Things a DM can put in a dungeon to totally mess with players


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So, just for fun. :) What things have you thought of or actually used in a dungeon just to mess with your players. Here are a few of mine.

1. An actual red herring (figurative and literal)

2. A duck (and make it part of an answer to a riddle so they have to pick it up)

3. Magic items that are not quite what they seem (minorly cursed or have drawbacks)

4. Mislabeled Potions (But it says Potion of invisibility... why am I not invisible? Why am I growing rabbit ears?)

5. An invisible wall

6. Something that looks like the deck of many things, but isn't


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false traps and false pits making the characters jump a gap when really there is no pit, just and illusion. and make the character try to disable a trap that really isn't a trap.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

An underground formal sitting garden, complete with pruned trees, well-manicured lawn, flowers, and park benches. (Bonus if you have a duck pond.)

A sentient book.

Green slime.

A viewing portal that can look at specific locations on other planets.

Prisoners that weren't what they seemed.

A mimic.

A magic fountain that has random (usually bad) effects. (Cliche, but PCs always drink from it!)

Tucker's kobolds.


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Infant diaper changing station, with anti-bacterial goo dispenser!


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A giant dish of jello that is cubed shaped

A Magic item salesman that is trying to peddle body parts with the name "Vecna" in them

A gazebo


Terquem wrote:
Infant diaper changing station, with anti-bacterial goo dispenser!

That becomes an anti-bacterial goo monster?


Haladir wrote:

A magic fountain that has random (usually bad) effects. (Cliche, but PCs always drink from it!)

I must steal this. Now where should I put it in my module...


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A table with a sign on it that says "Drink me" and has dozens of different cocktails on it that do weird things when drunk.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms

A feather bed mimic

The skeleton of Santa Claus


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Haladir wrote:
A magic fountain that has random (usually bad) effects. (Cliche, but PCs always drink from it!)

They do?!? The players I've known would think someone crazy for even considering it!

But maybe my players are atypical in that respect. And here I thought that the use of such fountains (such as the one in "Horror on the Hill") was a waste of space.


Guess it depends on your players. I've had some that would have just to see what happened... Heck, if I were in the right frame of mind I'd probably be one of those types :)


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A room that constantly switches gravity direction (Take falling damage!)


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A long hallway with individual squares that are false floors with illusions cast over them and lead down to a spike pit below.

A cube room where the party has to use a gravity-shifting dias to rotate the room around to solve a puzzle and reveal the doorway.


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I once placed a magic hand mirror in a room, and the Character's could see themselves in it, but only out of focus, doing heroic things, or narrowly escaping some disaster.

It took five game sessions before they relaized that the Mirror was showing them the past, all the while they were convinced it showed them the future.


Terquem wrote:

I once placed a magic hand mirror in a room, and the Character's could see themselves in it, but only out of focus, doing heroic things, or narrowly escaping some disaster.

It took five game sessions before they relaized that the Mirror was showing them the past, all the while they were convinced it showed them the future.

That is awesome. I love it.


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An illusion of a trap that desguised an actual trap that was hidden beneath mundane disguise with an illusion undernear the mundane mundane disguise. Essentially it was:
Will to disbelieve
Perception to find
Will to disbelieve
Perception to find
HEY AN ACTUAL TRAP!

Pastries of Gender Change

Trap of a Rod of Wonder (who KNOWS that will happen with that)

Wild Magic Zones

sending a certain incorporeal rat swarm that does str damage...

Get annoying with Major Image...

Aboleths...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Haladir wrote:
A magic fountain that has random (usually bad) effects. (Cliche, but PCs always drink from it!)

They do?!? The players I've known would think someone crazy for even considering it!

But maybe my players are atypical in that respect. And here I thought that the use of such fountains (such as the one in "Horror on the Hill") was a waste of space.

Magic fountains were a staple in old-school modules. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 6 old TSR modules that had one! But they fell out of favor in the late '90s, so you don't see them in dungeons much any more. I think part of the reason is that adventure design matured, so you see far less crazy $#i7 that doesn't make any sense, combined with players who are far more invested in their characters and consequently more cautious than in days of yore.

One thing I loved about Numeria: Land of Fallen Stars was the introduction of "Numerian Fluids," which are essentially a re-hash of the old-school "magic fountain of random effects."


Haladir,

I think that's why I prefer running one shot or two shot games at cons. the PCs are less invested in their characters and will do the crazy "$#i7" lol. My one shots also have a tendency to be absolutely ridiculous and my Critical Fumble tables are evidence of that. :D


PIXIE DUST wrote:

An illusion of a trap that desguised an actual trap that was hidden beneath mundane disguise with an illusion undernear the mundane mundane disguise. Essentially it was:

Will to disbelieve
Perception to find
Will to disbelieve
Perception to find
HEY AN ACTUAL TRAP!

Pastries of Gender Change

Trap of a Rod of Wonder (who KNOWS that will happen with that)

Wild Magic Zones

sending a certain incorporeal rat swarm that does str damage...

Get annoying with Major Image...

Aboleths...

Heehee.. Love the trap. And I once made a maze that used a modified version of the wild magic lists from the 2.0 Book of Wild Magic or whatever it was called.. It was hilarious.


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A portal to the Plane Where All Lost Things Go, a strange dimension where loose change, lost car keys, and the missing socks that disappear in the dryer fall from the sky.


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I once placed loose, torn out pages from a manga, Ai Yori Aoshi, in a corridor to indicate a trap in a room ahead, but the party only collected the pages, and left the dungeon to sell them...


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Terquem wrote:
I once placed loose, torn out pages from a manga, Ai Yori Aoshi, in a corridor to indicate a trap in a room ahead, but the party only collected the pages, and left the dungeon to sell them...

Rofl. That's a weird party... Loot hungry?


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an orc chieftain reincarnated as an elf princess

a clean change of clothes

seven svirfneblin about to devour a paralyzed woman currently kept fresh in a glass cage

100 platinum pieces that turn into the equivalent value in copper pieces when touched by someone of lawful alignment

an awakened white rabbit with levels in time oracle who is freaking out about the 'upcoming apocalypse'

a werefish (think: Coelacanth)

a crumb trail


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LOL Svirfneblin nibblin on snow white


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Dustin Ashe wrote:

an orc chieftain reincarnated as an elf princess

a clean change of clothes

seven svirfneblin about to devour a paralyzed woman currently kept fresh in a glass cage

100 platinum pieces that turn into the equivalent value in copper pieces when touched by someone of lawful alignment

an awakened white rabbit with levels in time oracle who is freaking out about the 'upcoming apocalypse'

a werefish (think: Coelacanth)

a crumb trail

So, 1 platinum piece would become 1,000 copper pieces when touched by a lawful being? Or do you mean 1 platinum changes into 1 copper? The first would be mean if you made them keep track of coin weight.


Adjule wrote:
Dustin Ashe wrote:

an orc chieftain reincarnated as an elf princess

a clean change of clothes

seven svirfneblin about to devour a paralyzed woman currently kept fresh in a glass cage

100 platinum pieces that turn into the equivalent value in copper pieces when touched by someone of lawful alignment

an awakened white rabbit with levels in time oracle who is freaking out about the 'upcoming apocalypse'

a werefish (think: Coelacanth)

a crumb trail

So, 1 platinum piece would become 1,000 copper pieces when touched by a lawful being? Or do you mean 1 platinum changes into 1 copper? The first would be mean if you made them keep track of coin weight.

Both would be mean. LOL

I solved the coin weight in my campaigns a long time ago. Everyone gets a Double H pouch that holds money only.

Sovereign Court

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The guards room full of hammocks the PCs use to sleep for the night is a great place to have a hidden mimic. Freaked one of my players out so bad his PC would destroy every hamock he came across the rest of the campaign.


That is awesome, Pan.

Dark Archive

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A kobold sorceror with a wand of magic aura to turn off the magic aura's of all the magical traps.


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MeriDoc- wrote:
A kobold sorceror with a wand of magic aura to turn off the magic aura's of all the magical traps.

Or to cast magic aura over everything in the dungeon so the PCs get "blinded" by detect magic :D


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A door that requires drawing a card from a Deck of Many Things to open xD


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I once had the gem on an obviously trapped pedestal be a balled up piece of paper with an illusion to make it look valuable.

The paper had explosive runes written on it.

Sovereign Court

Rubber Ducky guy wrote:

I once had the gem on an obviously trapped pedestal be a balled up piece of paper with an illusion to make it look valuable.

The paper had explosive runes written on it.

/yoink


Haladir wrote:
A magic fountain that has random (usually bad) effects. (Cliche, but PCs always drink from it!)

Though i recall the old Might and Magic 7 drinking fountains was a good thing.

Respectively, the older versions also had various unxpected things.

As for contribution:

A knapsack with a trap, flinging poison darts or spikes at the party.

Teleportation tiles, you'd need to jump over them or you'd return to the entrance of the dungeon.

Low light everywhere, figures moving past in the distance.


Rubber Ducky guy wrote:

I once had the gem on an obviously trapped pedestal be a balled up piece of paper with an illusion to make it look valuable.

The paper had explosive runes written on it.

In my opinion, this post has the best one yet.


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Put in 3 horrible trap rooms that have been sprug and the biddies of the previous tresspassers, then in 4th room don't put anything at all just an empty room that leads to the next room, that is trapped.


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The end of that one hallway that all the orcs use as a privy.....bathroom.

A random wall covered in ......soot, slime, plants, .....etc

Elephant armor, tusks, bones and a big F*+@ing iron pot.


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Aaron Bitman wrote:
Rubber Ducky guy wrote:

I once had the gem on an obviously trapped pedestal be a balled up piece of paper with an illusion to make it look valuable.

The paper had explosive runes written on it.

In my opinion, this post has the best one yet.

Only if the paper had written on it

"I prepared Explosive Runes today"


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PIXIE DUST wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Rubber Ducky guy wrote:

I once had the gem on an obviously trapped pedestal be a balled up piece of paper with an illusion to make it look valuable.

The paper had explosive runes written on it.

In my opinion, this post has the best one yet.

Only if the paper had written on it

"I prepared Explosive Runes today"

That's exactly what I wrote on the ball of paper I handed to the player :-D


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NICE!!!

+1 for V the sexually unknown elf.


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I remember a party I was a part of, very very low magic setting. The party found a rock with the image of an eagle on it. We had no casters so we took the rock with us, sweet maybe we found a magic rock right? We got into a fight with a lot of skeletons so the minotaur pulls out the rock and hurls it like a bowling ball killing 3 skeletons before the rock stopped. We thought this was awesome, we loved our magic rock. It was our signature weapon for 2 sessions. We get to a town with some low level casters because we had to know what the rock did, turns out it was just a rock, something you would place outside of your home with a small family crest from a no name family. It made us sad, but we didn't mind because eventually we made the rock into a magic rock.

TL;DR A rock with some runes or a fancy image on it, about the size of your head with three holes drilled into it like a bowling ball.

The Exchange

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A large room, entirely empty, except for a single glossy gray pillar rising through its center. Dozens of weapons, buckles, grappling hooks, bits of armor, keys - in short, almost anything made out of iron/steel that an adventurer might be carrying - are stuck randomly to this pillar and to each other.

(Face it, you all think you know what this is. But here's the real story: a kobold tribe lives beyond this chamber. Lacking a scary guardian monster, they painted an ordinary pillar gray, used sovereign glue to stick iron/steel objects to it, and now take advantage of the fact that the few adventurers daring enough to pass through the room arrive with no metal armor or weapons.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

1. - Goblins that used marbles as part of their ambushing defense.

2. A dragon observing the party by polymorphing into a tiny animal (rat, squirrel, rabbit, whatever).

3. Any encounter the party has with a skunk.


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I had a room with two very easy to find traps, one was armed and the other was disarmed, disarming one armed the other... That was the hard thing to detect.

It was a 20' by 10 corridor with a door at the end. Opening the door triggered the very obvious horizontal guillotine. Disarming the horizontal guillotine armed the vertical guillotine over the door and visa-versa.

Didn't kill the party but made them very wary

Scarab Sages

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A room in which, if someone happens to say a certain word, a duck falls from the ceiling.

A room occupied by a bunch of low-CR monsters, a table with a few pastries and a bowl of punch on it, and a banner overhead saying "Pipeweed/Pesh/Luhix/Lotosypherine/[insert campaign setting-appropriate fantasy narcotic of choice here] Anonymous."

A little toy gallows with a box of Scrabble-like wooden letters beneath it; if a PC investigates, they find themselves inextricably transfixed into playing a game of hangman; you then actually play hangman with them - if the PC wins, they get an awesome reward, and if they lose, they turn into a little wooden figurine of themselves hanging from the little gallows.

Chyrone wrote:
Haladir wrote:
A magic fountain that has random (usually bad) effects. (Cliche, but PCs always drink from it!)

Though i recall the old Might and Magic 7 drinking fountains was a good thing.

SPEAKING of Might & Magic (and it's not "old Might and Magic" unless you're still chasing Sheltem and Corak around, but anyways)....

A secret door behind which lies a small casino; be sure to have been tossing the party curious tokens from time to time before they reach this point - turns out these tokens are for feeding into the funny little idols occupying the room, and grant random goodies!

A long hall (which the party MUST pass through to advance) choked with guillotines, pendulums, and the like that do INCREDIBLE (as in, "it will be truly amazing if you can survive all this") damage; earlier in the dungeon can be found talking altars that promise (sincerely) to shield the party from these threats *if* they pay MIND-BOGGLING sums of gold - and if they say no, they're unceremoniously teleported into the thick of them.

A dungeon (again, which the party MUST pass through to advance) devoid of monsters or lethal traps, but in which most spaces, if stepped in, will teleport the party back to the entrance, save for a single, narrow, utterly unmarked trail....

Several huge piles of treasure just sitting out in the open and unguarded; some of them are real, and are just as rewarding as they look; others are evidently huge piles of gold's antimatter twin, and will suck the gold you have on you into nothingness if you dig in - so. Which ones are which?

A sensibly-placed coffin, which you describe in the following terms: "This narrow coffin looks like it could barely hold a human form. Do you open the lid?" If they do, it turns out there were (count 'em) 3 tough undead monsters inside. Yep - it's a f$#*ing clown coffin.

A crossword puzzle. The first floor of the dungeon turns out to be just one big crossword puzzle.


@ Hiding in your closet

Granted, Sheltem i would consider the "older", 6 through 8 are "old".
Still they date a while back, so compared with X they are old, but they make you want to replay it from time to time.


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Lincoln Hills wrote:

A large room, entirely empty, except for a single glossy gray pillar rising through its center. Dozens of weapons, buckles, grappling hooks, bits of armor, keys - in short, almost anything made out of iron/steel that an adventurer might be carrying - are stuck randomly to this pillar and to each other.

(Face it, you all think you know what this is. But here's the real story: a kobold tribe lives beyond this chamber. Lacking a scary guardian monster, they painted an ordinary pillar gray, used sovereign glue to stick iron/steel objects to it, and now take advantage of the fact that the few adventurers daring enough to pass through the room arrive with no metal armor or weapons.)

I once filled an area of a dungeon with realistic stone statues of various creatures and people with looks of horror on their faces. It turned out that the occupant was a gifted sculptor who wanted intruders to THINK that a creature with petrifying gaze was there, so they'd avoid the area.


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KestrelZ wrote:
Any encounter the party has with a skunk.

Ah, that little encounter that completely changed my whole experience of "Legacy of the Liosalfar".


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Wrote a scenario one time that involved an....er...unusual mercenary company exploring a ruin. PCs asked to be healed so they were told to go see the company horse doctor.

When they got to her they found an Alchemist (Chirurgeon) 5/ Wizard 1 awakened pony named Buttercup.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
A little toy gallows with a box of Scrabble-like wooden letters beneath it; if a PC investigates, they find themselves inextricably transfixed into playing a game of hangman; you then actually play hangman with them - if the PC wins, they get an awesome reward, and if they lose, they turn into a little wooden figurine of themselves hanging from the little gallows.

I just stole the hell out of this.


Chyrone wrote:


Teleportation tiles, you'd need to jump over them or you'd return to the entrance of the dungeon.

Genius. I must use this someday!

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