Sunday 31 December 2023

Attack of the Living Dungeon

People said don't build on the haunted moors. In the dawn age,, a great fortress of dreams was built that was destroyed in the age of darkness. Locals noticed long ago if you build even a shack here the spirits of the old dungeon will add architectural features. Local shepherds learned this, gave up building anything, and pulled down the ones they tried. 

So when a lord built a hunting lodge here locals warned the builders who ignored scruffy commoners and went ahead. Of course, the spirits used this as a nexus to regrow the old dungeon of dreams including monsters, traps, and treasure. At first, the nobles were interested but after guests vanished and the mimics ate some guests and goblins pooped in the feast preparations the princely poltroons realised the filthy poor were right.

This is kind of a random dungeon. You can populate it from standard dungeon tables. It has many minor and major spirits that maintain and service it and new features appear often. Even resting in a room opens you to the risk of the dungeon changing all around that one room you sealed yourself in. Maps made no sense and getting out was difficult. Might be good for a solo.

Roll a d10 for an entrance and roll as you go for rest

d10 Quick Living Dungeon Features
1 Portals
2 Corridors 
3 Traps
4 Torments
5 Decor
6 Basic Rooms
7 Lair Rooms
Haunted Rooms
Strange Rooms
10 Planar Rooms

d100  Living Dungeon
01 Portcullis gate may require lifting or will slam shut behind you, 1in4 chance a nearby room has controls and a winch
02 Castle gate a double metal reinforced door which can be bolted from other side 1in4 chance of an occupied guard post inside
03 Drawbridge gate can be lowered from inside by mechanism operated by guards over d4 1=deep pit of spikes and bones 2=filthy water with a crocodile 3=pit with snakes 4=pit with zombies and skeletons 
04 Solid locked door can be bolted inside with a viewport for guards inside
05 Solid locked door with murder holes above entry where a small guardroom linked by stairs above allows those trying to enter can be attacked by d4 1=arrows 2=burning oil 2d4 3=boiling water d4 4=molten lead 4d4
06 Solid oak door d4 1=locked 2=bolted 3=trapped 4=unlocked
07 Common door d4 1=rotting 2=open 3=stiff and jammed 4=made of flimsy material like a curtain, whicker or bundles of sticks
08 Iron gate d4 1=locked 2=rusted 3=open 4=magically locked requires spell or password
09 Secret door d41=into corridor 2=into a room 3=hiding hole or stash 4=stairs or trapdoor
10 Trapdoor, if the first level goes down otherwise could go up or down 
11 Long Corridor d4x 100 foot with d4 doors and d4-1 passages
12 Winding curved 100 foot passage with d3 doors
13 Junction of d3+1 passages
14 Corridor with d4 90 degree bends d6x 10 foot between and d4 1=dead end 2=door 3=junction of d3+1 passages 4=collapsed if unblocked roll a new section
15 Sloping passage 100 foot to a lower level and then d3+1 passages
16 Narrow passage one foot wide d6x 30 foot long to d4 1=door 2=oubliette 3=dead end 4=monster lair
17 Fragile section of passage d6x 50 foot passage will if anyone noisy or causes damage, possibly some sagging beams or hasty repairs d4 1=rocks fall from above 2=collapses and is blocked 3=collapses providing passage to higher or lower level 4=makes noises alerting guards
18 Passage decorated for d4x 20 foot with d4 1=graffitti revealing faction conflicts 2=mural of ancient myths 3=mozaic tiles hides a secret door 4=semi precious stones and silver inlay in wall art tales ten minutes per d6gp to remove and a bit noisy
19 Section of passage d4x 10 foot long where walls close in if entered 1in4 with pop out spikes, must flee through or brace 
20 Maze with a monster lair with treasure
21 Pendulum or scythe trap triggered by weight or opening door or chest
22 Deadfall with tripline drops d4 1=rubble 2=swarm 3=caltrops 4=monster 
23 Pop out spikes triggered by weight
24 Pittrap with concealed cover d4 1=thin plaster 2=weakened floor 3=Illusion 4=mechanical self sealing hatch. The d4x10 foot drop pit into d64 1=sinkhole cave chamber 2=filthy water 3=spikes 4=swarm of animals 5=monster 6=lower level
25 Shooting darts activated by weight d4 1=d4 crossbow bolts 2=ballistia bolt 3=poison dart save or die 4=2d4 darts
26 Gas trap activated by opening door or chest d4 1=sleep 2=acidic d4 3=poison 4=hallucination
27 Magic trap activated by passing concealed sigil without uttering password d4 1=d4 magic missiles 2=burning hands 3=hold person 4=petrification
28 Scythe trap activated by opening door or chest
29 Imobilising trap d6 1=net traps and suspends in air 2=cage 3=snare grabs leg and suspends target in air 4=iron jaws snaps on leg 5=glue traps feet 6=webs fill 10 foot cube
30 Poison trap d4 1=poison spikes in floor 2=poison needle in door or baited 3=contact poison on valuable bait
31 Corpses possibly with treasure or common items are d4 1=undead 2=diseased 3=eaten by monster 4=parasite riddled
32 Bell d4 1=rings if approached calling guards 2=rings if approached summons monster 3=deafening save or deafened a day and d4 damage 3=dispels spells in 30 foot radius areaif rung
33 Staircase but trapped and activated by weight d4 1=slide 2=boulder dropped from top 3=portculis gate drops 4=monster released from secret door  
34 Alarm alerts local monsters d4 1=noise maker with trip wire 2=screaming fungis 3=magic mouth or alarm spell 4=spyhole with concealed guard who rings a bell
35 Rotating corridor or room misdirects those passing through and hard to detect
36 Arrow slits for guards to attack from another coridoor or room
37 Guardpost with monsters d4 1=concealed with secret door and spyhole 2=baricaded with barred gate 3=invisible 4=in ceiling hard to spot allows enemy to drop behind intruders
38 Teleporter pad d4 1=sends to surface 2=sends to lower level 3=summons monsters 4=sends to a prison cell watched by guards
39 Mimic in form of a treasure chest
40 Illusion conceals d4 1=pit 2=guardpost 3=passage 4=treasure
41 Magical idol or shrine d4 1=take its coins receive curse 2=give coins heald d4 3=shoots a magic missile per round 4=asks a riddle rewards correct reply with treasure but curses if wrong
42 Magical fountain d4 1=healing 2d4 once a day per person 2=poison 3=mutagen 4=as one type of potion once per person per day
43 Statue comes to life
44 Artwork depicting a monster or person that steps out from 2d surface
45 Animated weapons or armour on display 
46 Puzzle must be solved on wall art to d4 1=disarm trap 2=open door 3=open secret door 4=avoid releasing monster
47 Mirror releases monsters d4 1=doppelgangers 2=shadows 3=evil clones 4=elemental creature
48 Cursed magic item d4 1=weapon 2=jewelery 3=potion 4=clothing
49 Petrified victim could be restored d4 1=theif 2=cultist 3=monster 4=berserker
50 Animated furniture
51 Guard station with alert monsters
52 Barracks or mess hall with relaxing monsters
53 Laboratory with a wizard and minions
54 Torture chamber with cells for prisoners and  busy torturers
55 Temple with cultists
56 Empty but d4 1=secret door 2=hidden treasure 3=possibly useful junk 4=swarm hiding in junk
57 Toilet with 1in4 chance of a monster with d4 1=diareah 2=parasites 3=cleaning 4=writing obscenities on wall
58 Library with musty old books and d4 1=giant bugs 2=undead 3=spirit 4=cultists
59 Boss throne with bodyguards and a pet
60 Store room or larder with substandard common supplies
61 Pet monster room with piles of straw and bones
62 Full of spider webs and giant spider in the ceiling hole 
63 Monsters live in ceiling d4 1=stirges 2=piercers 3=cloaker 4=cave trapper
64 Pool with treasure in it home also of d6 1=giant lobster 2=crocodile 3=giant fish 4=tentacled horror 5=giant toad 6=swarm
65 Fungus room with d4 1=giant centipedes 2=giant crickets 3=dangerous fungus or slime 4=goblins
66 Pit with imprisoned horror d4 1=shoggoth 2=undead 3=lycanthrope in human form 4=troll
67 Pile of bones and d4 1=ogre 2=troll 2=hellhound 4=mutant or hybrid beast
68 Invisible monster asleep and piles of corpses with possible loot
69 Room decorated in style of an element with elemental creature
70 Pile of treasure and draconic creature, has own concealed and difficult-to-use exit
71 Tomb with treasure and undead in stone sarcophagi 
72 Furious undead in chains or cage 1in4 a trap trigger releases them
73 Dusty old room with craft tools and benches and a poltergeist
74 Room has old furnishings and a spirit that knows where a treasure is hidden d4 1=wants help to lay their body to rest 2=wants help to get revenge 3=wants love and assumes human form 4=wants a new body so it can finish its purpose
75 Stacked coffins some with sleeping hungry undead
76 Undead disguised as living adventurers try to get close to attack
77 Painting on wall is a portal into a scene and occupants are spirits locked in a time loop who don't know they are dead but also have treasure 
78 Shadows hiding among pillars and columns and remains of old bones and robes on floor
79 Ghouls eating dead adventurers
80 Sheet phantoms in dusty old room covering furnishings, a secret panel has a treasure
81 Workshop for making golems and an incomplete horror asleep. A dead wizard and some books and magic ingredients are here too
82 Morgue with slabs and corpses d4 1=used to make hybrid frankenstien monstrosities by a cult 2=room used to make undead 3=butchers tools and used to feed monsters 4=dining room for pack of ghouls
83 Portal room to another dimension of monsters and wonders 
84 Magic symbol on the floor imprisons a d4 1=demon 2=devil 3=elemental 4=undead
85 Room of petrified people and monsters and a machine to revive them
86 Altar and an idol that allows you to communicate with a dungeon spirit for a sacrifice or gift of treasure
87 Sewerage cistern with tentacled diseased monsters inside may trade treasure for interesting faeces or corpses to eat
88 Brains in crystal vats and a machine to communicate with them
89 Small arena where monsters watch battles between d4 1=prisoners 2=bersekers 3=monster pets 4=dangerous animals
90 Huge sleeping creature slumbering for centuries too big to leave the room
91 Pit of fire with dancing salamander and smiths tools once used to make superior weapons
92 Living room with flesh walls and pulsing organs and some dangerous slimes who keep it clean. Monsters are growing in fleshy bags hanging from the ceiling and some might awaken if bothered
93 Luxurious chamber with food items, soft pillows, silk curtains and artworks is home of a d4 1=sorcerey cult 2=demon in disguise 3=eil elves 4=undead in disguise
94 Witch cult ritual chamber where a cult is performing an evil rite with a human sacrifice, if the victim dies a demon is called
95 A magical crystal cage that lowers or rises from the ceiling with a control. The machines also will cause prisoners in the cage to become mutants
96 Machine in here makes monsters and the machine will speed production if intruders enter
97 Art gallery of cursed objects 
98 Time trap where time inside flows faster and years can go by. There is esoteric writing and graffiti on the walls
99 School room where priests or wizards are trained and a devil instructor will teach you evil magic for treasure, souls or sacrifices
100 Petty god is trapped here in apparatus to tap its power and might be grateful if released


  1. Thank you!

    I wrote something similar some time ago, seeing dungeons as intelligent magical items or creatures.

    1. good stuff
      i think ive had in some form since 2012 really or maybe even like living lands of ravenloft


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