Evil ideas for a dungeon crawl

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I am doing a 2-week dungeon crawl for 3-4 players with characters at either level 8 or 9. I really want to be evil to them and make them work for it, so I'm looking for ideas to torture my players. Any and all ideas are welcome.
Not really good behavior for a DM.
Make a CD of chipmunk's christmas songs and Celine Dijon to play in the background? Maybe add some Abba, Barbara Streisand and Yoko Ono?
Run Tomb of Horrors 1st Edition?
Make a CD of chipmunk's christmas songs and Celine Dijon to play in the background? Maybe add some Abba, Barbara Streisand and Yoko Ono?
Run Tomb of Horrors 1st Edition?



I can't lie, I giggled
hey now, let's not go tossing ABBA in with the rest of that dreck
Long marble hallway smoothed all the way down, add some graffitti of cryptic wrighting and such warning to stay away but also clearly visable treasure. A longer path winds around with many more traps of your choosing. A Pressure plate as they enter the hallway seals them in meaning the only way out is through the hallway. Some ways into the hall there is a crack (perception check DC... your choice but I would base it on how fast they want to move through the hall) this crack is where the floor ends instead it is now a perfectly balanced slab that stepping on will cause to fall into a pit with a hazard. I like lava personally...


If they end up sealed the way to escape is to have a stronger charicter toss the lighter ones to the other side of  the balanced marble and hold down his/her end in order to keep them from falling on the other side. They can then go to the end of the room and press the switch that unseals the hall. The strong charicter now has to traverse the tomb or what have you alone and the weaker members can either go and do it backwards in order to reach him and make it easier or just start the looting. Bonus points if the treasure is enchanted and they have to make a will save to resist the urge to not help him.



Really... you just cant go wrong with party split if you want to really challange and test your players.
I liked Abba fine until my wife took me to watch that chick-flick "Mama Mia"... After that... Yeesh... Bad memories...
I thought about Tomb of Horrors but I'm only doing about 2 2.5 hour sessions, and it looks like Tomb of Horrors is a bit longer than that.

I was actually thinking of doing a bit where the rooms all look the same but there's something different in each one. Also, I'm planning to put them on the clock so from start of the crawl to the end they have exactly 4 hours or so. One round of combat = 7 seconds, travel between rooms = 5 or 10 minutes, all other interaction is real time. 
I thought about Tomb of Horrors but I'm only doing about 2 2.5 hour sessions, and it looks like Tomb of Horrors is a bit longer than that.

I was actually thinking of doing a bit where the rooms all look the same but there's something different in each one.  



That sounds really boring, sorry.

also, grouping Yoko Ono in with the silly pop music is weird.

I thought about Tomb of Horrors but I'm only doing about 2 2.5 hour sessions, and it looks like Tomb of Horrors is a bit longer than that.

I was actually thinking of doing a bit where the rooms all look the same but there's something different in each one. Also, I'm planning to put them on the clock so from start of the crawl to the end they have exactly 4 hours or so. One round of combat = 7 seconds, travel between rooms = 5 or 10 minutes, all other interaction is real time. 



It sounds like you want a fourthcore adventure.

Disclaimer: Please discuss with your players before springing a fourthcore adventure on them.
Disclaimer: Please discuss with your players before springing a fourthcore adventure on them.

Or anything else.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Long marble hallway smoothed all the way down, add some graffitti of cryptic wrighting and such warning to stay away but also clearly visable treasure. A longer path winds around with many more traps of your choosing. A Pressure plate as they enter the hallway seals them in meaning the only way out is through the hallway. Some ways into the hall there is a crack (perception check DC... your choice but I would base it on how fast they want to move through the hall) this crack is where the floor ends instead it is now a perfectly balanced slab that stepping on will cause to fall into a pit with a hazard. I like lava personally...


If they end up sealed the way to escape is to have a stronger charicter toss the lighter ones to the other side of  the balanced marble and hold down his/her end in order to keep them from falling on the other side. They can then go to the end of the room and press the switch that unseals the hall. The strong charicter now has to traverse the tomb or what have you alone and the weaker members can either go and do it backwards in order to reach him and make it easier or just start the looting. Bonus points if the treasure is enchanted and they have to make a will save to resist the urge to not help him.



Really... you just cant go wrong with party split if you want to really challange and test your players.



I really like this idea, though I think it's a little hard to do a party split with 3 PCs.
Norhing dangerous happens not even a single 100 years old blind kobold with arthritis or a uneven stair step.They go in, get the treasures and walk out.
Than you watch how they torture themself with paranoia.
Norhing dangerous happens not even a single 100 years old blind kobold with arthritis or a uneven stair step.They go in, get the treasures and walk out.
Than you watch how they torture themself with paranoia.



...I might actually do this. Have a benign room just to see what they do to themselves. Interesting....
The main point is to make sure your players actually want to be challenged like that.  If they do, see if you can get your mitts on a Lair Assault and murder them.  If not, don't make your players hate you.
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The main point is to make sure your players actually want to be challenged like that.  If they do, see if you can get your mitts on a Lair Assault and murder them.  If not, don't make your players hate you.

Don't worry, I have already cleared this with my players.
Hmm locked room with a spiked celing. Nothing prevents them from leaving the way they came other than the threat that the rest of the tomb will be sealed off forever. The door is unbreakable and has an absurdly high dc for picking the lock. There is a switch in the middle of the room that when pressed causes the celing to rise back up and start to decend again.

The way past involves... Nothing just dont flip the switch and let the celing decend. Once it reaches the point where they would normally have to crouch to move the celing moves up on its own and the door unlocks. Let them spend large amounts of time wondering what they are supposed to do before giving up and finally being able to move on. Bonus points if there are obvious (in hindsight) clues that say that they need to give up and move on.





A mind trip style sequence where an enemy accedentally breaches a pocket of hallucenagenic gas (maybe they are following the sounds of a pickaxe hitting stone). Navigate a laberynthesque area and lower there perception to the point where they can barely follow eachother so they could get lost. Throw in some apperitions to scare them as they wont know whats real and whats not. Bonus points if you can convence them that a mage brought some of their supplies to life and they end up destroying their rope or sunrods or even rations. Making the rest of the area harder due to a lack of supplies.







Have a large room with some medium sized buildings scattered about. Make it seem like a halfway point type rest area where they can safely sleep. Toss a little bit of light loot their way to reinforce this idea that its a safer area. The last building they investigate has a small battalion of enemies. They all charge the one who opened the door. Except one, make the players aware that a smaller one crawled out of a window or something and has started running further into the cave system. Hopefully this will make it fairly clear that he is going to get a lot of help to deal with the intruders. This will cause one player to chase after him rolling atheletics endurence and acrobatics (for things such as sliding under low celings or making exact jumps assassins creed style) If they catch him have it be a slightly stronger than average enemy that if given the chance will escape and keep running. If they fail or just dont send anyone down that way then make the rest of the enemies aware that they are coming and make the encounters tougher accordingly.
Long marble hallway smoothed all the way down, add some graffitti of cryptic wrighting and such warning to stay away but also clearly visable treasure. A longer path winds around with many more traps of your choosing. A Pressure plate as they enter the hallway seals them in meaning the only way out is through the hallway. Some ways into the hall there is a crack (perception check DC... your choice but I would base it on how fast they want to move through the hall) this crack is where the floor ends instead it is now a perfectly balanced slab that stepping on will cause to fall into a pit with a hazard. I like lava personally...

If they end up sealed the way to escape is to have a stronger charicter toss the lighter ones to the other side of  the balanced marble and hold down his/her end in order to keep them from falling on the other side. They can then go to the end of the room and press the switch that unseals the hall. The strong charicter now has to traverse the tomb or what have you alone and the weaker members can either go and do it backwards in order to reach him and make it easier or just start the looting. Bonus points if the treasure is enchanted and they have to make a will save to resist the urge to not help him.



Hmm locked room with a spiked celing. Nothing prevents them from leaving the way they came other than the threat that the rest of the tomb will be sealed off forever. The door is unbreakable and has an absurdly high dc for picking the lock. There is a switch in the middle of the room that when pressed causes the celing to rise back up and start to decend again.

The way past involves... Nothing just dont flip the switch and let the celing decend. Once it reaches the point where they would normally have to crouch to move the celing moves up on its own and the door unlocks. Let them spend large amounts of time wondering what they are supposed to do before giving up and finally being able to move on. Bonus points if there are obvious (in hindsight) clues that say that they need to give up and move on.



I wouldn't recommend doing anything like this.  These kinds of "trick" encounters quickly turn into a game of "guess what the DM is thinking," which isn't a fun way to challenge your players.
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Long marble hallway smoothed all the way down, add some graffitti of cryptic wrighting and such warning to stay away but also clearly visable treasure. A longer path winds around with many more traps of your choosing. A Pressure plate as they enter the hallway seals them in meaning the only way out is through the hallway. Some ways into the hall there is a crack (perception check DC... your choice but I would base it on how fast they want to move through the hall) this crack is where the floor ends instead it is now a perfectly balanced slab that stepping on will cause to fall into a pit with a hazard. I like lava personally...

If they end up sealed the way to escape is to have a stronger charicter toss the lighter ones to the other side of  the balanced marble and hold down his/her end in order to keep them from falling on the other side. They can then go to the end of the room and press the switch that unseals the hall. The strong charicter now has to traverse the tomb or what have you alone and the weaker members can either go and do it backwards in order to reach him and make it easier or just start the looting. Bonus points if the treasure is enchanted and they have to make a will save to resist the urge to not help him.



Hmm locked room with a spiked celing. Nothing prevents them from leaving the way they came other than the threat that the rest of the tomb will be sealed off forever. The door is unbreakable and has an absurdly high dc for picking the lock. There is a switch in the middle of the room that when pressed causes the celing to rise back up and start to decend again.

The way past involves... Nothing just dont flip the switch and let the celing decend. Once it reaches the point where they would normally have to crouch to move the celing moves up on its own and the door unlocks. Let them spend large amounts of time wondering what they are supposed to do before giving up and finally being able to move on. Bonus points if there are obvious (in hindsight) clues that say that they need to give up and move on.



I wouldn't recommend doing anything like this.  These kinds of "trick" encounters quickly turn into a game of "guess what the DM is thinking," which isn't a fun way to challenge your players.



*Shrug* He asked for evil, not fair.

When (At least my) players ask for/agree to an evil lair crawl its usually to have a final send off to some PC's that they want to put to a test instead of just tossing aside. With a basic use of skill checks you can give them enough information that simple logic comes into play.

Lets take the spiked celing one for example as it seems like the least obvious one for what you would have to do.



Urist McRouge attemps pick lock, Urist McRouge fails. Urist McGobbochopper flips switch. Celing rises. Perception check. DC 12 McRouge hits 11 Gobbochopper hits 3. Urist McRouge can faintly hear something is off about the clicking as it goes back up but cant place it. Urist McGobbochopper is apparently deaf. Urist McRouge listens to the sounds of the gears clicking. DC 6 due to knowing what he is supposed to be listening to. Hits 8. Urist McRouge can tell that the gears are slowing down as the celing decends. Urist McPlayercontrolingrouge hypothisises that the celing will stop on its own and has Urist McRouge usher the fighter out of the room. The celing stops on its own. Celing proceeds to rise. Door opens. Urist McRouge solved the puzzle and Urist McPlayercontrolingrouge feels smart for applying simple logic.


Alternitively Urist McMage uses Knock. Door opens. Urist McMage causes forum wars over caster OPness <---- Said as a joke hopefully obviously
I would second the notion of Fourthcore. Just have eveyone bring a backup character or two. My personal best was dying three times in one adventure. Good times!

We are currently doing a campaign of all the dungeons linked together. Sheer awesome madness. Not for everyone!
I think rather than make a bunch of backup characters I'm having them come back as the same character but one level less.
I think rather than make a bunch of backup characters I'm having them come back as the same character but one level less.



I would not play that game. There is so much less enjoyment in that I cannot adequately express how much I would not enjoy that.

Less enjoyment.

Seriously: 'no, you're the same character, you just suck more. Also now you can't hit anything. '
OK. Would you let them revive their just-killed character or force them to use a new one? One of my players asked if they could revive their just-killed character.
OK. Would you let them revive their just-killed character or force them to use a new one? One of my players asked if they could revive their just-killed character.



It depends on what I'm going for. If it was a long term thing, I might have them revive a character and charge everyone a healing surge or two (assuming an extended rest is not likely). Otherwise I might have a few pregen characters that are unique and unusual. Maybe represented by statues or something.

Perhaps offer them the chance to revive if everyone pays 2 healing surges. Or break a spell on a statue to pick up a random character and only spend 3-4 surges across the group.

In a challenging dungeon crawl, healing surges are the lifeblood of the group. Moreso than anything else, except maybe daily powers.
It's only a 2 session dungeon crawl. How about striking a balance where they can make 3 pregens and after the third one dies, it would cost the remaining players 1 healing surge each to revive one of the previously fallen? Also, any equipment held by a character that dies is gone forever.
It's only a 2 session dungeon crawl. How about striking a balance where they can make 3 pregens and after the third one dies, it would cost the remaining players 1 healing surge each to revive one of the previously fallen? Also, any equipment held by a character that dies is gone forever.

I think thats a good balance. Maybe limit then that no race or class may be repeated?
Sounds good. Thanks for the help, everyone! It's my first time trying something like this and I'm very grateful for the advice.
I am doing a 2-week dungeon crawl for 3-4 players with characters at either level 8 or 9. I really want to be evil to them and make them work for it, so I'm looking for ideas to torture my players. Any and all ideas are welcome.


Netbook of traps should have some evil in it: http://strolen.com/netbooks/index.php

Wasn't there a whole series of  "Traps" books? Chain them one after another after another. The only monster that the party eventually fights is an orc sitting on a treasure chest in the middle of a 10x10 room. He dies after the first 5 hits (not hp, hits, no matter how much damage is done). Then they have to make their way out again. But they can't come back the way they came in. No, you string together more traps...
Norhing dangerous happens not even a single 100 years old blind kobold with arthritis or a uneven stair step.They go in, get the treasures and walk out.
Than you watch how they torture themself with paranoia.



...I might actually do this. Have a benign room just to see what they do to themselves. Interesting....

I actually pulled that off. I had a number of traps leading to a treasure room with a precarious treasure chest in a giant room. They spent 30 minutes coming up with a plan ot get the treasure from it without dying only to ifnd there was no trap.
Norhing dangerous happens not even a single 100 years old blind kobold with arthritis or a uneven stair step.They go in, get the treasures and walk out.
Than you watch how they torture themself with paranoia.



...I might actually do this. Have a benign room just to see what they do to themselves. Interesting....

I actually pulled that off. I had a number of traps leading to a treasure room with a precarious treasure chest in a giant room. They spent 30 minutes coming up with a plan ot get the treasure from it without dying only to ifnd there was no trap.



Wow, that sounds awesomely sucktastic.
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