Dungeon dressing is awesome. Every dungeon should include it. A vital part of dungeon dressing are minor events. Dungeons don’t exist waiting in stasis for the PCs to blunder about. Things happens.
I’ve previously blogged about dungeon dressing and why I think it is a vital addition to every dungeon. It’s pretty obvious, therefore, that when I was designing Gloamhold I’d be including dungeon dressing (and here are 20 pieces designed for Gloamhold). After all, it’s how you create the illusion of detail and bring the place alive in the players’ imagination. Minor events help spin the illusion that other things are happening in the dungeon irrespective of the PCs’ actions.
Use the table below, to generate minor events for your dungeon, While these have been designed with Gloamhold in mind, they will likely suit most dungeons. (And if they don’t modify them accordingly).
- Ahead, in the dim light at the very extent of your torch’s illumination, a vaguely man-shaped shadow seems to detach itself from the wall and slink away into the darkness.
- Suddenly, the harsh clatter of metal on metal—or perhaps metal on stone—reaches your ears from an unknown direction. The sound fades away almost as quickly as it arrived.
- Tiny motes of sparkling dust dance in the stiff breeze blowing through this area.
- The faint smell of burning wood and smoke reaches your nostrils, carried on a faint breeze.
- Water from the ceiling drips onto your head and shoulders.
- The faint sounds of combat—the clash of metal on metal and the screams of the dying—reaches your ears. The acoustics of the area you are in make it impossible to determine exactly where the battle is being fought.
- A faint chanting—from an indeterminable source—reaches your ears.
- The heavy tang of saltwater fills the air.
- A faint breeze blows into your faces.
- A gust of wind swirls down the corridor; it has a 50% chance of extinguishing unprotected light sources such as torches.
- The faint clank of metal on stone reaches perceptive PCs’ ears.
- A bang akin to a door being slammed shut echoes through the air.
- The jingling and rattling of a chain breaks the silence.
- A piercing scream suddenly breaks the silence; it quickly fades away into pain-filled gurgling. After a moment, that too falls silent.
- The cloying stench of rotting flesh fills this area, but there is no immediately identifiable source.
- Faint mist clings to the floor.
- As the PCs pass through the area, several small pieces of rubble fall from an unstable section of ceiling, narrowly missing them.
- A distant gong sounds.
- The faint drip, drip of water echoes through this area. Just around the next corner dripping water has filled a wide hollow in the floor blocking further progress.
- A strong wind blows through the area and extinguishes all nonmagical open flames.
This material appears in the Gloamhold Campaign Guide available from Raging Swan Press.
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