Books Full of Challenges and Traps for Fantasy RPGs. Dungeon Room Design Part 1.

So, you’ve decided to maybe bump off a few of the PCs in tonight’s game, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place if you’re using anything in the Grimtooth’s Traps collection. These traps books have been around a while in various forms. Some of us OGs might just happen to have the original Flying Buffalo versions lying around. I prefer the collections because they put all or most of them in one place.

There’s a good reason for keeping some of the old Grimtooth’s Traps (among other) books handy.

Can’t think of traps without good ol’ Grimtooth coming to mind.

So, you’ve decided to maybe bump off a few of the PCs in tonight’s game, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place if you’re using anything in the Grimtooth’s Traps collection. These traps books have been around a while in various forms. Some of us OGs might just happen to have the original Flying Buffalo versions lying around. I prefer the collections because they put all or most of them in one place.

There is also a 3rd Ed D&D book called the Book of Challenges that comes in handy for designing dungeon rooms, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. We’ll discuss it further in another article. There are countless other resources throughout the years, too many to effectively list here.

Some DMs/GMs shy away from the use of “death” traps. Like they’re afraid of mangling a character or something.

I’ve always had a very light-hearted, easy going approach to traps. I’ve ground up a few characters in them. Not all of them are an instant TPK, but a good number of them do require the attention of a skilled healer afterward. That’s something you just don’t get in the newest incarnation of D&D.

If I’m running a game and I say, “click,” everyone had better be prepared to roll a saving throw of some kind. Mechanical traps are the easy ones. When we start mixing in magic- that’s where things get really exciting. Oh, plus boobytrapped/cursed items. I might have a sadistic streak in my personality? (LOL!!!)

I used to build dungeons around the notion of being a gauntlet of traps with a few creatures strewn in for good measure. Some of those dungeons had some really sweet loot, though. I find that one has to entice the characters and even the players to a certain extent. Gauntlets of Ogre Power, +5 Holy Avenger, +3 Sword of Sharpness, and the occasional +1/+3 Dragon Slayer serve as good treasure should the group survive. (*Back in the day we had a lot of Fighters, Barbarians, and Assassins in the group.)

This is a trap I’ve used before. It’s a meat grinder.

But what about the ones that get squished?

Back in the old days, if a character ate it in a particularly brutal trap, Grimtooth’s or something I made up, we let the player roll up a new character two levels lower than the party. We let the new characters roll for loot plus whatever the group salvaged off of the squished character. Usually the group was pretty cool about helping out if someone lost a character in a dungeon in such a grim way.

Then it was just a matter of working the new character into the party as soon as they left the dungeon to sell treasure or replenish supplies. I recall a few rare occasions when the new characters wandered into the dungeon and rescued the preexisting group. Most of the time cherished, long term characters would miraculously survive certain doom with clever thinking and lucky rolls.

Proper prevention is worth a pound of premade characters.

Of course, the best way to prevent character death was to be on the constant lookout for traps. It was sometimes hilarious watching the group meticulously checking every square for pressure plates, tripwires, shifting floors, subtle inclines and holes in the walls. Sometimes they’d get lucky and find a secret door or a concealed room instead.

I had a player take a dwarven miner into a dungeon once who managed to circumvent several traps and monsters by tunneling straight through the walls of the dungeon. I was caught off guard by this maneuver and really had no counter for it the first time it happened. I’ve also seen high level spells used to flood, gas, or detonate some dungeon areas. (*Note, above-ground structures are particularly vulnerable to kabooms from the sky.)

After death traps really started taking their toll in the game, a couple of players got really smart and started playing Thieves. They’d warm up the percentile dice and then we didn’t see as many characters die in trap dungeons. Monsters, on the other hand…

After 3.5 or 4th Ed, traps fell out of style.

The pillars of adventuring: Grimtooth style.

Dungeons in D&D just ain’t what they used to be. Or at least in 5E people are slightly more attached to their characters. 4th Ed was fun because of the timing elements and the way the action economy worked. 4th also saw a lot of monsters get nerfed pretty bad.

Nowadays players tend to put a lot of thought and careful background planning into their new D&D characters. It makes the DM look bad when someone’s prized Tiefling Bard of Twitch and Instagram fame buys the farm in the most awful corridor trap the DM could find in Grimtooth’s Traps. It would upset the cosplayer/player horribly, and we just can’t have that.

OSR games usually aren’t hampered by such unofficial restrictions, of course. Most of us OGs are used to the possibility of being reckless in a dungeon being the end of a character. A lot of us don’t get overly attached to a character for just that reason. Some GM/DMs are more kind than others, though.

The best advice for handling traps in most games:

Talk about it before characters are made. That way someone might want to make a Thief. The group might want to hire some added help. (Alas, poor Jimmy the Torchbearer, back for more dungeon romps.) Knowing death could be lurking around any corner, the players may wish to brush up on Dungeoneering 101 somewhere. There are some key survival tactics out there if you read up.

On the other hand, if the prospect of traps that can literally swallow a character whole terrifies or slightly concerns the group? Please refrain from using them? Especially new players might be turned off of gaming if one of their characters runs afoul of one of the Grimtooth style character grinders.

The other rule I’ve incorporated into my game over the years is the “Click” Rule. If the DM/GM says “Click!” while the group is wassailing around in a dungeon, we go around the table and each player gets to describe one action before the trap goes off. I forget exactly who came up with this rule, but I love it. It has made traps far more interesting when players do all kinds of crazy, paranoid things because they think the trap is on them.

Remember, as a GM/DM you always have the option to not use traps or nerf them.

You can always select a less lethal option or just omit the trap all together. When I make a Five Room Dungeon, (*See Johnn Four’s Five Room Dungeon Guide for more.) I like to make at least one of the rooms some sort of trap element. There’s also usually a room with a puzzle or special lock.

The idea, of course, is to make the players think on their feet a bit more. If every room has a trap, the group is likely going to get bored. Or start finding ways to set everything off without their precious characters getting greased. (Alas, poor Sparky the Squirrel familiar. May he rest until summoned again.) But, if carefully planned and executed, traps can be a heap of fun.

I hope you found some use of this article. Traps are one of my favorite dungeoneering aspects to any fantasy game. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you. Game on!

Disclaimer: Never build or use any traps in real life. Someone could be seriously injured or worse. In short- It’s just not worth it. Be kind. Talk it out.

New Dungeon Creation for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

After pulling the dragon down and remaking it in her own image, the demon learned of arcane magic and its corrupting influences. She began making minions using crystals from the ground and common spiders and ticks from the surrounding area. Now, a terrifying subterranean structure lies in wait for anyone who unwittingly stumbles into it. Will you survive?

Working title: Warrens of the Arcane Spider Dragon.

Hundreds of years ago, a demon worked its way out of the bowels of hell itself and built a terrifying labyrinthine lair to begin hatching its horrifying minions. But it needed fodder for building its forces. Unfortunately for one dragon, it would lead to horrifying mutations.

After pulling the dragon down and remaking it in her own image, the demon learned of arcane magic and its corrupting influences. She began making minions using crystals from the ground and common spiders and ticks from the surrounding area. Now, a terrifying subterranean structure lies in wait for anyone who unwittingly stumbles into it. Will you survive?

For the Judge:

This dungeon is designed for advanced characters (DCC Levels 6-7 or higher.) There are a variety of challenges over three levels. Some parts of this dungeon will spell certain death for unwitting adventurers. Caution is recommended.

There are multiple points of entry into this dungeon. Depending on where the Player Characters stumble, choose, or get dragged into, it could be the deadliest encounter of the dungeon. However, with great danger comes fantastic magical loot from the dragon’s hoard and everything collected thereafter.

There are multiple levels to this dungeon along with secret passages, trap doors, and various arachnid-based monsters. Feel free to edit anything in this dungeon. It’s in your hands now!

The end boss herself may have actually tunneled away ages ago. The dragon has never hunted during the day for some reason. Is it just a terrifying myth? Maybe the arcane generator burned out and some of the sentries no longer function. The Judge is free to modify or even tone down some of the lethality as they see fit.

For the players:

Rumors and stories have been passed from bar room to tavern table for centuries about a creature so incredibly foul it could have only crawled out of the bowels of Hell itself. There is a dragon with six legs and two arms, a head with 8 eyes and a maw of terrifying mandibles and meat-rending fangs. Its leathery wings propel it through the air at frightening speeds and its webs resist even the sharpest blades.

The rumors may be true. Cattle on the edge of town have been going missing for the past few weeks. Woodsmen and hunters have been missing for days. It’s as if the earth itself swallowed them whole. An unwitting farmer stumbled onto several empty, exsanguinated husks on the edge of his field and now refuses to leave his home.

Lots more to come!

I hope you enjoyed this teaser. I’m working on what is sure to be a huge dungeon, well above and beyond the usual five rooms. This dungeon was loosely inspired by one of the maps on Heroes of the Storm and an episode of Orville. I’ve been wanting to do a larger dungeon for a while now. I think it’s going to be as much fun to run as it was to create.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Have a great day. Game on!

7 Demon Chest for DCC RPG

Characters discover a chest that will unleash seven very powerful demons along with untold treasure if opened. What else is in the chest? Are the rumors true? If they find it, will they open it? The renowned Demonologist, Priests, and Monks who captured the demon constructed an elaborate shrine to contain the chest and educate all those who enter about the demons inside. Unfortunately, it reads like a treasure map.

This most cursed chest contains 7 powerful demons concealed away in a temple and believed to be sealed away for all of eternity.

A series of dungeons/mini campaign for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Monks, priests, and other holy warriors fought and gave their lives to seal these most powerful demons inside this chest. The chest is sealed away in a forgotten shrine, bound in blessed chains and ofuda. Scrolls detailing each demon and how they were first defeated line the walls of the shrine.

There is a rumor that seven items of incredible power are also contained in the chest. Relics used by those who captured the 7 Demons are rumored to be hidden within the shrine. The good news is the relics used by the original captors are present within the shrine. The bad news is the items within the chest accompany the demons when they disappear.

Judge’s Synopsis: Characters discover a chest that will unleash seven very powerful demons along with untold treasure if opened. What else is in the chest? Are the rumors true? If they find it, will they open it? The renowned Demonologist, Priests, and Monks who captured the demon constructed an elaborate shrine to contain the chest and educate all those who enter about the demons inside. Unfortunately, it reads like a treasure map.

The good news is the demons can be returned to the chest with great effort. It will become the quest of those who foolishly open the chest to retrieve all of them. If any adventurer refuses the quests, their existence will be cursed and will ultimately end in woe.

Balor: True name hidden in the shrine. No one dares speak it.
Demo-Dragon. Maybe not the Demodragon, but definitely one of them.
Ghost of Summoner Sorcerer Yamada Daisuke: Servant of the Hidden Lord
Oni Lord Shoko O Futen. (Divine Wind of the Underworld.)
Osyluthe: aka Splintered Demon.
Void Demon: The Ghost in Darkness
Twin-Headed Hariti-Baku. Servant of Sezrekan.

*Judge’s Note: If/when the chest is actually opened, the priests that sealed the demons away used many scrolls and spells to assure the demons all return to their original lairs from which they were captured. Each tale of where they were found except the Ghost of Summoner Sorcerer Yamada Daisuke who is bound within the shrine. He will be the first challenge any group who opens the chest must face. He is also one of the scariest and most powerful outside the shrine.

Some of the names and who they serve have been changed from my original adventure notes to reflect the world of DCC.
This series of adventures was loosely inspired by The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.

And similar OSR games.

Wayward Chimera

Something large has left a trail of blood and disturbed the ground as it crossed the trail. A little while later, there is a rustling in the brush. It almost sounds as if three animals are nearby together- A lion, a goat, and a dragon. What do you do?

Short Scenario for Dungeon Crawl Classics

This encounter works best is a wooded environment, but can be adapted to most other terrain types. Suitable for Characters Level 2 and up. The Judge will have to create his/her own maps or make use of theatre of the mind.

Read to party: You’ve been hearing commotion in the distance for most of the morning, but the morning’s fog and dense brush make it hard to discern exactly where from other than somewhere up ahead. It sounded as if two great beasts where having at one another. As you travel onward, the noise dies down to the horrible sound of a great wounded beast occasionally yowling from pain off in the distance.

Optional: [Something large has left a trail of blood and disturbed the ground as it crossed the trail. A little while later, there is a rustling in the brush. It almost sounds as if three animals are nearby together- A lion, a goat, and a dragon. What do you do? ]

Behind the Scenes (For the Judge.) Earlier in the day an enraged Manticore and a Chimera engaged in a bloody battle in the sky above the forest. The two creatures came into dispute when the Chimera stole an egg from the Manticore’s nest.

The great beasts tussled in mid-air and the chimera got the worst of it. It is now lurking in the underbrush with a broken, torn wing, foaming at the mouth from a venomous sting, and waiting for an easy kill to try to recover some strength.

Chimera: Init +0; Atk lion bite +5 melee (2d4) or goat gore +4 melee (2d4) or dragon bite +6 melee (1d10+2) or claws +4 melee (1d3) or breathe fire; AC 18; HD 5d8+8 (Currently 24hp) ; MV 30’ or fly 30’; Act 3d20; SP breathe fire 3/day; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2; AL C.

The chimera is a winged creature with the body and head of a lion, a second head of a goat, and a dragon’s head. It is a flying predator that hunts the lowlands where the livestock it preys upon typically gather. Each round, it has
three attacks, one from each head. The lion head bites, the goat head gores, and the dragon-head can breathe fire 3/day in a cone measuring 90’ x 30’, causing 3d8 damage (DC 15 Ref save for half).

The chimera might wait, hiding out until it can take down a party member separated from the group or possibly one or two of the pack animals, horses, etc if there are any. If the group is too large or too dangerous-looking, it might attempt to limp back to its lair. It will take great care to avoid the manticore. (In which case- skip the second paragraph of the Read Aloud text.)

Meanwhile, the Manticore has gone off in search of its egg. It is only slightly damaged. It has gone to ground to search for the chimera’s nest. There is a 30% chance it will hear any combat the group engages in and come to see if there is an easy meal. It is watching from the not-too-distant treetops to see if the chimera attempts to return to its lair.

Manticore: Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d8) or claw +4 melee (1d3); AC 16; HD 6d8+6 (Currently 41hp); MV 40’, fly 50’; Act 3d20; SP barbed tail; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +6; AL C. The other 50% of manticores have barbed scorpion tails. In combat, they can use an action to lash out with a single tail strike per round at +8 melee (1d10 + poison). The poison requires a DC 16 Fort save or the target loses 1d6 Stamina with each strike.

Additionally, the group may wish to find the Chimera’s lair, a hole in the ground not too far from their current location, surrounded with rocks, sticks and assorted offal. A careful search will reveal a +1 shortsword, a potion of Strength, and a torn suit of +1 chainmail.

The manticore’s egg is also lying in a heap of bloodied rags and grass. It is undamaged. The manticore will continue looking as long as she is able.

Usable with other OSR games.

Please enjoy this short scenario. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

A Short Scenario for DCC RPG

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

A side trek adventure for 4th Level characters


The group has accidentally stumbled into a long forgotten burial vault.What mysteries lay within? What treasure might they find? What’s buried down here?
Quest: Explore the ruins.
Quest: Prevent the demon from escaping.
Follow-Up Quest: What ever happened to Bertrus the servant?

In their travels through uncharted lands, the group discovers a semi-circle of stones in the brush leading to a cave in the side of a huge hill. On each side of the entrance to the cave is what appears to be an old mausoleum.

The one on the right has caved in and appears to be in a state of ruin. The door fell off years ago and dirt, brush and fallen chunks of the mausoleum show what is clearly a burial vault in the center. The lid appears to be intact.

The one on the left is slightly larger and appears to be in almost perfect condition. The door appears to be made of black stone. It has a single bronze ring and a key hole beneath it. If checked, the entire mausoleum radiates faintly of magic.

The cave entrance is sealed by years of dirt, brush and debris. A pair of stone doors similar to the ones on the mausoleum solidly rest locked in the path. Whoever or whatever built these doors clearly didn’t want anyone getting in or perhaps something getting out?

1-1 The Clearing:

The clearing itself is home to 3 magically mutated wild boars. It is clear some sort of death magic permeates this area as they appear to be gaunt, almost un-dead.

3 Ghoul Boars: Init +1; Atk bite +3 melee (1d4 plus paralyzation) or charge +3 melee (1d4) See DCC Pg 96 for details; AC 12; HD 2d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, paralyzation, infravision 100’; SV Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-2 The Empty Crypt

The ceiling on this small, 15′ x 15′ stone crypt has long since succumbed to wind and weather. The door on this one and the very structure itself seemed to have been made from a different stone that the one still standing. Some investigation reveals a tombstone that says, “Here lies Bertrus, loyal unto death.” The casket is empty.

However, Bertrus concealed a small chest underneath his casket in a small chest. Inside the chest are some Cleric’s robes, prayer beads, and a holy symbol. There is also a book that contains ancient rites allowing one to seal doors to prevent evil from escaping. IF the group finds the book, they may make a DC 18 check to decipher the script for a proper incantation.

The book is called the Libris Daemonicum. It also talks about summoning rituals, but no banishment spell. It also details the confinement of demons and how to seal doors to prevent their escape. The book is written in an ancient elder language and will be very difficult to decipher.

The small chest is in a precarious position under the casket in the caved-in mausoleum. If the characters make too much noise or movement, the remaining bits of ceiling and casket might crumble and fall in on the chest.
Characters inside the crumbling mausoleum must make a REF Save or take 2d8 damage from crumbling debris.

1-3 The Sturdy Crypt.

This 20’x20′ stone crypt is locked with a solid obsidian door, sealed and locked. A Knock Spell can open it as a magically sealed door. A rogue may attempt to open the lock normally, at the risk of incurring a curse.

Inside the crypt is a sealed casket. If the characters disturb the lid, they will face Sir Marlin Hildebrandt. Please note he is wearing his +1 Half Plate and carrying his +1 sword. He will fight valiantly until destroyed and then rise as a Lawful Ghost.

Sir Ernest Hildebrandt, the Mummified Knight: Init +1; Atk choke +5 melee (1d4 / 2d4 / 3d4 /etc.) or +1 Longsword +4 melee (1d8+3); AC 17 (+19 with +1 Shield); HD 8d12+8; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP damage reduction 5, mummy rot, vulnerable to fire, un-dead traits; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +10; AL C.

Sir Ernest’s Ghost: Init +2; Atk special (see below); AC 10; HD 2d12;
MV fly 40’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, immune to non magical weapons, 1d4 special abilities; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +6; AL L. He will be grateful to have finally be free from the centuries old curse. He bears no ill will upon the party. He can grant a Boon of a +2 Dagger of demon slaying. upon a character he deems worthy. He was also buried with a small chest of 150 gold and a Cloak of Comfort. A Bowl of Porridge Conjuring, and A Ring of +2 Diplomacy 2x/Day

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

Bertrus, his valet and most faithful companion, was supposed to lock himself into his own crypt after Sir Ernest’s passing. He doesn’t know what actually happened since being sealed in his own tomb. It is possible Bertrus ran off in which case he could still be roaming the land as an un-dead.

Sir Ernest thanks the group and departs for the afterlife.

1-3 The Burial Mound.

The doors embedded in the side of the hill are solidly bricked in by whatever stone was used in the mausoleums’ construction. The doors are the same unearthly obsidian material and the locks require a Knock spell or a DC 20 lockpicking attempt. Even if the mundane locks are opened, a STR check DC 20 or found the book Bertrus stashed under his casket.

Torches line the walls of this deep cave. Two braziers filled with thick oil sit in the center on each side of a sacrificial altar. The air smells of moisture and decay. The ceiling is about 16-20′ high and covered in stalactites. Faintly glowing symbols surround the altar in a summoning circle. It is clear at a glance whatever ancient rituals took place here were for evil purposes. Small piles of bones litter the floor outside of the circle. It is clear several humanoids perished while worshipping something in the cave.

1-4 The Pit.

Farther into the room is a deep pit. It’s deep enough that something with wings would have no trouble escaping, but adventurers going down into the pit would need to tie multiple ropes together to safely reach the bottom. Around the pit are some markings similar to the ones around the circle with the glowing runes. Observant characters will also notice a circle of thick salt around the pit. IF one of the characters (accidentally) breaks the circle, the demon will be free.

The Pit Fiend– Type II Demon: Init +2; Atk: Claw +10 melee (1d8+3) crit 19-20 Rod +10 melee (1d6+3) and Paralysis ; AC 18; HD 8d8; MV 30’ Fly 40′; Act 1d20; Immunities: Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas. SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; AL C.

Anyone hit by the Rod must make a Fort Save or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
The Fiend may expend an action to raise 1d10 Skeletons 3 times per day. The Rod is rendered inert if the Fiend is killed.

Skeleton: Init +0; Atk claw +0 melee (1d3) or by weapon +0 melee; AC 9; HD 1d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead, half damage from piercing and slashing weapons; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-5 The Treasure Alcove.

The cultists left tributes near the pit in a small alcove just inside the salt circle. There is a pile of 78 gold coins around a small chest. Inside the locked chest is a +1 Shortsword, a +1 AC Ring of Withered Healing that restores up to 1d8 hit points per day but drains 1 Permanent Stamina each time used (If a character dies from this Stamina drain, they become Un-dead and under the control of the Judge.) a +1 Cloak that grants an additional +1 magical bonus to Hide in Shadows and Sneak Silently checks. and a Circlet that grants +1 AC if no other headgear is worn and makes the wearer invisible to Un-Dead.

Suitable for use with OSR games.

DCC Catacomb of the Wolf Lord Room: 2-2

The floor inside is grassy, covered in autumn leaves in many colors and shapes. The room has a warm, homecoming feel to it. The group is flooded with happy memories of warm meals and family at home. It’s as if they were being welcomed back after a long voyage.

You’ve faced the trials in the Happy Hunting Grounds, and now you emerge back into the hallway as if you had never left.

There remains about 10′ of dusty hallway before a tall stone arch decorated with faintly glowing blue arcane symbols all the way to its point. The room beyond appears a bit hazy, but parts of a very large skull can be seen in the room lying on the floor.

As the group approaches the arch, the runes glow a little brighter. No one has disturbed the dust on the floor in centuries.

Note to the Judge: the runes are intended as a red herring. At your discretion, there could be a force field barring the entry of the impure, but if they survived the trials of the Happy Hunting Grounds, then they should be allowed access. The mundane explanation for the runes is that they were part of the ritual allowing the body of the Wolf Lord to be entombed.

(Map to follow)

As the group passes through the archway, the room is illuminated with the warm glow of autumn dusk.

The room lights up and the bones of an enormous wolf lay in front of what appears to be a gigantic tree on the back wall. Puzzling, because there is no tree on the surface that corresponds with the roots/trunk.

The floor inside is grassy, covered in autumn leaves in many colors and shapes. The room has a warm, homecoming feel to it. The group is flooded with happy memories of warm meals and family at home. It’s as if they were being welcomed back after a long voyage.

There is a great deal of open ground in front of the party. In front and to the right are the bones of the Wolf Lord’s corporeal body. To the left are the bones of a human skeleton dressed in ceremonial robes. A grimoire and a journal lie next to the body, along with a medium sized chest.

Before the group gets a chance to investigate the body, a portal opens on the left wall. 5 large, snarling, hideous, frightening werewolves led by some sort of huge wolf demon burst through it!

Demon Werewolves: Init +7; Atk bite +8 melee (1d8+2) Claw +6 melee (1d6+2) ; Crit 19-20; AC 16; HD 4d6+4 ea; MV 40’; Act 1d24+ 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; AL C. Infravision. Return to home plane when destroyed.
Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas. Vulnerable to Magic Weapons, Silver, Cold wrought Iron and wolfsbane.

Being bitten by one of these creatures causes a debilitating form of Lycanthropy. Fort Save DC 15. If afflicted, the character will rise on the next full moon as a minion of the Werewolf Lord under the control of the Judge. A meal of raw meat must be consumed each time the character transforms or lose 1 point of Stamina each night and transform again each night regardless of the moon until such a meal is consumed. The character’s alignment will also gradually change to Chaotic if it wasn’t already. The disease can be cured by the Remove Disease or similar higher level spell.

These Large werewolves are led by the Demon Servant of the Werewolf Lord. Their sole purpose is to prevent the reawakening of the Wolf Lord. The Demon Wolf servants of the Werewolf Lord are larger than average wolves with thick black fur, red eyes and sabretooth fangs.

Alpha Servant of the Werewolf Lord: (Type III Demon) Init +7; Atk bite +10 melee (1d10+2) Claw +9 melee (1d8+2) ; Crit 18-20; AC 17; HD 6d6+6; MV 40’; Act 1d24+ 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; AL C. Infravision. Return to home plane when destroyed. Immune to weapons of less than +2 enchantment or natural attacks from creatures of 5 HD or less; half-damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas; Vulnerable to Magic Weapons, Silver, Cold wrought Iron and wolfsbane. Being bitten by this creature applies a debilitating form of lycanthropy. (See above.)

This Huge beast has been sent to kill anyone attempting to awaken the Wolf Lord from his slumber at any cost. He appears similar to the Large members of his pack, but more horrible, frightening, and hunched over.

*At the Judge’s discretion, the werewolves may teleport away at 3/4 of their starting hit points, choosing to face punishment at the hands of their master.

After the battle, the Wolf Lord appears.

Read aloud:
As soon as the last of the demons falls, they all vanish into dust. The Wolf Lord appears as a light blue, glowing ghost of his former self.
“Thank you for coming to me after these long years of rest. Unto you I will bestow a few humble gifts. After you return to your world above, please spread the word of my return to the forests and hills of my home world. You are akin to my pack now. I will forever be in your debt.

The group will have the opportunity to speak to the Wolf Lord and ask as many reasonable questions as they like. The Judge is free to fill in the details. The Wolf Lord is benevolent and considers the group to be his new pack.

The Wolf Lord will allow the survivors to speak with fallen members of their group. He would be able to revive a fallen member of the group if they request it. Otherwise, fallen PCs may be resurrected as wolves or allowed to return to The Happy Hunting Grounds if they wish.

Loot: The sword Wolf’s Fang will be awarded to whoever carries the wolf’s tooth. The cloak will be awarded to a suitable roguish type. The Grimoire that explains the Wolf Lord’s Coven and benefits of converting to being one of his followers. Finally, the witch’s journal details 3 new spells specific to the Wolf Lord and those who follow him.

Once the group is done collecting their loot, a portal appears in the tree roots behind the wolf bones. It leads back to the surface above. It closes once everyone steps through.


Artifacts of the Wolf Lord DCC RPG.

These items will be available after the final boss fight in Room 2-2 in the Catacomb of the Wolf Lord to be released soon. It’s not as easy as one might imagine to obtain one of these items.

I make no aspersions about game balance. Use at your own risk.

These items haven’t been fully tested in DCC. The items are built around the two base classes of Warrior and Thief but could be used by Dwarf, Elf, or Halfling. Please also note the wielders of these items won’t know immediately what they are capable of. Some trial and error may be in order.

These items will be available after the final boss fight in Room 2-2 in the Catacomb of the Wolf Lord to be released soon. It’s not as easy as one might imagine to obtain one of these items.

Both items can easily be adapted to other RPGs, especially OSR games.

Fang of the Wolf Lord:

This sword is forged from the physical fang of the Wolf Lord. It is granted by him to a wielder who he deems worthy. If the owner of the sword dies, the sword magically returns to the Wolf Lord in 1d6 days.

The sword is a short sword, long sword or two handed sword depending on the owner’s preference. It can be stored in the sheath of a dagger when it is not in use. It grows to the full length chosen when drawn.

In any form, it is a +2 Lawful 10 INT, 3 Banes, 3 type 1 powers, 1 type 2 power. 1d12 Special Power. Empathy.

Bane 1: Lycanthropes. +1 Damage Bonus.
Bane 2: Un-dead: +1 to hit and damage
Bane 3: Demons: +1 to hit and damage. (This is not listed in the DCC book.)

Special Purpose: Protect the Weak
Power 1: Detect Evil 1d4x10’
Power 2: Detect Invisible 1/day.
Power 3: Gives the owner Infravision 120’.

Special Power (Not listed in DCC.) Summon Spirit Wolf 1/Day:
Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2); AC 14; HD 3d6 (18hp); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL L. Always appears with Max HP. Will follow the instructions of the wielder as long as the Purpose and Banes of the sword are being followed. Disappears for 24 hours if destroyed.

May be summoned again IF the sword deems it necessary.

(Artwork to come)

Cloak of the Wolf Lord:

Granted to a roguish servant of the Wolf Lord. Upon declaring allegiance to the Celestial Pack of the Wolves, this items attunes to the person to whom it was granted. Wearing the Cloak bestows the following:

+3 AC or acts as +3 Hide Armor if none is worn (AC +6, 1d8 Fumble, No Movement penalty.)
+2 to any check involving smell or hearing while the armor is worn.
+2 Sneak Silently
+2 Hide in Shadows* Hide and Sneak bonuses also apply in woodland surroundings with sufficient cover.
Wearer will automatically be regarded as friendly by regular wolves.

More to come! Thanks for stopping by!

Items for use with Dungeon Crawl Classics and other OSR games.

DCC Catacomb of the Wolf Lord 1-5: The Long Hallway.

After the first 40′ it becomes apparent they are no longer in the dungeon they entered, but have walked through a portal into a densely forested realm. The sun is perpetually dimmed by cloud cover and there is some patchy fog around the trees in every direction. From behind, it just looks like the group kept going down the hallway. After the last PC steps in, a kodama spirit appears.

So far, it hasn’t been so bad.

The group will have to put in some effort to find these doors, but they aren’t as difficult because of their size. They are still covered in mud, but if the group takes a little time to excavate, these doors are gorgeous and telling.

Read aloud:

It took some effort, but you’ve uncovered two large, ornately carved, bronze bound doors. They are heavy and rounded at the top, probably to match the hallway beyond. You feel a slight chill go up your spine when you touch the door, as if touching the lid to an occupied coffin. The doors themselves give off a somber energy, as though one were taking their final walk after a life well lived. The two old, bronze rings are heavy with age and mud.

If the players clean the doors off, the left door has an ornate, lovingly carved picture of a wolf, standing on a cliff, howling. On the right door is a moon over a forest. The moon is faintly glowing. The doors are magically locked.

This was the Wolf Lord’s one last chance to howl at the moon. If the players read through the journal, it chronicles the Wolf Lord’s final journey to his resting place. The coven gave him one last chance to howl.

Unless the characters have a way to magically unlock the doors, they may howl at the moon and the doors will magically unlock. They are extremely heavy and require a DC 15 Strength Check to open.
Read aloud:

Your mighty howls seem to activate the magic in the lock and you pull the doors open with a stout heave. What lies beyond may not have been for mortal eyes. You see a painstakingly carved round stone hallway. There is a faint glow of magic in the doorway. The hall is round and tall, except for the floor, which is squeaky clean and flat. Magic globes faintly light the wall.

The Hallway seems normal for the first 20′ or so.

After the first 40′ it becomes apparent they are no longer in the dungeon they entered, but have walked through a portal into a densely forested realm. The sun is perpetually dimmed by cloud cover and there is some patchy fog around the trees in every direction. From behind, it just looks like the group kept going down the hallway. After the last PC steps in, a kodama spirit appears.

The diminutive creature rattles its head to sort of communicate. It walks among the PCs and checks them over. It stops and waves its arm. Suddenly 36 kodama appear and begin wandering through the party. They appear to be looking everyone over, but are harmless. If the group attempts to harm them, remind them that the little spirits are ethereal and mean no harm. They’re just studying the group for what comes next.

They will climb onto the PCs, inspect their gear, maybe even try to interact a little. The little spirits are trying to determine alignment. Check their alignments. This will determine which wolves they will face.

IF the group tries to turn around, all they see is forest and fog.
MAP:
Since the encounter takes place on the spiritual plane of The Happy Hunting Grounds, the Judge is free to produce any large forested area desired or throw down trees randomly. There should rarely be unbroken line of sight for more than 20′-30′ aside from the 20′ wide path the characters are travelling along.

The kodama scamper off after a few minutes except the first one. It motions them forward. As the group walks forward into the dense forest, wisps of fog surround them. It becomes readily apparent that they are not alone in the forest. Wolves are moving among the trees, yipping and growling.

There are three wolves per PC. The wolves are all the same pack, but each PC will be “tested” by the wolves matching their alignment.

The Lawful Spirit Wolves:
Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2); AC 14; HD 3d6 (18hp ea); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL L.

The Neutral Wolves:
Init +3; Atk bite +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD 2d6 (12 hp ea.); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1; AL N.

The Chaotic Dire Wolves:
Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2); AC 14; HD 3d6 (18 hp); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL C.

Tests:
The Lawful Wolves will approach and insist the characters follow. They will ask telepathically why the characters wish to see him. As long as the Lawful characters are pure of motive, no one will be attacked and they will be permitted to move on. It will be a pleasant conversation.

The Neutral Wolves will surround the group. They will circle cautiously and sniff out an alpha to challenge. Then, a Large wolf with a scar over its left eye will approach. It has AC 16 and 4d6 HD (24hp) and will only fight until significantly injured or the group’s alpha is injured.

The Chaotic Wolves will single out the Chaotic characters and fight to the near-death. They may even drag the weakest looking character off into the woods until the battle is decided.

The character who rescued the large tooth from Room 1-3 may show it, if he remembers and be automatically chosen as alpha/party leader/representative of the whole group as an emissary.

IF the group becomes frightened and attack anything but the Chaotic Wolves, ALL of the wolves in the encounter will work together to fight the group. They will surround, pull, and double team the group as much as they reasonably can. They will attack weak-looking characters, spellcasters, and Halflings first.

However, the wolves will not intentionally kill any of the party. The goal is to test the group’s resolve and pure intentions for wanting to see the Wolf Lord. If accidents happen the slain party member will discover they are already in the heavenly realm of The Happy Hunting Grounds. They may choose an afterlife destination or remain has ghosts where they are.

After the encounter, the group will be led, escorted, or dragged out into the long, sloping hallway that leads to Room 2-1.

DCC Catacomb of the Wolf Lord Room 1-4

This room may seem a little lackluster compared to the others once unearthed.

This room may seem a little lackluster compared to the others once unearthed.

Room 1-4: Much like the door to Room 1-3, this door is caked in mud and earth, taking considerable effort to find. However, once discovered, the door swings into Room 1-2 with considerable ease. It opens to a narrow hole in the packed mud about 3′ in diameter, about enough for one adventurer at a time.

Once a light is shone into the room, the walls and ceiling are caked with thick mud and packed earth. At least half of the room is completely filled in. The glint of gold can be seen a little over 10′ across from the opening on what remains of the stone floor. There is about 5′ of operable space from floor to ceiling within the dimensions indicated on the map. What is possibly a hilt of a weapon or the end of a staff covered in dirt can also be seen. There is also a mud covered goblet and a bowl of a brazier sticking out of the dirt farther into the room.

And then there was trouble!
Once an adventurer enters the room, they can see the corner of a chest buried in the mud next to the coins. If they try to extract the chest, the handle, the goblet or the brazier, or do anything that disturbs the room in any way (Yell, tap the walls floor or ceiling, swing a weapon, etc) a full collapse is triggered. DC 15 Ref Save to get clear in time. The room is filled with earth! Anyone in the room takes 1d8 damage and is buried in the dirt. Suffocation Fort DC 10+1 per round buried, 1d6 Sta damage per failed save. The characters not trapped in the dirt can be excavated from the wreckage. The GM can determine how difficult it will be to dig any given player out depending on how far into the room they are buried.

IF the group managed to befriend or play nice with the elementals, they can excavate trapped PCs with ease and will gladly do so. They won’t help with the treasure, but they will save the adventurers, who clearly don’t belong in their element.

Thanks for stopping in. Room 1-5 is on the horizon. I love old fashioned dungeon crawls.

Catacomb of the Wolf Lord: Room 1-3

Room 1-3 of Catacomb of the Wolf Lord. The group may have found treasure, but is it cursed?

The “Treasure” Room.

The entrance to the Treasure Room 1-3 is concealed under a thick layer of old mud and gravel. In the dim lighting and all of the mud, the door will be difficult to find. If the group “plays” with the elementals, more earth will be caked onto the old mud. Ask the players if/how they are searching.

If the group finds the door and excavates it, it opens into Room 1-2. Beyond the door, there is a 5’x5′ unlit hallway leading to another door. Across the way, is a wrought iron bound locked door. The lock is trapped and will drop a 1 ton granite block on the trap victim and blocking the hallway. (Detect Trap DC15.)
Pick Lock DC 18. 8d6 damage from the block + being pinned. Reflex Save for no damage.

If successful, the door opens into a magically lit 15′ x 15′ room, domed ceiling with a faint glowing light in it, with a magical circle drawn on the floor. Inside the circle are four items. The first is a dagger (athame) in an ornate wooden box. The second is a leather bound book with a lock and key. It looks to be very old. The third is a gray fur cloak with an ornate wolf’s head clasp. The fourth and final item is a wolf’s fang.

Once the first character fully enters the room, a ghostly wolf appears. It speaks clearly to the group. It points to each item with its nose and states, Cleric, the dagger; Wizard, the book; Thief, the cloak, and Fighter, the tooth. Read the following aloud:

The ghost stares at you, or possibly through you. It points to each item and states clearly a second time Cleric, the dagger; Wizard, the book; Thief, the cloak, and Fighter, the tooth. Choose wisely. You make only keep one. Bring it to my final resting place for your real reward if you are so worthy.The rest are cursed.

It sits and says, “I’m waiting for your answer. You may ask one question of each item if you wish. One I shed. One was my end. One was my life. One is my gift to you if you are worthy.”

The ghost, a spirit messenger of the Wolf Lord, will answer truthfully one question of each item within reason. Its answers will always be cryptic and vague. It won’t try to encourage or discourage the group from choosing any of the items. It might also answer a little more about itself.

The Wolf Lord wasn’t always a wolf. It lived for a while as a man to better understand men. He took an elven bride and had two children: Koga and Kei. Koga became feral and ran away at a young age to join a wolf pack. Kei grew up to be a refined elven lady. (Current whereabouts unknown.) The Wolf Lord eventually rejoined his spirit pack and left his mortal family behind.

After many centuries, the great animal lords were forgotten. In turn, each returned to a sacred place where a coven of followers put their bodies to rest and sealed them away from the mortal world.

*Note: If any of the cursed items have the curse removed, the item is rendered permanently inert.

A) The athame is a cursed dagger +1. It radiates strong magic. The wielder must feed it one hp per day or lose 1 Stamina each day the hp requirement is not met. The wielder may not give its own hp.

B) The Coven’s Spellbook: The Coven’s Spellbook is a cursed antithesis of all that is Lawful or Neutral. Any mage who opens it will automatically become Chaotic, and will turn more toward being un-dead with each page read. Any/all spells copied or cast from the book with automatically backfire. Any creatures summoned automatically turn on the caster. It was never meant for the world of the living.

C) The Cloak of the Gray Wolf: At first, this cloak appears to not be cursed. It offers a +1 Agility bonus to Stealth and +1 bonus to AC. Once per day it allows the wearer to shapeshift into a normal wolf. All items become part of the new form. Mental stats stay the same.

Wolf, common: Init +3; Atk bite +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD
as wearer; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1;

The ability resets at sunrise.
But the cloak is cursed. At the first full moon after acquisition, the wearer transforms permanently into a wolf under the control of the GM until the curse can be lifted.

D) The tooth is a regular tooth. It is not cursed, nor is it terribly useful yet. However, it is the key to unlocking the real treasure in Room 2-2, the Wolf Lord’s burial chamber.

While the Wolf Lord is considered a demigod and will grant certain spells to his followers, this is clearly not the book to do it with. The Wolf Lord will be available as a Mage Patron and as a Demigod to be detailed elsewhere.

Once an item is chosen, the rest vanish along with the circle and the lights in the room. The eerie outline of the spirit can still be seen, but it will not interact after the choice is made.

That’s it for this room. It’s obvious the other party never made it to this room. The journal makes no reference to tests or treasure beyond a vague mention of some kind of treasure believed to be buried with the bones of the Wolf Lord himself.

Thanks for being here! I appreciate you. Can’t wait to see what happens in Room 1-4 and 1-5? Hang in there. They’re coming soon.

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