Monday, August 8, 2011

Interesting Locations

One of the biggest problem in my dungeons is a lack of interesting locations. My dungeons were an endless series of bland, uninteresting rooms, filled with monsters and not much else.

So I made a concerted effort to seek out ideas for landmarks and items with which to populate my dungeons. I compiled a list. I found discussion threads listing interesting features, traps, and puzzles, added most of the things from the Alexandrian's 101 Curious Items, added one of each cursed item (and some additional cursed items), added a vial of every basic potion, added some random additional magic items, followed the Alexandrian's advice in that post and made some interesting new locations with the help of the 1st edition DMG, added most of the lists from the 3.5e DMG and [i]Dungeonscape[/i] and other sources, and eventually had a massive list. Then, for every room in the dungeon, I rolled 3 or so times on this list of landmarks ("nothing" was a prominent option, so not everything had 3 landmarks; unlike in my dynamic random encounter tables, I did decrement "nothing" by 1 each time it was selected).

Here are some ideas to get you started on your list, should you chose to do the same:
  • A door that opens on someplace completely different in the dungeon
  • A dung heap
  • A metamagic rod that applies a misspelling effect to spells instead of a normal metamagic effect
  • A monster nest (roll on wandering monster table to determine whose nest)
  • A mound of rubble
  • A statue (roll on wandering monster table to determine what it represents)
  • A toppled statue
  • A trap
  • A trap that's already been triggered
  • Adventurer corpse
  • Bloodstains
  • Bottomless chasm with a bridge across it
  • Bottomless pit
  • Ceiling collapses (reflex 15 or 5d6 damage + buried) when anyone steps in the middle of the room. Ceiling is restored (and will do it again) if doors are closed when nobody is inside
  • Door that reverses the gravity for anybody who passes through it in either direction
  • Graffiti
  • Hidden treasure
  • Humanoid bones
  • Little bell and a hammer and a sign that says "Please do not ring this bell"; If bell is rung a huge fire elemental appears and attacks (works 1/day)
  • Monster corpse
  • mosaic of dozens of Olidammaras who attempt to steal gold (sleight of hand +10) from anyone who comes within 5'
  • Nonhumanoid bones
  • One-way passage, can travel one direction but not the other (DC25 strength check to pass 5' in the wrong direction).
  • Room full of lifelike statues. Pedestal which casts Flesh to Stone (save DC15) on anyone who touches it.
  • Some vertical elevation change
  • Tapestry which forcibly casts Rage (will DC15, duration 5 rounds) on anyone who sees it
  • Unidentifiable slime on the walls

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