Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Dungeon Situational – Unusual Terrain

If you’re getting sick of fighting on flagstones, or the same old grassy fields every day, there are options aplenty in the great wild world and the myriad worlds beyond it to make your combat, or even just a day’s travel that much more interesting. Today’s Dungeon Situational presents terrain options to create more memorable moments in your campaign.

As usual any rules are written with D&D 5th edition in mind, but all are easily modified with your preferred rules, or adjusted to suit parties of varying levels.

Volcanic Crust

Below is unquiet magma, shifting and flowing, from above there is a perpetual deluge from the water filtering through miles and miles of porous rock. In between the open space is filled with steam, making it difficult to see further than 100ft. The surface of the lava lake is cooled by the falling water, leaving a cracked layer of thick, black crust.

A medium creature can stand on the crust for 30 seconds before the piece upon which they stand begins to tilt, at which point they will have to take a Dexterity save DC 13 to be able to move safely or fall into the lava. Moving at walking speed ends this effect. Large or larger creatures must move constantly, or will have to make the same Dexterity save. Moving faster than walking speed will also require a Dexterity saving throw, as well as any amount of combat or strenuous activity such as climbing, falling or carrying a heavy burden.

Failing any of the saving throws or being Huge or larger will cause a creature to be splashed with lava, and take 4d10 fire damage.

Chromatic Carpet

In the depths of the Feywild, nothing is wholly trustworthy, not the flora, or fauna, not the denizens, not your eyes, and not the ground beneath your feet. Chromatic Carpets are tracks of land haunted by huntsmen, as the softly waving grasses create clear and shining marks when anything passes through, a kaleidoscope of animal tracks as clear as an oil painting. Incursions from the Fey occasionally bring patches of Chromatic Carpet into the world, where it spreads wild and unchallenged through the mundane forests and grasslands.

Survival rolls to track a creature who has passed through an area of Chromatic Carpet have advantage. If a creature makes a survival roll to analyse tracks in the area they can also determine the number, direction and speed of creatures who have passed through the area. The spell Pass Without Trace is dispelled, and cannot be re-cast while within the area, nor can you gain any benefits from being invisible. You can prevent a creature tracking you from gaining these effects by teleporting a minimum of 30ft through the area.

Ashes of the Fallen

The ground here is thick with ash, as heavy as snowfall. Between large grey drifts, broken wheels, rusted weapons, splintered and cracked bone, and other remnants of a war long forgotten form jagged islands in the sea of cold death. Most common in the bleak wastes of the Shadowfell, or the wastes of Gehenna on the banks of Hades, only occasionally will a traveller may stumble through a field of ashes in the mortal world.

Whenever a creature within the field of ashes makes an attack roll 1d8 (in the descriptions, the creature making the attack roll is referred to as “the attacker” and the target of the attack is referred to as “the defender”):

1: An ashen warrior interposes a blade between the attacker and the defender. Roll 1d6 and add the result to the defender’s AC before determining if the attack hits or misses.
2: A grey cloud falls from the defender, a ghostly vision of dying moments. If the defender takes damage, roll 1d6 and reduce the amount of damage taken by the result.
3: The attacker witnesses a vengeful face come howling towards them and feels the sting of a cold blade. The attacker takes 1d6 necrotic damage.
4-6:  The attack takes place as normal.
7: A second figure appears beside the defender, taking an opportunistic stab as they try and dodge the attacker’s assault. The defender takes 1d6 necrotic damage.
8: As the attacker readies their strike, the ashes embrace their wrists, not a threat, more like the guiding hands of a mentor. Roll 1d6 and add the result to the attack roll before determining if it hits or misses.

And Some More

Astral Storm: A creature teleporting in this area must succeed on a Charisma DC 15 saving throw or land 1d4 X 5 ft. in a random direction. Roll 1d8 where 1 is north and going clockwise until 8 is north-west.
Beargrass: A creature dashing, falling prone, or making any kind of athletics or acrobatics check to move through a field of Beargrass takes 1d4 piercing damage.
Conflagration: Whenever a spell or effect in the area would deal 1. acid, 2. cold, 3. fire, 4. force, 5. lightning, 6. necrotic, 7. psychic, 8. poison, 9. radiant, or 10. thunder damage, roll 1d10, and the spell or effect deals that kind of damage instead.
Dread Soil: No creature is immune to fear effects on this dry, cracked ground.


With apologies for last week, a headcold robbed me of my usual thinking facilities. With a view to keeping this train going please cast a vote to next week’s Dungeon Situational.

Drop us a line

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s