10 Things to Say When A PC makes a Perception Check And Finds Nothing…

Because (sometimes) a little player paranoia is a good thing...

Adventurers are always poking their nose in where it doesn’t belong. They seem to incessantly search even the most boring, featureless rooms in search of treasure. Sometimes, they get lucky and find hidden or forgotten loot, but—more often than not—there is simply nothing to find.

By Arthur Rackham


Saying, “You find nothing”, though, is boring. Use the table below, to inject minor interest into the proceedings (and perhaps to feed your players’ paranoia):

  1. You see nothing out of the ordinary, and hear nothing but the laboured breathing of your companions and the creak of their equipment.
  2. A slight breeze plays across your face, but you can’t make out where it comes from.
  3. Some of the nearby shadows seem slightly deeper than they should be.
  4. For just a moment, you thought you heard a faint whispered conversation, but it is gone now.
  5. As you search the area, a shiver runs down your spine. Is someone watching you?
  6. You suddenly feel warm, as if you had exerted yourself for sometime. Perhaps it’s just the stress of the adventure?
  7. Dust—illuminated by the light—swirls and shimmers in the air creating intricate patterns that form and reform.
  8. A faint odour—perhaps sweat or damp—hangs in the air, but you cannot identify its source.
  9. Your heart pounds loudly in your chest and the roar of blood fills your ears. However, in the area you detect nothing seemingly of interest.
  10. You detect nothing of interest, but something just feels “wrong.” Perhaps its paranoia or perhaps its your sixth sense warning of a lurking danger…

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GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing

GMM_DD_new_220If you enjoyed the table above and like dungeon dressing, check out GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing—Endzeitgeist’s choice as the number one book of 2014! Crammed with over 300 pages of information and charts designed to bring your dungeon alive, GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing is an essential part of any GM’s arsenal.


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19 thoughts on “10 Things to Say When A PC makes a Perception Check And Finds Nothing…

  1. I finally bought your GM’S MISCELLANY: DUNGEON DRESSING PDF and can’t find this table in there. Can I pretty please get a page number for it?

    • Thanks very much for buying GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing–I hope you enjoy it.

      This table isn’t actually in the book as I wrote it only last week!

  2. Fantastic stuff as always.
    This is the kind of things help make a great game.
    I find myself saying simple things like “you search, straining your senses. But find nothing, as far as you know.

    Thanks, Creighton!

    • Thanks, Bobby! Glad you liked it. It looks like I’m going to take a stab at expanding the list somewhat so keep an eye on the site!

  3. i think this one is particularly inspired Creighton. when a writer or inventor can find that niche that everyone has needed but no one was looking for — that’s real brilliance. excellent work on this extremely useful resource.

    • Thank you, Garth. I’m thinking of doing a range of these. This one has been quite well received–and I’m chuffed!