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!

Hex Crawl Advances

Mapping by hand really brings back that Old School feeling.

I took the liberty of rolling up the next ring.

After this, I’m only rolling for the hexes as the party enters them. Should be entertaining. I’ve already rolled one hex from the Paraelemental Plane of Mud, two jungle hexes, and and a random desert hex. Mapping by hand really brings back that Old School feeling.

The Hex Map Round 2
  • (Home) The quiet town of Dunbury Glen and its immediate surroundings before they were flung across time and space.
  • C3 Mountains. Dungeon here.
  • D4 Forest
  • D6 Wasteland. Elementals present.
  • C7 Plains/Grasslands. No roads.
  • B6 Fresh water.
  • B4 Plains/Grasslands.
  • C1 Grassy hills
  • D2 Forest
  • E3 Mud from the Paraelemental Plane of Mud. Elemental Chaos!
  • E5 Eerily cold, some trees, some grass
  • E7 Forest
  • D8 Jungle
  • C9 Grassy Hills
  • B9 Jungle
  • A7 Fresh water.
  • A5 Desert/Sand
  • A3 Jungle
  • B2 Grassy Hills.

So far, the group has explored enough to discover the 6 hexes directly around Dunbury Glen. They have not, however, run into sentient beings or any signs of civilization yet. They made a note of the dungeon in the mountains north of town, but decided to come back later. They are currently working their way Northeast through the forest at D4.

Thank you for stopping by. More fun tomorrow. I appreciate you!

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.

Wolf Lord Shaman for Dungeon Crawl Classics Version 1.0

Call upon the forces from the spirit world to destroy your enemies and summon new allies.

Call upon the forces from the spirit world to destroy your enemies and summon new allies.

Alignment: N

Weapons: Dagger, Mace, Sling, Staff, Longsword, Shortsword.

Unholy Creatures: Lycanthropes, un-dead, demons, and devils.
(As a Demigod, the Wolf Lord may have less influence over more powerful creatures.)
Bonus: Clerics of the Wolf Lord may use their turning ability on any Mundane Animal to gain a neutral or favorable reaction. Such an ability can only be used on an individual creature once per day.

Example: A large bear has wandered into the group’s camp. Volkor, the cleric attempts to invoke the name of the Wolf Lord to calm the bear and discourage it from eating the group’s provisions or attacking the group. If successful, the bear will wander away. If unsuccessful, bears have to eat sometime, right? In this case, starting with Volkor.

Bonus Ability: Clerics of the Wolf Lord may pass unhindered through thick brush and other outdoor woodland terrain.

Casts spells as a normal Cleric.
New spells to follow at a later date.

The Bearowl for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

Xultich had other successes. One of the most frightening and abominable is the Bearowl. This ferocious supernatural predator combines the upper torso of a bear with the razor sharp talons and wings of an owl.

The Owlbear wasn’t Xultich’s only creation.

Xultich had other successes. One of the most frightening and abominable is the Bearowl. This ferocious supernatural predator combines the upper torso of a bear with the razor sharp talons, wings and tail feathers of a giant owl. This magical abomination lives to prey on anything made of meat.

Bearowl: Init +2; Atk bite +6 melee (1d10+2) or claw +5 melee (1d6+5 ) or talon +5 melee (1d8+5); AC 19; HD 5d8; MV 20’ or fly 30′; Act 3d20; SP spell resistance, swoop attack; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +9; AL C.

If the Bearowl is in flight and lands 2 successful talon attacks in one turn on the same target, the intended victim (medium size or smaller) is lifted into the air An opposed Strength check against the Bearowl’s 20 Strength (+4) allowed once per turn wherein the target may attempt to break free. However, the Bearowl will pull the target upward and its prey may suffer falling damage. Once the Bearowl drags the victim to its nest, it will rend with bite and claw before feasting.

Photo by Rasmus Svinding on Pexels.com

(More) Hopefully better art coming soon.

DCC RPG: Hexcrawling Around.

Your characters are everyday villagers, or maybe even young, budding adventurers in a run of the mill medieval fantasy village of Dunbury Glen. Dark forces have been at work, unseen in the background for years in the quiet farming/fishing village.

Welcome to my thought exercise/solo roleplay hexcrawl to start defining my new campaign world.

Hand drawn. Colored pencils. Starter map. (Already has a coffee stain.)

A Little Background: Your characters are everyday villagers, or maybe even young, budding adventurers in a run of the mill medieval fantasy village of Dunbury Glen. Dark forces have been at work, unseen in the background for years in the quiet farming/fishing village.

Black stone obelisks appeared in the fields and on the river bank. No one knew where they came from or when. It was if some great dark hand planted them during the night while everyone slept.

Then one day, it all changed. In the early dawn hours just before everyone would normally rise to do the daily chores, the entire village and much of the surrounding area was ripped from the very ground and flung across space and dimensions, possibly even time itself.

The PCs at first find themselves waking up to this strange new world. Everything is askew from the village’s abrupt landing in the new environment. Livestock and pets are behaving strangely. Crops somehow look different. We are definitely not in the proverbial kingdom of Kansas any more.

Things are just getting started. There are many questions to answer and ground to explore. We’re just beginning to uncover the mysteries.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

First Step: Dealing with the DCC Character Funnel. The characters’ lives have just been turned upside down when some unseen force wrenched the world that they possibly grew up in out of the ground and planted it millions of miles away. This makes it easy for the characters to have come from almost any walk of life waking up in this new reality.

The first and most obvious mystery will be the swirling dark portal at the center of the town square. It contains a dungeon suitable for 0 Level characters that will unlock part of the mystery regarding what happened to the village. Upon surviving, the characters will receive their 10 XP and First Character Levels.

At the Judge’s discretion, would-be adventurers can face trials and tribulations elsewhere, possibly just running around the village checking on friends and family in the wake of the disaster. All kinds of secrets lie within Dunbury Glen itself, including the “who” and “why” of what happened to the village. Eventually the group may wish to explore the mysteries surrounding the obelisks and assist the village in recovery.

However, the emergency town meeting held by the local baron and the village elders will take precedence over much of the day’s proceedings. The second way to proceed with the Character Funnel will be in the form of volunteers to explore the immediate surroundings outside the village. At first no one will be allowed to travel more than one day (A single hex) in any given direction. A hex will be worth 10 XP regardless of the encounters within, assuming the characters survive.

Please note there are only so many pack animals and mounts available to start. Certainly most horse owners will NOT want to part with their animals. If nothing else, the various animals are still panicky from being moved abruptly by unseen magical forces. The characters will all be on foot to begin their journey.

The third potential character funnel will come in the form of NPCs the characters know asking for help and support in the early days living in the new environment. The village could randomly come under attack from any number of threats, causing the 0 Level characters to come to its aid. The group should be rewarded accordingly in conjunction with their efforts.

Time to break out the 12-Siders.

Step 2: Random Tables and a Map.

To be continued…

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Lots more to come.

The Minions of the Werewolf Lord DCC RPG

What would the Werewolf Lord be like? What would his minions be like? Why wouldn’t there be a natural Wolf Lord?

There is mention of a Werewolf Lord on Page 123 of the DCC Annual Number One.

It got me thinking, what would such a creature be like? What would his minions be like? Why wouldn’t there be a natural Wolf Lord?

Werewolf by Seda YAZICI is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Werewolf, Dire: Init +7; Atk bite +8 melee (1d8+2,) claw (1d6); AC 16; HD 2d6 +2; MV 40’;Infravision 100′; Act 1d24 + 1d20; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; AL C. The beast’s mystical nature reduces the damage of all blows against it by 5 points, save those of magic, Silver, and Wolfsbane.

Werewolf Mage: Init +2; Atk Claw +5 (1d6) or harmful spell (see below); AC 12; HD 3d4 +3; MV 40’; Act 1d24 + 1d20; SP prestidigitation, harmful spell 3/day; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; AL C. The beast’s mystical nature reduces the damage of all blows against it by 5 points, save those of magic, Silver, and Wolfsbane.

Dire Werewolf Fighter: Init +3; Atk axe +2 melee (1d6) Claw +2 melee (1d6); AC 16; HD 1d8+1; MV 25’; Act 1d24 + 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL C. The beast’s mystical nature reduces the damage of all blows against it by 5 points, save those of magic, Silver, and Wolfsbane.

Demon Wolf (Type II Demon): Size: Large; Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (2d6+2) Victims bitten by demon wolves must make a Fort Save DC 14 or become afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy. A new save is made each time the creature does damage; AC 14; HD 4d6; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL C.

The Demon Wolf servants of the Werewolf Lord are larger than average wolves with thick black fur, red eyes and sabretooth fangs. Their bite carries the curse of lycanthropy. Usually found in packs of 2d6 with one alpha. (Alpha gains +1 Init, +1, +1 Atk, +1 HD, 1d24 Act, +1 all saves.

These horrible minions and more will be pursuing our heroes after their visit to The Catacomb of the Wolf Lord.

Made for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! The conclusion of my short dungeon crawl, Catacomb of the Wolf Lord will be wrapping up soon featuring some of the monsters mentioned above. Happy gaming!

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.


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