Thursday, May 26, 2011

Need a Special?

I carry around a little pocket notebook most days.  It's useful in general, but over the past few months, since I started working on my Megadungeon, I've been using it most during my commutes to and from work to jot down ideas for special or interesting encounters, traps, monster combinations, or generally odd things I'd like to throw in the Megadungeon.

That little notebook is now full, and I have a new one.  So I decided to copy all of those Specials into a document here on the computer to print out and have easy access to when I get back to stocking the dungeon.  And of course, why not share?  These are just idea prompts, not every encounter will be just like this when I stock them, so if by chance anyone who plays in my Megadungeon has read them, they won't necessarily be at an advantage.  Feel free to use, modify, or mock them as you please (I fully admit some of these are stolen, and some are very cheesy).

Anyway, here are nearly 300 Specials, pulled from my little pocket notebook:

  1. X on ceiling marks the spot.
  2. Put correct wig on statue
  3. invisible and on high floating disk
  4. map/riddle on wall, “walk from X to Y without taking a step”
  5. mosaics of tarot major arcana cards on walls
  6. demon idol, waiting for blood to be spilt on it
  7. “chessmen” carved like dynastic kings
  8. tank with dangerous creature and a lever that opens a secret panel
  9. locked empty chest, work lock again once open to reveal secret panel
  10. statue of thirsty individual, empty water basin at feet
  11. 2 knight statues, talk, 1 always lies, 1 always tells the truth
  12. 3 levers: one drops (slow) crushing ceiling, one drops floor to secret safe area, one resets
  13. lever hidden in mouth of statue
  14. monster eats treasure then flees
  15. statue of St. George stabbing dragon but without spear
  16. alcove blocked by force field
  17. urn of a swarm of flies (curse)
  18. petrified (translucent) gelatinous cube blocks path (stone to flesh scroll nearby)
  19. epic poem inscribed on wall, lacuna, fill it in to reveal secret
  20. Indy Jones style golden idol on pedestal
  21. gorgon statue, breathe on IT
  22. statue of frog prince, kiss it
  23. magic beans/beanstalk (work like rope trick spell)
  24. nasty monster in a cage (shielded from spells/missiles?) with a big treasure
  25. wizard's test — proper sequence of spells cast to pass
  26. picture of monster, speak to it in its language to pass
  27. NPC in trouble has key to open a specific lock
  28. pool with negative magical effect, treasure at the bottom
  29. proper party composition (1 of each class, etc.) to pass
  30. carving of ape, riddle “What slew the beast?”
  31. Lever, 4 way, pair of buttons labeled A and B
  32. Panels with one bird, two birds, and three birds. Sling on floor.
  33. Treasure visible but ethereal
  34. illusion – junk looks like treasure, treasure looks like junk
  35. Louvre Pyramid/DaVinci Code sorta thing, good stuff in hidden lower pyramid
  36. Royal Court statues, king lacks crown, jester wears crown of thorns
  37. large movable (with some effort) blocks, spacial puzzle
  38. water drain, divert flow, floods room but washes out treasure
  39. Land of the Lost style crystal matrix
  40. Clay ducks and laughing hunting dog statues, break hunting dog
  41. various colored permanent flames around level, assemble in one room in right order
  42. nymph wants to be pleasured, will reward handsomely
  43. area with 'chaste knight' motif, naughty nymph tries to seduce, rewards those who resist
  44. sphinx guardian
  45. “Grendel” challenge – pull off a troll's arm
  46. spectral banquet – attend with decorum for reward with final course
  47. will-o-wisp or ghost whispers lead to location
  48. Poetic Fiend: match his rhymes to get reward
  49. reconsecrate defiled shrine/altar
  50. return missing cursed tiki doll
  51. “Maltese Falcon” gem hidden in cheap statuette
  52. valuable item used as totem of humanoid tribe
  53. secreted in cave at the bottom of a chasm
  54. at bottom of a lava pool (like Krull glaive)
  55. under plain, unmarked flagstone in corridor is well known treasure
  56. hidden inside tough golem, imitate its master and it will obey
  57. treasure hidden in extradimensional spot keyed to real world location
  58. teleporter leads to treasure, but doesn't lead back
  59. famous treasure belongs to Lawful creature who could be an ally if...
  60. appears in a mirror only, at certain location
  61. ride log flume to secret chamber
  62. everlasting flame burns in front of passage
  63. “You take the high road and I'll take the low road” 2 doors, slight tilt in floor (Dwarf detection)
  64. grid of holes in the wall, clue to correct pattern to fill holes nearby
  65. simple instructions written in plain sight but in incomprehensible language
  66. sword in the stone, each PC has % chance to pull it out, 1 try each ever
  67. floating upside-down on bottom of cloud of smoke on ceiling
  68. big item petrified with previous owner, owner will want to keep it if restored...
  69. inside talking treasure chest (riddle, password) is big loot
  70. basin of poison water must be drunk to get item (HP&HBP)
  71. Yule Tree – leave a present, wrapped box appears with magic item
  72. magic tree with fruit that act like potions
  73. 2 heavy identical statues in different rooms, bring together to pass
  74. loot encased in crystal stalactite
  75. inside djinni lamp – convince djinni to give it to you
  76. empty feast table with enchanted diners waiting for meal
  77. loot inside living rock statue (magma filled), he won't lie about where loot is
  78. talking hippo with a thorn in its toe
  79. white stag, appears to lead somewhere...
  80. Indy Jones style boulder trap
  81. “virgin sacrifice” on alter
  82. Kryptonian Council crystal wall room
  83. Sword of Power, Book of Knowledge, Hammer of Skill – which will you choose?
  84. Statue of elephantine beast, heart ruby
  85. chest of cursed Aztec gold
  86. locked, sealed, held door – what's inside?
  87. False map leads to monster
  88. gremlin in a box
  89. silence or light spell on victim of trap
  90. talking skull, gives poor council
  91. pool of magic water grants water breathing but takes away air breathing
  92. zero g trap
  93. false tripwire, disarming it sets real trap
  94. acid spray does no dmg but melts gear
  95. trap victim polymorphed into harmless small animal
  96. trap spoils food/water
  97. cursed shoes – switch 2 characters' minds
  98. portcullis trap to divide party
  99. treasure on pedestal in middle of lava pool
  100. inflict henchman/hireling/PC with lycanthropy to pass
  101. phantom hands pull victims ½ into floor
  102. contact poison on jewelry or gem
  103. room fills with water, answer riddle to stop it
  104. item puts geas/quest on possessor
  105. bone prison
  106. Throne of Hades – stick to seat
  107. large landmark feature, grants 1 wish or recharges spent magic, but drains 1 ability score
  108. twisted wishing well
  109. treasure dump – half of all treasure instantly teleported home, the other half... Who knows?
  110. Mine gasses, magical light safe, flames ignite
  111. civilians tied up in orc armor/helmets (Joker in Dark Knight)
  112. kobolds carrying bags of rats (rats absorb sleep spells)
  113. victim of trap turns gaseous
  114. slowly fade out (as dimensional hound)
  115. transformation – elasticity for a few days, then become doppelganger
  116. looks like ring of protection, but no AC bonus and gives save penalty (but not cursed)
  117. temporary contrariness (as ring)
  118. constantly gibbering old man latches onto back and can't be removed
  119. mark of the Frog Gods of Chaos branded onto forehead
  120. any slain PCs/hirelings animated as zombies (wights?)
  121. illusion on PCs makes them appear as orcs, gnolls, or worse
  122. Underworld Chariot appears, one PC hit must Save vs. Death or be taken along
  123. sleep gas, PCs wake up naked but unharmed
  124. normal looking water turns anything it touches to gold (Narnia)
  125. victim's ability scores switched, Str – Int, Wis – Dex, or Con – Cha
  126. monster reset button (for the level)
  127. mysterious portal to other site (weird cavern) with special treasure
  128. Serpent Man cultists, disguised as monks
  129. prisoner tormented but cursed to never escape – if helped in some minor way, gives gift
  130. normal, modern middle class family oblivious to setting
  131. 'holodeck' style illusion room
  132. Chaos Stone – worth $ but causes side effects while carried
  133. blink puppies – may latch onto Charismatic PC
  134. evil halflings riding undead serpents
  135. hapless adventuring party following PCs for 'sloppy seconds' on treasure
  136. devil swine information broker
  137. deities “leader board” Who's winning the Law/Chaos war?
  138. Spiderdragons (Wizards, Warriors & You)
  139. Mos Eisley Cantina/Cave Bar (a location here in Busan)
  140. recently unearthed mass grave
  141. Little Sisters of Eluria (S. King)
  142. Kingdom of the Spiders (Shatner)
  143. Golden Axe Chicken Dragon riders
  144. “Pit of Kharkhoom” style sacrificial pit with beastie
  145. einherjar style eternal battleground
  146. undersea pirates
  147. fire-breathing dungeon chickens (thanks, Jeff Rients)
  148. golden calf living statue
  149. Red Skeleton (Castlevania)
  150. Sleestak & talking skull shrine
  151. trolls playing guillotine game
  152. Fantastic Saurian Combat! (Verne)
  153. talking furniture/dungeon features
  154. giant venus flytrap
  155. sage & guards/entourage doing research
  156. unicorn trapped in crystal
  157. halflings selling bad shrooms
  158. 13 cowardly dwarves looking for a warrior, hero or burglar to get their stash back
  159. Pit of Despair type torture chamber, dead PC may be found here, alive and weak
  160. witches brew potions – for a price
  161. fishing spot – chance to catch wish-granting fish
  162. dungeon brewery – serves Cantina/Cave Bar, etc.
  163. Monstrous Seraglio – elves, nymphs, dryads, etc. Whose?
  164. Judgment of Paris type trap
  165. Frog Prince/Bog Beast type situation
  166. unhappy polymorph other victim (Dungeon of Dread)
  167. goblin festival around giant phallic symbol
  168. chalice grants spell effect once per day
  169. baptismal font full of urine
  170. pixies on dragonflies (Creature Catalog)
  171. evil sentient grimoire (Army of Darkness)
  172. painting of town square – teleports party home
  173. captive slave girls – just that, no trick monsters
  174. doomsday cult worshiping evil wizard
  175. The Great and Powerful Zo
  176. wolf trainer selling dungeon wolves
  177. crucible of black flame (Masters Set)
  178. heart stones – teleport back to dungeon room where found
  179. restless spirit generator (Gauntlet)
  180. fairy circle leads to Fae Realm
  181. ancient storyteller, stories provide rumors but charm/drain youth, etc.
  182. shimmering stairway – ascends endlessly
  183. 12 shrines to the horoscope symbols
  184. hill giants celebrating Festivus
  185. ancient totem pole w/ PC's faces
  186. woman wants to be petrified (was a statue accidentally hit with stone to flesh)
  187. humanoids on a diplomatic mission
  188. specimens floating in fluid filled jars – who collected them?
  189. Monster classroom (or 12 step program)
  190. skeletons/zombies endlessly turning wheels, walking on treadmills, etc.
  191. monstrous feast hall (Beowulf style)
  192. creature vs. creature arena – watch and wager
  193. Triple Goddess barge to Avalon
  194. Charon's skiff to Hades
  195. Scyld Sceffing's funeral longship
  196. Jules Verne style Victorian explorers with SCIENCE!!!
  197. Lost Boys style vampires
  198. crystal & lava palace
  199. golden chariot is actually planar gate
  200. Mimir's Well – sacrifice to gain Wisdom
  201. Round Table – feast day? Empty? Undead?
  202. Giant's Dance with dancing giants
  203. Underworld Judges (Chinese style)
  204. whirlpool in under-lake leads to sub-level
  205. sphinx with easy riddle 'guarding' deathtrap
  206. Power Source: solar cells on walls, continual light will power electric lighting in other zones
  207. Olympians statues, sacrifice to each appropriately to pass
  208. Ali Baba style oil jars carried by golems? Gargoyles? Hide in them to gain sublevel access
  209. devil with legal office (just sign here!)
  210. cannibals' abattoir
  211. Chaos Party Headquarters (vote early, vote often!)
  212. black lotus powder den
  213. hall of skulls on display
  214. cursed orb of hypnosis
  215. cursed ring of heaviness
  216. inferno room (magically sustained normal fire fills room)
  217. cistern with underwater access tubes to other zones
  218. living rock statue herding gorgons
  219. swampy, mucky black dragon lair
  220. portal to primitive culture's village, they're praying for a savior to apear
  221. summoning pot – with right recipe AND command word, creature serves, recipe works without command word...
  222. Duplicator – copies one non-unique magic item, once per PC ever
  223. door opens upon void, another door visible if you can fly/teleport to it
  224. Chaos Casino – try your luck to get reward
  225. Hall of Indifference – ignore any threats or rewards to get real reward
  226. Court of Law – organize, clean, sort, categorize contents to get reward
  227. vampire and ghoul's feast
  228. lesser chimera – snake tail instead of dragon head
  229. alligator infested sewers
  230. Augean Stables – otyugh (of course) and buried treasure
  231. temporary magical spring, filled waterskins become random potions with 1d4+1 doses
  232. Thief and Lobbers (Gauntlet)
  233. aggressive samurai and ashigaru
  234. superhero riding wyvern
  235. goblin horde and balrog
  236. gnome or kobold spins gold into straw
  237. bullywugs w/ battle toads
  238. invincible golem, 5 diamonds in head, destroy or remove to stop it
  239. Zulus vs. Aztecs
  240. djinni home delivery – will carry loot out to your home, for a 10% comission
  241. sasquatch kidnappers
  242. heart stealing mummy
  243. tempting unicorn
  244. Wayland's Forge – use to create magic items
  245. holy relic of saint so-and-so, auto destroy any 1 undead creature
  246. express elevator to Hell, going down! (planar gate)
  247. Stairway to Heaven (planar gate)
  248. invisible stalker princesses (Lankhmar)
  249. old guru telling fortunes with stones, stones are key to puzzle elsewhere
  250. caged cricket – released it turns into monster and obeys opener
  251. enter room, all gear disappears, reappears when room left
  252. Time Master (Wizards, Warriors & You)
  253. walls of living human skin, 3” deep and bleeds when cut
  254. Bealzebub (SOTN style hanging giant corpse demon)
  255. a beautiful bunch of ripe bananas hides the deadly black tarantella
  256. moon men collecting specimens
  257. jabberwock, bandersnatch and jub-jub birds
  258. vats producing slime monsters
  259. ice caverns, torches make chunks of ceiling fall
  260. dino-riders vs. ice age animal riders
  261. League of Chaos Magicians official guild hall
  262. mummy & gnolls & manscorpion
  263. head-hunting manticore
  264. cultists summoning demon, demon kills cultists then rampages
  265. puzzle door – match heraldic crests to pass
  266. password “by the power of Greyskull”
  267. password “Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?”
  268. password “As you wish”
  269. cannibal babies attack
  270. “doctor's office” mad scientist/insane wizard type
  271. used magic item salesman
  272. guide claims to know location of $, but actually... (releases monster, trap, etc.)
  273. magic gem-setter, chance to enchant item but also chance to ruin it
  274. dwarves excavating colossal dragon bones
  275. directed teleporter – if destination name is known
  276. giants with hammers, must be defeated to pass (Golden Axe)
  277. “natives are restless” drums, increase Wandering Monster chances
  278. The Rose (Dark Tower), Lawfuls compelled to protect, Chaotics to destroy
  279. Monster Gym – train physically
  280. Monster Library – train mentally
  281. Room of Lost Socks
  282. floor tiles with various animals and monsters, step on right pattern (Zodiac, etc.) to cross
  283. Black Cauldron & Cauldron Born (Prydain)
  284. Sorceress polymorphed into harmless talking animal (like Fin Raziel in Willow)
  285. Merlin in his Crystal Cave
  286. Demonic Tutor – teaches spells for a price
  287. brand new sailing ship, but expensive to extract
  288. knee-deep water slowly saps strength/spellcasting/something
  289. water/fruit/oil of stealth, increases Thief skill % for a short time
  290. colony of giant insects with a hive mind
  291. heretical manuscript, worth big $ but harmful to Lawfuls
  292. sudoku puzzle, solve to pass
  293. blank altar – effect granted depending on alignment and who you pray/sacrifice to
  294. pair of rhymed verse, one true, one false
  295. semi-intelligent powerful creature with $, flatter it and it will drop $ (Aesop, Fox & Crow)


  1. victim's ability scores switched, Str – Int, Wis – Dex, or Con – Cha

    alex would lose his mind

  2. Greetings,

    Nice list. I enjoyed the "monster eats treasure then flees" and "trolls playing guillotine game", good times.

    The "Classically Trained" Elmore picture at the bottom of your blog amused me, so I thought I'd touch it up a little for you. It's at the bottom of my blog for now. I'll leave it there for a couple days if you want to grab it.

    I just reworked some pixels around the picture elements sticking into the blue, and removed the stuff under the E and D since I couldn't read it. I thought about touching up the Elmore signature too so that it was more legible, but my "skill" has limits. I hope you like it.

  3. Josh--or be totally pleased, if I had forced him to roll 3d6 down the line and he didn't get what he wanted!

    Quibish--thanks, that looks a lot better. I just made that (and the others, look around the blog) quickly and threw them up.


    a cool monster


  5. That's cool, I'd like to be able to make pictures like that. My graphics skills are limited to pixels.

  6. Great list! Thanks for sharing!