I’ve been thinking that other dungeon features, especially the cliche tricks like magic fountains and thrones, might also be the side effect of magic. And maybe what “dungeon level” is, really, is a measure of how likely such anomalies will occur. Strange magical forces surge deep underground, and descending deep enough allows you to tinker with reality in ways you couldn’t otherwise.
Sounds like a good excuse for a table.
If you cast a spell, enchant an item, or perform magical research in the depths of the earth, side effects or enhanced effects may occur if the spell level of the magical effect is less than the dungeon level. So, the first level of the dungeon is pretty mundane, but things get weirder the deeper you go. Roll 2d6 or d4+d8 on the following table.
|Roll||Magical Side Effect or Enhancement|
|1 or less||Opens Endless Monster Rift|
|2||Caster or Object is Cursed|
|6-8||Standard Spell Effect|
|9-10||Spell Lasts Longer|
|11||Double-Strength and Lasting|
|12||Additional At-Will Power|
|13+||Caster or Object is Blessed|
Being cursed, or carrying a cursed item or casting in a cursed location, gives a -1 penalty per curse (max -3.) Being blessed by a patriarch or a major holy creature gives a +1 bonus (max) to the roll. Any roll of 5 or less will curse something, either the location (if a rift opens up) or the caster or the object being used/created by the caster (50/50 chance of either.) Rolls of 3 or below mean permanent curses. These curses affect further rolls on this table as well as some other similar tables I’ve posted here.
Endless Monster Rift is exactly what it sounds like. If there is an appropriate feature nearby, like a pit or fountain, it becomes the mouth that spews forth monsters. Otherwise, a crack opens up in the wall or floor. If a particular monster was being summoned or created, the rift will produce just that type of monster; otherwise, there’s a 50/50 chance that it spews one random monster type vs. a random type every time.
Demonic or Chaotic Taint turns either an object or the location Chaotic, in addition to bestowing a curse as described above. Tainted objects and locations have a random spell effect that they can cast; spell level is half the dungeon level (round up), modified up or down according to a d6 roll:
Randomly select the spell from the appropriate level chart. When a tainted object or location encounters adventurers, roll for its reaction, shifting the reaction down for Lawful adventurers. If Hostile, the tainted feature casts its spell to the detriment of the adventurers; if Friendly, it casts the spell to the benefit of the adventurers, perhaps attacking their enemies. Neutral reaction means no spell casting, for now… but if new arrivals wander by, the enemy might receive diabolical assistance, depending on a second reaction roll.
If the result is the spell lasts longer than normal, it lasts for at least one day, or one extra day for spells that normally last a day or more. Make a reaction roll the next day: on any Bad or Neutral reaction, the spell ends as it normally would, while on a Good reaction, it continues another day. On a Very Good reaction (12,) check the duration every week; each additional 12 rolled bumps the duration up another level (month, season, year, decade, century.)
Additional At-Will Powers are randomly selected the same way the powers of Tainted objects and locations are selected, except it’s a power under the control of the person affected (or using an affected object.) The power’s effects last as long as a spell would, but the ability to use the power will fade over time; check as for spells that last longer than usual. Blessed people, objects, and locations have an At-Will power and are also blessed, granting a +1 on tables like this one.
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