The Magic Tree


The best of the web – magical, mythical and majestical! Fantasy and Mythic websites and materials/downloads. Roleplaying, Tabletop and Esoteric Games.


A little ingenuity in dungeon floor design
By Reid Butler- NOVEMBER 1986
Before any Dungeon Master mentions a phrase akin to the title, he must be prepared for the consequences. Statements such as these send players into a blind panic, when all you wanted was to add a little interest to your game. If you mention that there’s something unusual about the floor, the players will understandably want an explanation that is concise and descriptive. If you aren’t ready with it, the chorus of arguing voices soon deprives you of game control. In extreme circumstances, players may get carried away and assail the weaker characters or NPCs (magic-users and thieves, in particular), binding and gagging them in order to test the effectiveness of any possible traps concealed in the floor. Events such as these can ruin your game for the sake of a well-conceived diversion or trap, and it is to avoid such perpetual chaos that this article was written.
As the DM, you can’t really blame the players for their irrational behavior (unless their characters start sacrificing their lackeys and shield bearers, of course). In any scenario, people get nervous if they can’t trust the floor standing on. had similar experiences as a DM, and the pandemonium resulting from an ill prepared idea bordered on insanity. It was those attempts at spicing up my games that inspired me to create a list of alterations and modifications that can add spice to your dungeons and citadels, increasing the excitement involved in casual explorations of otherwise bland or empty rooms, while at the same time instilling fear into your players with a few quicksand floors or other specialized traps.
Unusual floors make for interesting traps as well, giving players an alternative to the ever-present grey ooze, trappers, green slime, and yellow mold. Characters who show no respect for your dungeons will have their humility meters adjusted and may start prodding the floor with spears or rolling small expendable objects down the corridor. This should not always betray an unusual floor, but if one or two traps are so triggered, your players will sit up and take notice. Many of the special floors in this article are just mind-teasers, designed to make players more interested in the game.
A word to the wise: Too many rolls from this special chart and your dungeons will become too difficult to traverse, even in going from one room to the next. In addition, your players will become very paranoid and may eventually become bored with the surprises in every other room. One surprise carpet trap for every 25 rooms is ample, as you could throw in other traps that aren’t triggered when players set foot in the doorway.
As the DM, it is your task to apply your good judgment in placing any room that could cut characters off from another level. Some floors are not meant for kitchens or barracks. Avoid putting teleporter floors in lavatories unless certain your players are in good spirits, but this could be a suitable humiliation if your players are in the habit of picking up copies of DRAGON® Magazine and memorizing player aids before you do. You can’t make them forget any DMG tables, but you can make them regret their sins.
Assume that only one in 20 rooms (roll of 20 on a d20) has an unusual floor. Use the following tables in that event. Some die rolls require secondary rolls for details. There is also a secondary table with new ideas for modifying the average pit trap.


Post a Comment