Monsters for a Library Dungeon


Advice


Hi all,

I'm running a campaign with a dangerous library-themed dungeon. I'm looking for some good library or book monsters or even weird traps to put in there. I suspect the players will be back here a lot, so I need quite a bit of content of any level.

Some thoughts so far:

crazy traps
ghosts (i.e. http://paizo.com/PRD/monsters/ghost.html) of former visitors
spiders and worms in wet corners of the library
air elementals (because fire and water ones have no place in a library)

But I really want some more, I dunno, explicitly library-themed monsters. I was thinking a mimic that looks like a magical tome instead of a chest but not sure if that's too cheesy.

Ideas?


Clockwork guardians?

Grand Lodge

Book swarms...Explosive runes traps, Suggestion traps, Clockwork Guardians as mentioned above, Golems, Gargoyles, Mages (who else would be in a library?)


What is the history of this library? Where is it located?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"Bookworms" that are actually nagas with glasses. <g>
Flying books that function like bats or stirges, with some INT or WIS draining powers
Animated chairs, tables, bookshelves, lecterns, statues.
Undead librarians of various flavors.
Animate spells that fly out of books or scrolls & attack intruders.

Seems like I've seen animate spells and animate books in somepublished material, but can't recall where.


Dragons, Sphinx of several kinds.


The library is in the magical university my characters attend. They're about to explore it for the first time.

It's very old, and known to be dangerous. But the creatures aren't going to be evil, just true neutral in a very scary way.

These ideas are great.

Dark Archive

A swarm of loose pages of paper that swirl around, papercutting intruders viciously. (Bat swarm statistics, but adding construct traits and fire vulnerability.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Awakened Flesh Golems.


Origami golem, if you can find the 3.5 stats.


dont forget theres several dragons who very much enjoy literature (greens and... bronzes, i think? are big on knowledge-hoarding)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Goblins with torches set on destroying the place which is full of written words?

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pathfinder Society Scenario 5-11: The Library of the Lion is set in a secret library, with some fun stuff. The scenario itself is either loved or hated (I'm in the former group, it's one of my favorite ones). It features a Book Swarm for one (animated swarm of books that attacks the PCs if they disturb the wrong thing).

It would probably be worth looking at, as it can easily be adapted for non-society play.


Odraude wrote:
Origami golem, if you can find the 3.5 stats.

Or origami familiars.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Some ideas for non-combat weird encounters/events (red herrings) that I've used before.

- Strange Cryptography Homunculus with paragraphs and odd sentences written across its hide; it passes another marked in the same way, but the text is in an unfamiliar language. Following either homunculus leads to a non-hostile undead apprentice ceaselessly translating manuscripts. The apprentice wears a single green-tinted lens (the monocle only functions for the undead wearing it) that stores a certain amount of information written with a certain ink. The apprentice glances at the homunculus, the lens plucks the text from the construct's skin, the apprentice pricks the homunculus' now-blank skin and translating the text store within the lens. As the apprentice translates, the homunculus' skin recieves a new set of text to be sent somewhere...

- The Cursed Section This series of bookshelves contains blank spellbooks bound in the reanimated flesh of failed apprentices. On each cover a stretched, hairless face silently screams, swears, and weeps as long as it is touched by a living creature. This area was meant to only frighten new supplicants and none of the fleshy tomes are worth a copper (their binding bleeds if anything is written into the books, eventually rotting the pages). It should also be noted that reanimated flesh is mindless and holds no soul to rescue.

- What the hell is that? Within the library exists a strange 1/6 CR outsider that can somehow draw nourishment from silence. Should a character approach without making a sound, they see what appears to be a pale, wingless, three-foot high coachroach with more than seven pairs of hairy legs. The creature reaches almost five feet when standing on its lowest pair of legs. If attacked, startled, or spoken to, the oddity flees before shifting to another plane. As it shifts, the creature emits a low-pitch noise that sounds both like a chuckle and a murmur.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Have you seen the Doctor Who episode, the Silence in the Library? The villains are shadows that normally live in trees but end up living in library because... where do books come from?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vashta_Nerada#Vashta_Nerada

Even if you don't want to use that specific villain, its still a viable idea. Any kind of evil fey would do. The creature gets trapped inside a book from the tree it lived in and somehow gets loose.

For crazy traps, you could have something like the prison books from the Myst series, although you'd probably have the book open and on display on a dias for the PCs to take interest in it.

If you want something less combat oriented, you could have the ghost of a wizard who died in the library while researching something. His soul can't be put to rest until you find a certain fact that confirms or denies his thesis.

Mimics are a bit cliche, but nonetheless appropriate here.

A magical tome is powerful enough that it is enlarging ordinary insects. This would give you an object that will continue to spawn monsters until it is destroyed or otherwise placed in a "safe" location.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Orang-utan.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

An awakened dinosaur named Roget.


Odraude wrote:
Origami golem, if you can find the 3.5 stats.

Dragon magazine #341 - the paper golem can be found in the Lesser Golems section on page forty three. Small construct at CR1.

Also includes a number of construct familiars...definitely worth picking up.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are the Guardian Scroll Golems.


A couple thoughts:

1. Have you read Trudi Canavan's Magician's Guild trilogy? Not so much for the library, as for the state of affairs in the second book. If you're at a magical university, there's likely to be a lot of sniping and infighting among students. If the library is large enough, then they can feud with other students outside of teachers' sight and hearing.

Now, for the fun part:

a) What rules exist regarding student interaction? If school rules forbid inflicting lasting harm on your fellow students, this could give your players a very interesting challenge. How do they defend themselves without breaking school rules?

b) What if certain teachers view students feuding as a way for those students to test themselves? You can up the paranoia by having the PCs detect scrying sensors everywhere, but leave them unable to determine who the heck is spying on them.

2. Skill challenges might be appropriate. Remember the bit in Harry Potter where Harry had to mount on a broom to chase down a key? In one scenario, your players may need to retrieve a McGuffin (book, key, flying rabbit, whatever) without damaging it. I think it'd work as a Fly check to maneuver, combined with grapple attempts, and a penalty distraction penalty for being in a swarm of things.

3. An uber-powerful wizard who is in the middle of researching something. The PCs intrude on his research, so he waves his hands at them. If the PCs fail the saving throw (say, DC 30 or 40 or so), they get teleported to some random place in the library.

4. A book on a raised pedestal, with writing mysteriously appearing. Urgnatz, the half-orcish wizard approaches it to read. He reads, "Urgnatz, the half-orcish wizard, approached the mysterious tome." If the PCs try to read the book, they'll find their adventures -- and only their adventures -- chronicled in it. For bonus points, the book could take some artistic liberties with their past adventures. Instead of recounting their adventures truthfully, it retells everything so that the most cowardly and weaselly PC always looks like the hero.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Duiker wrote:

Pathfinder Society Scenario 5-11: The Library of the Lion is set in a secret library, with some fun stuff. The scenario itself is either loved or hated (I'm in the former group, it's one of my favorite ones). It features a Book Swarm for one (animated swarm of books that attacks the PCs if they disturb the wrong thing).

It would probably be worth looking at, as it can easily be adapted for non-society play.

I second this. The PDF is on sale right now, so even more cheap then usual.

Grand Lodge

I third the Library of the Lion. I played it and liked it a lot. It is where I got the idea to mention Book swarm. Only thing that made me sad was I was playing a Combat Ranger and had nothing to do because the Scenario was talked/bluffed/diplomacy through and we had like 1 fight. But it would give you a creature for the library.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Conan the Librarian

Liberty's Edge

There's a Guardian Scroll in the Mummy's Mask AP that would probably fit the bill.


Stained glass golems are kinds cool for this kind of place.


Demons
Devils
Nagas
Unscrupulous explorers (ie; The Seekers in Greyhawk)
About any undead you can think of
Medusa
Night Hag

The Exchange

Have you ever seen the Pagemaster? A wonderful little movie from a while back that involved a boy going to the library, and getting sucked into his books... literally. As he wanders around the place, famous characters from books meet him, including Captain Ahab and the White Whale, Long John Silver and his crew, a Dragon, and Doc Jekyl/Mr. Hyde. One of the Hounds of the Baskervilles even begins to chase the boy around.

In the same fashion, you could go with ghostly apparitions of famous characters in their world, for good or evil. Perhaps the tales of Geoffrey, Conqueror of the Highlands, sit on the shelves, with a ghostly Geoffrey walking around, showing off his military prowess in a ghostly fashion. I think Illusions should be the main point in the library. Whether the entity is real or not should be the question, not what is there.

This way, depending on what part of the library the party is in, you could use different enemies. I'm a big fan of Owlbears. Imagine if one of them comes from the biology section? As the party fetches a book about Fire Elementals, Apparitions of Fire Elementals attack them. Simple and fun!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"bookworms" that are actually rot grubs.
Mimic wasn't a bad idea.
Paper Golem.


Maybe a Sphinx, reading up on more riddles.


Atarlost wrote:
An awakened dinosaur named Roget.

I less-than-three this so much. : D


Dave Justus wrote:
Conan the Librarian

Don't you know the dewey decimal system?


I once used the Animated Object rules (particularly the ranged attack option) to create a bookshelf that shot the books it held at the party. This also has the benefit of being readily scalable to whatever CR you need.


Make the head librarian a mythic lich that is lawful neutral, his/her goal could be acquiring as much knowledge as he/she can. Shadows that roam the book shelves, constructs/clockwork assistants that help run the place. Maze traps, suggestion, confusion, paralysis, and teleportation traps. add some neutral based outsiders. and maybe a dragon and a sphinx or two. depends on how deadly/dangerous you want it to be. and alarms on some of the restricted works. and a teacher only section that has a barrier they can try to overcome to get the real good boos.


Teleport traps to seperate people is hilarious.

Angry LIbrarian staff. A vampire, A lich, A highly sentient nad powerful ghost, A mummy, and one single Human.

Brain feeding monsters or telepathic things (abeloth or mindflayer esq) who use humans to simply read and collect more information in the library.


Caulborn - Bestiary 3 p48

Ugly-ass neutral telepathic historians that travel the planes setting up camp in places of interest until they have absorbed all the knowledge there is to gain from said place.

Perfect library encounter.


If your feeling Custom creation..
The Silence, and Vashta Navada from Doctor Who


One could go with familiar-like creatures. Mephits, augmented Homuculi, talking ravens and crows, a few simple comstructs and animated objects (animated scrollrack that uses scrolls stored in it)... and a rust monster, just for fun.


Giant Crawling Hands could make interesting librarians!


Hey all,

Just to follow up on this, this Library was a huge hit.

There were many levels, each successively harder and each with new monsters. Lots of magical siderooms with weird magical settings - lakes, mountains, crypts, etc. The players loved it - kept trying to go back for more without good reason.

Thanks everyone for all your help!


animated objects. (like statues and suits or armor)
carytid columns (sp?)
an order of the tome cavalier who is a venerable elf (kinda picturing the elven version of the knight from indian jones and the last crusade)

Naga
Vermin
molds
spores
oozes
Chokers
a mimic

and the most horrible relic from any library ever… The Dewey Decimal System!


jason hammonds wrote:

Make the head librarian a mythic lich that is lawful neutral, his/her goal could be acquiring as much knowledge as he/she can. Shadows that roam the book shelves, constructs/clockwork assistants that help run the place. Maze traps, suggestion, confusion, paralysis, and teleportation traps. add some neutral based outsiders. and maybe a dragon and a sphinx or two. depends on how deadly/dangerous you want it to be. and alarms on some of the restricted works. and a teacher only section that has a barrier they can try to overcome to get the real good boos.

I think Baelnorn is what the good liches are called. Elves that became liches to guard knowledge.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Monsters for a Library Dungeon All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.