It seems adventurers are always poking their noses into vermin-infested dungeons. Whether it is an old, abandoned keep on the edge of the borderlands or a small network of tunnels intersecting with a sewer, in such locales vermin are an ever present threat.
Vermin can live almost anywhere, and are always seeking food. Really only a threat to low-level or badly injured adventurers, they are a vital part of most dungeon’s ecosystems. Use the following table, to determine what minor feature the PCs discover during their adventure.
- Small droppings cover the floor. Some are obviously new while others are dry and hard.
- Several narrow cracks pierce one of the walls at floor level. Small droppings cover the floor, in front of the cracks.
- The area smells of wet fur and faeces.
- Half a rat corpse—the head and shoulders—lies on the floor. Of the rest of the body, there is no sign.
- Spider webs fill the corners of this area where the walls meet the ceiling. Small bundles—flies and other insects—are visible within. A few yet struggle pitifully, but most are long dead.
- A wide crack pierces the ceiling. Directly below it, a pile of guano waist high to a man, towers over the floor.
- Rotten wood lies in a corner of the room. Perceptive PCs hear the sounds of tiny creatures scrabbling about within.
- Cobwebs cover the ceiling and entrance to this area; dozens of small spiders lurk within.
- A mouldering spider leg—easily as long as a human’s leg—lies on the floor. The spider from whence it came must have been the size of a horse!
- In this spider-web filled chamber the half-eaten corpse of a large spider lies on the floor. Although clearly dead—much of its head is missing—the corpse seems to move and shudder. A closer examination reveals dozens of large rats gnawing on the corpse from the inside out. If disturbed, they viciously defend their meal.
- Trails of tiny tracks in this dusty room betray the presence of a small colony of mice or rats.
- A pile of sodden wood and moist earth harbour a colony of centipedes that lurk among a small stand of dark-hued mushrooms.
- A network of fine cracks pierce the floor, and from these cracks grows a carpet of moulds and fungi. Many of these growths show signs of being gnawed by tiny teeth.
- Cobwebs—heavy with dust—droop down from the ceiling. They have clearly been here for some time and, just as clearly, are no longer used by the spider that made them.
- The stench of decay hangs heavily in the air.
- The sounds of scrabbling from behind the walls, floor or ceiling reaches the ears of perceptive PCs.
- As the PCs enter the area, a large rat darts into a hole in the floor. Droppings surround the hole.
- Dried vomit is splattered all over one wall. It has dripped down the wall and pooled on the floor. Several dozen centipedes cluster around the vomit, eating greedily.
- The sounds of squeeking comes from ahead of the party, but the source of the sound never reveals itself.
- A bone pile fills one corner of the chamber. Investigation reveals the bones likely came from one humanoid and that they have been clearly gnawed by hundreds—if not thousands—of tiny teeth.
GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing
If you enjoy the table above and like dungeon dressing, check out GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing. 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.
The image above comes from Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and illustrates a giant spider-infested great hall wherein the party must overcome their mindless foe to reach the castle’s upper level!