Random Encounter Table for the Underworld

Inspired by Ancient Egyptian mythology of the Underworld, today’s inspiration is a random encounter table:

Roll Encounter
1 A group of hostile undead mindlessly attacks the PCs.
2 A dirty river filled with hippos or crocodiles who might be hostile.
3 Shadows unpeel themselves from their hiding spots.
4 A pack of roving Hell hounds attack.
5 A group of souls living in rotten structures. They are determined to stay here instead of moving on to the next phase.
6 A lost pet soul wanders across the PCs path looking for its master.
7 A friendly traveler hails the PCs. She’s here on a mission to recover some rare Underworld plants for her research.
8 A group of fading souls meander aimlessly. They will soon vanish if nothing is done.
9 An angel, its wings chained and broken, pleads the PCs for help.
10 A solitary door covered in ancient runes.
11 A temple with a group of strange creatures performing some kind of sacrifice.
12 A small woods in which the trees seem to fade in and out of existence.
13 A broken machine in scattered pieces, its gnome owner sits nearby trying to fit two back together.
14 A crashed boat, its captain dead at the wheel.
15 A Glabrezu offers the PCs a deal.
16 New souls arriving. Most begin to silently make their way across the Underworld. Some don’t seem to realize they are dead and rush about confused.
17 Giant boils rupture out of the ground. Some of them pop, releasing a noxious slime.
18 Gold, honey, and fruits suddenly appear, reflecting sacrifices made on the material plane.
19 The ground becomes soft and gives way into a cavern.
20 A group of manes eating souls.

Squirrel Hog

Today a combination animal for use with Dungeon World

Squirrel Hogs combine the mass and aggression of hogs, the agility and speed of squirrels, and the intelligence of both to create a terrifying beast housed in an adorable body. Not only is it pleasantly plump, but it sports a bushy, corked tail.

A mad wizard designed the Squirrel Hog to serve as a more agile and intelligent attack dog.  However, the animals turned out too strong-willed. They constantly escaped from their cages, and did not respond to conditioning. So, in a fit of frustration from the waste of hundreds of hours, the good doctor released them into the wild. The Squirrel Hogs proceeded to wreak havoc on the land: tearing up fields, stripping orchards bare, and eating up entire storerooms of food.

Today, villages take extreme measures to prevent the roving Squirrel Hog packs from destroying their livelihood. They build high fences, moats and spiked pits around fields. They cover trees in netting laced with metal. They employ round-the-clock patrols and everyone carries a boar spear with them in case of an attack. Travelers to the forests must be especially wary as mother Squirrel Hogs and their offspring live in tree nests and attack anyone who gets too close. Several mother hogs will often make nests in a close group of trees and come to each others’ aid, dropping onto perceived threats in one giant mass of clawing, tusked, biting bodies.

Instinct: To eat

Tags: Organized, Group, Intelligent

10 HP, 1 armor

D6 +2 (Teeth and claws, close)

Special Moves

  • Leap farther than you thought it could
  • Climb something very fast
  • Clever girls




Wisdom Tree City

Wisdom Tree City has always existed, nestled on an island where two mighty rivers pour into the ocean. Every hundred years or so the Goddess Weeps, as the natives say. The two rivers swell, merge into one, and overrun the city. After they retreat, they leave behind a thick sand burying everything except the peak of the great magical library, The Wisdom Tree. The citizens return and rebuild. The library grows taller. Probably no one would bother settling here if it weren’t for its position of a great port, a natural magic aura, the library, and the mines.

The Wisdom Tree stands in the middle of the city, its roof so high it seems to scrape the sky. Underground, floor upon floor descends so deep that no one knows where it ends. Side passageways split off from the main tower and meander through the city’s sand-filled ruins like the roots of a tree. The library’s ancient magic prevents any mud from leaking through and keeps the air circulating at the perfect temperature.

Mine tunnels built by prospectors also twist through the ruins. Every miner hopes to find valuable artifacts from forgotten times, but few do. Most arrive in the city poorly equipped and many perish digging through the ruins. In the upper mine tunnels, petty thieves, transients, and the desperate take up residence in the relatively safety. More sinister criminals live in the mid-tunnels, planning heists and waiting to prey on lost miners. Only the bravest dare venture to the deepest levels where unknown monsters lurk in the dark, and the most valuable artifacts wait.

But by far the most popular attraction for common folk is the Aquatic Arena, a giant stadium built in the middle of the bay where teams compete in impressive water battles. No expense is spared. Warriors clash on top of exotic sea monsters captured from the Far Seas. Gnomes command huge whirling machinery, slicing through the choppy waves  to tear apart their opponents. Wizards using the latest magical discoveries dart across the arena, easily passing from the sky to under the water, painting the battle with the bursts of spells. Continue reading “Wisdom Tree City”

Ghost Origins

A good ghost has a good background, but it can be hard to think up a background on a spot. Here is a list of backgrounds to help.

The Lost Lover: A young woman who ran off away with a sailor, only to be sacrificed by the crew to appease the sea gods when a storm hit.

The Rising star and Fans: A famous singer and his audience who died in a theater fire.

The Time Traveler: A wizard who wanted revenge on his father, but accidentally went back too far and committed the murder before he had been conceived.

The Accidental Tourists: Sightseers who died when their touring carriage accidentally entered a desert pocket dimension with no way out.

The Informer: A barmaid who got caught buying illegal drugs. She became an undercover informer for the City Guard to avoid punishment, but the drug gang found out and had her executed.

The Tortured: Not even after they shoved needles up her toenails or held her over burning coals would she tell them where she had hidden the Book of the Moon.

The Lost: A party goer who got drunk, entered the catacombs on a dare, and never found her way back out.

The Falconer: A woman who trained and piloted giant falcons, but was eaten by her own Red Eye. Continue reading “Ghost Origins”

Dwarven Ruins

This week, three box-text descriptions of unique dwarven ruins.

Dwarven Racing Ground Ruins

Giant racing wheels rust on the overgrown track. A breeze blows through the arena, stirring the wildflowers and rattling the empty stands. The place would be very quiet if it weren’t for a small building on the far end. Light and voices stream out of its windows.  A gruff shout for music and the sounds of fiddles and singing join the noise. Over the inn, a giant bell engraved with Dwarven lettering sways in the air. Each time the clapper strikes, the wheels in the yard seem to twitch as if disturbed from a deep sleep.

Dwarven Moonshine Operation Ruins

Copper tanks of all shapes and sizes spill across the mountainside. The smell of alcohol still wafts up from their broken hulls. On every one is painted a red circle pierced by an ‘X,’ letting all know that the King’s agents have found and destroyed this tax-dodging operation. 

Dwarven Shipyard Ruins

Black slabs of ships float next to docks. On board, rows of golems stand ever ready to load cargo and sail across the seas to wherever it’s needed. Their salt-pitted casings and the slime covering everything informs that no cargo has come for a long time. 


Another Dungeon World Monster this week. This is my first try at the “statless” monster – one that relies entirely on its special moves instead of its stats. This creature acts like a virus, harmless when outside the body, devastating when within.

Tulippe smiled at Garyver stretched out on the picnic blanket. He smiled back and told her how beautiful she looked with the sun shining off her hair. Tulippe blushed and told him he wasn’t so bad himself. The afternoon whittled away with the sweethearts eating their paper-wrapped food, talking of small things, and exchanging kisses. With the sun still bright in the sky, Garyver asked Tullippe if she had remembered to bring that dandelion wine with her. She answered by running to the stream and pulling out a glistening bottle of blonde liquid. Garyver looked just as the glass winked in the light. A stinging pain struck through his eyes and down to his feet, but then was gone. He finished the rest of the picnic, but it felt weird. The colors slightly off, the sounds slightly the wrong pitch.

As the days went by, he began experiencing more odd things. He’d feel bugs crawling over him, but no one else could see them. He’d hear people whispering about him, but when he turned to confront them, there was no one there. Despite the summer heat, he’d sometimes feel so cold, he’d cover himself in wool blankets and heavy furs. One day, the light got so bright all he could see was whiteness. He curled up in a ball and lost sense of time. He came to again at night in his bedroom. Tulippe was sleeping in a chair near his bed and a full moon shone through the window. He reached over and shook her shoulder to wake her. She opened her eyes and began to say something when she looked into his eyes. Her face froze for a second, her mouth hanging open, and then she shook her head as if trying to fix her vision.

Flikers appear as the shimmer of the sun on waters, as the sparkle on snow on a bright day, as the glitter cast by a young woman’s sequin dress, and anywhere else light twinkles. Usually they pass through the air harmlessly. But when infused with light, they gain the temporary ability to enter the eyes of anyone looking directly at them.  Once inside the body, they disrupt the host’s senses, slowly driving them insane. The afflicted have run off cliffs, clawed out their own eyes, and dumped boiling water over their head. Only extreme measures or luck will save them. Administering a cure can be dangerous, as the Flikers often appear as the glint in their victims’ eyes and thus spread to another.

Instinct: To infect and spread

Poisonous, Minuscule, Infectious

No HP, Armor or Damage Die. See special moves.

Special Moves:

  • Get inside you and confuse your senses
  • Slowly make you go insane
  • Spread to someone else

Three Caves

Three box-texts of caves for your game.

Ice Cave

Winds howl across the glacier’s top, but can’t reach into its deep channels . In one particularly dark crack, someone has carved foot slots. They descend into the darkness until reaching a corridor which extends out in either direction where purple orbs cast a cold light. Faces and wings flit within the solid ice behind the walls as if they were swimming in water.

Flooded Cave

At high tide the ocean washes into this cave and rummages around in its numerous tunnels like a man looking for something in a drawer. Then it drags the water back out along with anyone or anything it found. But at low tide, most of the cave remains dry but for the very deepest crevasses where a lake forms. Without waves to break its surface it resembles a sheet of black glass. Peering within, you can see a green cloud that hide its depths like spilled ink. Black branches poke out of the cloud giving a hint to what lies beneath.

Beast’s Lair

Cool air wafts up from hidden chambers bringing with it the smell of wet stone. The sound of dripping water echoes off the walls like a drum. From deep in the cave, a scream tears through this peaceful rhythm followed by the crunch of bone and muscle breaking.