Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Got my d30; Also a Random d30 Dungeon Oddity Table

A while back I ordered a first edition MERP boxed set, as I always wanted to play/run it, but never had the opportunity back in the day. After thumbing through the rules again for the first time in many years, I noticed that the game itself calls for a set of twenty-sided d10's. Most of you old schoolers out there are likely familiar with these dice, but I have not seen one anywhere in a number of years. The boxed set I bought second-hand came with 2 standard d20s. I presume the previous owner did not understand the games' use of the proper twenty-sided d10's and just threw in some old d20's he had laying around. An easy mistake to make. And yes, I know that MERP could easily be played by substituting other dice in lieu of the twenty-sided d10's, but call me anal. I wanted the dice the game was supposed to use.

In searching for some twenty-sided d10's I stumbled upon a site familiar to most I'm sure; They had the twenty-sided d10's available for a very low price (something like 25 cents, or maybe 50 cents each). Well, I thought this would be just as good a time as any to throw in some d30's into the order as well, since they had them available for only $1.50 each. I couldn't tell whether I was more excited to finally get myself a d30 or to get the twenty-siders I wanted!

My dice finally arrived in the mail yesterday, and I thought it would only be appropriate to make up a d30 table to celebrate the occasion.

Some folks say that the measure of "evilness" of a DM is how many save vs deaths his player has to make in a campaign, but I disagree. To me, there is nothing more thrilling than throwing out red herrings into a campaign and watching the PC's go crazy over nothing. That's where my table comes in. These are 29 random oddities that may appear in a dungeon, but have little to no impact on the PC's. Of course, you could easily use some of these to spark an adventure hook and make them actually mean something in the dungeon crawl, but if not, just roll occasionally on the table, and watch the players go nuts.

Another thought I had in making the table is the fact that often we know as DM's that dungeons are looted, restocked, looted again, and the process repeats itself, not only by the party in the campaign, but likely by many other adventurers over the years. In many entries in the table, you'll find the results of previous adventuring experiences by other adventuring parties along the way. Some examples include the soot covered hallway, which is the result of a fireball spell from a mage, or the hand hanging out of the wall as a result of a bad teleport attempt. I think these sort of oddities bring a dungeon crawl to life. So, enough rambling by me. Check out the table and enjoy.

d30 Random Dungeon Oddities Table

01. A sudden gust of wind whisks through the hall/room with a noticeablely foul odor
02. A ghostly image of a beautiful maiden passes through the walls and disappears
03. A loud, mad cackling echoes through the hall/room.
04. All torches the party are carrying flicker in and out like a strobe light for 10 seconds
05. Faint whispers echo through the hall/room
06. Shadows of 4 large humanoids appear on the walls approaching the party, but there is nothing there
07. Screams of a young woman can be heard echoing through the dungeon
08. A blue glowing orb appears in front of the party illuminating the hall/room then disappears
09. Small obsidian statue of creature with tentacled head and wings perched on a globe lies on the floor
10. The skeletal remains of an adventurer clinging to a necklace and a note which reads "For Aveyah"
11. Cultish symbol drawn in blood on the wall
12. Ritual dagger on the ground with fresh blood which never seems to dry. Even after the blood is wiped off it will reappear in minutes still wet
13. Uncovered pit trap with the remains of two adventurers imapled on its spikes
14. A group of giant rats scurries in front of the party with one carrying a gold bracelet around its neck
15. A strange fungus growing on the wall. When a PC walks near it one of its spores explodes creating a yellow gas cloud 3x3 feet. Save vs Poison or laugh hysterically for 1d6 rounds
16. A broken torture rack covered in cobwebs with the remains of a humanoid attached
17. A loose flagstone in the floor of which underneath is a small hole containing a music box
18. A messaged carved into the wall which says "Beware he who cannot be seen"
19. The remains of several giant rats scattered about all with their heads removed
20. A decayed human arm sticking out of a wall, the result of a botched teleport spell
21. A goblet with a clear liquid within resting on a table. If the liquid is consumed it makes the PC queasy, but nothing more
22. The skeletal remains of an adventurer impaled against the wall by a spear
23. The sound of a group chanting in an ancient indiscernible language echoes through the halls
24. A basilisk that has been turned to stone, probably from a reflection of his own gaze
25. Soot covers the walls, ceiling, and floor, along with the ashen remains of some humanoids
26. An open wooden chest with a leather-bound tome. If the tome is taken it will vanish and reappear in the chest
27. A broken, blood-stained altar now covered with the holy symbol of a good aligned god
28. A green slime consuming several giant rats. The slime can be easily maneuvered around by the PC's
29. One of the PC's hears a click sound as he steps on a loose flagstone, but nothing happens
30. Reroll twice and combine results


  1. I rolled a 17 and found the music box. Identifying the song and determining why it's so hauntingly familiar will drive my character mad.

  2. One of my personal favorites is 29. I can imagine a DM looking over to a player and telling him he has stepped on a loose stone in a dungeon and heard it "click" and watching him sweat for a few minutes.

    The music box one is a great example of the red herring. Players sitting around trying to figure out "what does this mean?!" Haha it means's just a damn music box.