: 5 (1,800 XP)
 
False Appearance: While an animated bronze statue remains motionless it is indistinguishable from a normal statue.
 
Magic Resistance: An animated bronze statue has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
 
Actions
Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4+2) bludgeoning or piercing damage (see below).
 
Description
Most of these statues like men and women who have been condemned to some eternal plane of torment, but about one in five looks instead like a winged devil, has a flying speed of 30 ft., and inflicts piercing damage with its tail, pitchfork, etc., rather than bludgeoning damage.
 
Animated Bronze Statue “Thinker”
Medium construct, lawful evil
 
AC: 19 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 105 (14d8+42)
Speed: 30 ft.
 
STR             DEX             CON             INT               WIS              CHA
16 (+3)         12 (+1)         16 (+3)         16 (+3)         14 (+2)          11 (+0)
 
Skills: Arcana +7, Athletics +7, Perception +6
Proficiencies: Bronze sculptor’s tools
Damage Immunities: Poison, Psychic, Thunder
Damage Resistances: Fire; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from nonmagical weapons that are not adamantine
Condition Immunities: Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
Senses: Blindsight 60 ft., Passive Perception 16
Languages:
Challenge: 9 (5,000 XP)
 
False Appearance: While an animated bronze statue remains motionless it is indistinguishable from a normal statue.
 
Magic Resistance: An animated bronze statue has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
 
Actions
Multiattack: An animated bronze statue makes two slam attacks.
 
Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8+3) bludgeoning damage, plus make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or be transported to the circle in the Vestibule of Hell to which characters using the gate are sent.
 
Repair Bronzework: As a bonus action, the Thinker can touch the Gates of Hell, one of the animated bronze statues, or itself to restore 4d8+3 hits points to it (and can do so even if they or itself are reduced to 0 hit points).
 
Description
This statue has had infused into it the mind and soul of the bronze worker who created the Gates of Hell.