Dungeons are rough places – and perhaps players should start to feel that? Just by themselves they present a threat of personal injury, discomfort and loss, let alone once monsters enter the picture!
So here are a series of dungeon mishaps that can happen just by walking along corridors and through rooms. These are made in mind that even if you have dark vision or similar, simply making out one thing from the other in a haphazard, chaotic environment can be difficult and things can catch you by surprise. If you can’t see in the dark and are seeing by the light of a swinging lantern or light spell, it’d be even harder!
Each roll affects one PC. The XP amount is a suggestion to start off from. It might be worth raising the XP for each event to 10.
Roll 1D6 when the PC’s are traveling through largely uneventful areas and the dungeon needs to make the players feel something!
- Uneven ground – uneven and hard to make out and a stone, over decades, has raised above the rest of the floor. The PC makes a DEX check DC: 12. 2 Damage on a fail, 1 Damage on a pass. XP: 5. Or if the PC feels their PC would avoid such traps, then they will miss out on the XP as well.
- Unseen stalagmite – Over time drips from the ceiling deposit minerals on the floor, leaving spikes called stalagmites. They can be tucked away in all sorts of corners and can hook and drag on carried equipment without the adventurer even realising it as the PC’s press through tight corridors or even through doorways. Roll 1D4 on the following chart:
1. 50 feet of rope hooks around the stalagmite and is left behind
2. 1 day of provisions is knocked loose or knocked out of a bag by bumping into the mineral deposit and is lost.
3. A dagger or javelin is jostled free of its holding by bumping against the stone and is lost.
4. Bedroll is lost
XP: 5. If the player feels they just couldn’t have lost an item that way, then they don’t get the XP either.
- Stalactite – now these are the ones that cling ‘tite’ly to the ceiling! The exact position of them can be hard to make out – you might duck one, go to stand up and run into a second that was hidden behind the first. Or they are there as you round a corner, unexpectedly. The PC makes a WIS check, DC: 12. 2 Damage on a fail, 1 Damage on a pass. If they have a helmet they get advantage on the check. XP: 5. If the player feels they wouldn’t run into anything, then there isn’t any XP gain as well!
- Pothole – not a pit trap, but can be just as invisible. Just a hole in the ground – perhaps subsidence created it, perhaps a burrowing left it. Maybe leaves or mould or detritus covered the top. Player makes a CON check, DC 12. On a fail their movement speed is reduced by 10 feet, as they have twisted an ankle badly. On a pass their speed is reduced by 5 feet. This lasts for two hours or until they complete a short rest. XP: 5. If the player doesn’t think this could happen to their PC, then neither does the XP.
- Swarm of bats – Or something that roosts in dark holes under the ground! They swarm out, startled and fly into one PC in particular as they escape! The PC makes a WIS check against DC: 12. On a fail they take 1 point of Damage and their perception and initiative suffers a -3 penalty for an hour, as their senses are disorientated. On a pass they just suffer the perception and initiative penalties. XP: 5. If the player thinks bats wouldn’t have any effect on their PC, then they don’t get the XP either.
- Chilling drip – Often dungeon tunnels have issues with water slowly dripping through roof of their corridors. Sometimes a droplet hangs for some time, building up, until any nearby movement makes it finally break away. Other times there’s a continual small shower from the roof to press on through. Some might just get a PC’s clothing slightly damp, but sometimes it gets right down the back of their clothing, chilling them to the bone! Make a CON check, DC 12. On a fail they are at -1 to hit for an hour and take 1 Damage unless they have a chance of under clothes (fabrics worn under armour) and take a minute or two to change. On a pass they are just -1 to hit for an hour. XP: 5. Again, if the player can’t imagine their PC being affected by this, then they wouldn’t receive the XP either.