Friday, April 20, 2012

101 Times a Dungeon Isn't A Dungeon, part 1.

Basically, here's a list of adventures that aren't quite the normal dungeon scenario but still involve the odd combat (or several) but a whole lot of other things. The best part? Most of these you can nut out in a couple sessions and then move on to the next real encounter providing lots of variety and interest.

So when is a dungeon not quite a dungeon? When it's a:

1. Ghost Ship (more haunts and investingation than fights).
2. Serial Killer's apartment (he'll be back soon).
3. Witch's cabin (just wait til the witch comes home).
4. Alchemist's lab (beware freeing the exhibits).
5. Degenerate, in-bred village (don't let them spot you).
6. Haunted house (more haunts and investingation than fights).
7. Prison (surviving being a prisoner).
8. Sanitorium (disease - something stalks there, pretending to be human, find it).
9. Asylum (mental health - still in active use and inmates aren't the ones to fear).
10. Cave (mostly natural hazards).
11. Castle (inhabited by actual nobility, servants, etc.)
12. Fort (inhabited by an opposing army).
13. Marketplace (caster hides in crowds and casts odd spells to weaken and take out PCs).
14. Deserted village (PCs do something that unleashes what killed them last time).
15. Deserted village (until nightfall, stay safe until dawn).
16. Tiny island (cleanse it of aberrations).
17. Lake (cleanse it of evil aquatic creatures).
18. Tiny island (eradicate the fungus that infects people and makes fungal zombies).
19. Graveyard (consecrated ground, keeps people safe, protect it from humanoid agents of evil).
20. Graveyard (find the grave robber and bring him to justice).
21. City Streets (fight and dodge the town guard during a hunt).
22. City Streets (get from point A to B during a gale that's dredged up dangers from the sewers).
23. City Streets (get from point A to B at night in a shadow beast place like Westcrown).
24. Warehouse (something got shipped in that's spawning monsters, find it, break it).
25. Field of grass (magical creature is stalking you).
26. Trial (captured PCs must survive three trials to be declared innocent of wrongdoing).
27. Ship (pirates attack).
28. Ship (capture the enemy messenger ship fleeing to a safe port).
29. Ship (bring down as many merchant vessels heading en masse as you can).
30. Ship (weather the storm).
31. Ship (survive the onslaught of marine monsters).
32. Ship (navigate the rocks).
33. Ship (get passed the siege weapons to sail up the mouth of a river).
34. Ship (break the embargo).
35. City Streets (Follow an enemy NPC and ambush them out of sight of the others).
36. City Streets (Figure out what an NPC is, get their bane, and attack them in their home).
37. City Mansion (Break in and assassinate a nobleman, evading or knocking out guards).
38. Temple (Help them test their temple's defences and deal with good summons, etc.).
39. Wizard Academy (Closeness to another plane has left all sorts of strange hazards).
40. Forrest (Bushfire, natural hazards).
41. Forrest / Plains (Flash flood, natural hazards).
42. Battlefield (two armies clash together, do they stand or fall?)
43. Siege (spot and take out stealthily fleeing messengers).
44. Siege (repel the invaders coming up the walls).
45. Siege (stealthily escape and return with food / reinforcements / magical items).
46. Dream (face one's own nightmare reality).
47. Anywhere (someone's been murdered! Who did it? Apprehend him at the end).
48. Town (something dreadful will be summoned soon. Who's doing it? How to stop them?).
49. City Streets (quell or start a riot).
50. Ruin (A small Indianna-style temple because the real threat is what the relic draws to it).

In part 2 I'll do the next 51. Stay tuned!


  1. Nice list! Something else I like here is that lots of these offer a good way to mix up content more naturally than a lot of classic dungeons. The marketplace can be a cat-and-mouse encounter (or series of them) mixed when they think they're safely shopping. Shipboard voyages can cover a whole range of stuff, with action sequences to break it up. The asylum has a veneer of civility for RPing until you learn too much.

  2. I'm glad you liked it. I'm still working on the second half, so hopefully it'll be just as good and useful.

  3. Oh, sorry to necro... the wizards' academy reminded me of one thing I was planning to run: the aftermath of an attack on a higher-level party's headquarters! It was partly to reinforce the idea that there are actually other adventurer-types around the place, and partly an excuse for weirdness. A tough group's fortress or palace has been attacked by high-level enemies, perhaps extraplanar. The group is wiped out, the place ransacked, and all kinds of hazards remain in lingering magic, traps, structural damage, mixing-up of powerful effects, and all the kinds of weird stuff high-level characters get malfunctioning from the damage. The party are sent to find out what all the commotion was at the fortress, investigate the situation and see what went on. The actual attackers are long gone, but all kinds of summons or war-beasts might be hanging around, or just the general hazards of the place.

    Also it shows the Prime Material getting a taste of its own medicine - adventurers are always bursting in on people and looting artefacts from powerful groups.

  4. Necro as much as you like. I love comments!