The trap we are talking about can be rather deadly so use at your own risk.
It might not be a big surprise that one of my favorite traps comes out of my favorite Dungeons and Dragons adventure The hidden shrine of Tamoachan.
The will-o’wisp sandbox: In this trap you see a light flickering around the corner, once you come closer the light moves away always staying just out of sight and behind the next corner.
If the party follows it long enough suddenly they step on a pressure plate, in front of them and behind them a stone wall falls down. They hear a grinding sound coming from above them. Roll for initiative.
Lifting the walls self should be a though challenge. A DC of 20-25 depending on the level. After 3 rounds sand starts to poor into the room. Making the terrein difficult to move in. After a few rounds strength checks are needed to move in the room.
To make matters worse after 1 round the light that the party was following. A will-o’wisp moves back in the room and starts to attack to party. Preferably the ones doing the lifting.
The longer they take to find a solution the more dire their situation becomes. The best solution is probably lifting the gate or teleportation. Let the players be creative but it should be a tense and dangerous situation.
I find this trap very thrilling, but it can be deadly make sure you now what to do when the players die in here. Roll now characters, get dig up a few hundred years later, that kind of things.
A good story can almost always make a location interesting. But some locations are more fun to start with.
Favorite Dungeon Type/Location
Filled with magic and wonder, not one is the same, it is a classic location that needs to be in every campaign. The mystical wizard tower.
Once in sight the hero’s know something is up. Why is this random 8 story high tower standing in the middle of the desert? What is inside? Is it still inhabited, and more important will there be treasure?
This location is the perfect place to dive into the strange and weird stuff of the world. Maybe there are no stairs in the tower. Maybe once inside you see there are no floors above you and you can only use the ladder to go downstairs. After descending a whole session the PC’s reach to main floor again.
The things living inside can be so random as you like. Things created by the wizard like Golems or enslaved pixies, maybe behind a door is a vault filled with golden dolphins. Nothing makes sense and it shouldn’t.
It is the perfect opportunity to use the monsters you want to use but never get the change to and to test the players as well with some nice puzzles or riddles.
And that’s why the wizard tower is my favorite dungeon.
Wizard Tower by jcbarquet
Why The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan is awesome
In my few years as a DM I’ve run some of the official adventures of wizards of the coast and of the DM’s guild. But so far Tales from the Yawning Portal had one of my favorite Dungeons.
Favorite Adventure I ran
The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan is not without reason one of the most famous Dungeons and Dragon Dungeons. From start to end it has a very distinct feeling of dread.
The party finds themselves inside a gas-filled tomb, this immediately creates a feeling of ‘we need to get out of here and fast’. So unlike many other dungeons the players do not want to take a rest in here.
Furthermore there are a lot of interesting encounters like a talking lobster and a giant snail god. Every room is filled with surprise, wonder, puzzles and a scary feeling of what’s behind the next door?
It is also set up in a way that you can take multiple routes and do not have to do every chamber. I bet that if I would run it for a second group it would be a totally different experience.
It’s a hard dungeon not only for the PC’s but also the players as well, not everything can be solved by just throwing an intelligence check.
All these reasons add to the fact that The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan is one of my favorite adventures.
The one time my party almost died to squirrels.
Its April the 1st and it was about time our campaign took a break from the serious story we where running. Apart from changing critical fails to critical successes (and vice versa) on all throws I also had to bring something crazy to the table.
The party was on the way back to the capital after retrieving a macguffin. As they where sleeping the party’s ranger on guard duty heard something in the distance. Looking at his wooden cup of water he could see the water rippling every few seconds.
Suddenly behind him he heard a tree break and above the treeline a Godzilla sized squirrel appeared.
The party rushed to attack it. It was a hard fight and when they thought they defeated it, the squirrel exploded into multiple tiny squirrel swarms. The PC’s were almost killed and eaten by squirrels.
In the end tho they all woke up, wiping the sweat of their head they realized it was just a bad dream. Or was it?
Squirrel stat block:
Five the barbarian ranger.
I think most DM’s have characters prepared they maybe one day want to play. I certainly do. For more than a year I have a character sitting on the shelf waiting to be played. Five.
Favorite PC you’d like to play
Five is an orc who’s parents deemed unfitting and to weak to be part of there family. Instead of giving him a name the just called him five because he was their fifth child. The shunned him from the tribe keeping him in their tent to do small and unimportant tasks like washing their clothes.
When he got to old and big and they had to provide food for their failure of a son they abandoned Five in the woods and said to never come back.
Now 20 years of being mainly by himself and surviving in the wilds he has found a civilized land where he can life. He is now looking to prove his worth to the world and maybe find some a parent figure or mentor to hone his skill as a ranger/barbarian.
I have watched a lot of 2e edition, played 5e for about 2 years now and have some 4e experience. I liked all of them but 5e is the one I love and adore.
My Favorite Edition
As I said 5e is my favorite edition. I learned the game from watching 2e and to be honest I ever completely grasp those rules so I was a bit intimidated to start playing.
Those streams I watched also started playing 5e and after multiple sources saying how easy it was I had no choose but to also jump upon the bandwagon.
Dungeons and Dragons 5e was my first ever RPG so it will forever have a special place in my hearth and memories. My best and my worst stories come from that game and every week with every game we play new stories make me love it even more.
As a DM it’s also just very easy to homebrew. Don’t like the rules for long rest, exp or combat encounters? Just change them!
There is something to learn from every edition and RPG game and 5th edition makes its super easy to add or change the rules. That’s why 5e is my favorite edition!
Cerberus, the god of awesome.
I have not used many gods of the forgotten realms in my games, that’s why my favorite deity is one of my own.
In my setting there is a god for death and the unknown. A three-headed dog named Cerberus guards the gates of heaven and hell. And his spectral death dogs bring the souls of the deceased to him. Once brought before him his three heads go into discussion and lay down justice.
I just like to put pieces of our own mythology and put them in my games, be it with a changed lore. In my game he appeared once and it was a very memorable moment.
Art by Caroline Gariba