I want to do my own versions of some of the standard cliche dungeon features. I like the random tables for statues and the like, but also want to give players a chance to figure out how to reap some kind of benefit.
For example, there’s the throne that sometimes raises ability scores. Who thought of that, originally? And why would it raise ability scores. Don’t know the official answer, but here’s my approach to the concept.
Engraving on the throne’s backrest reads
YOU SHALL BE KING OF EXACTLY ONE THING
Optionally, in small print below, there is a list of nouns: “Beasts, Skies, the Forest, Atlantis, Men, Mountains, Waters, Barbarians,” plus as many others as desired, including a couple kingdoms or tribes in your campaign world.
Merely sitting on the throne, in itself, does nothing noticeable, but make a wandering monster check every turn that a person remains sitting on the throne. If a wandering monster enters the throne room and sees someone sitting on the throne, it will scream “YOU ARE NOT THE KING OF ME!” (even if the creature is unintelligent, can’t speak, or has no mouth.) The monster will definitely be hostile.
Anyone who sits on the throne and shouts “I AM KING”, or anything that includes those words, invokes the power of the throne. There is a ghostly trumpet fanfare, followed by a disembodied voice telling the person seated “YOU ARE THE KING OF (whatever the result on the table below is).”
Add or subtract 1 from the roll for blessings/curses. Also subtract 1 if the one seated on the throne has one ability of 18 or higher, or subtract 2 if they have more than one such ability.
|d4+d8 Roll||Random Effect|
|1 or less||BEASTS: Becomes lion, Int 3, can charm normal animals|
|2||PAUPERS: All coins and gemstones crumble to dust|
|3||TOADS: Becomes man-toad, Charisma 3, hop straight up equal to Move|
|4||FOOLS: Wisdom 3, armor transforms into jester clothes|
|5||LOSERS: Reroll highest ability, keep lowest score|
|6||THIEVES: Can steal any item if you have a higher Dex than victim|
|7||MINDS: Reroll best mental ability, keep better score|
|8||HEROES: Reroll best physical ability, keep better score|
|9||GHOSTS: Can see and converse with spirits, +2 reaction|
|10||REASON: Can decipher any script, including magic|
|11||SHADOWS: Can escape notice if your Dex is higher than victim’s Wisdom|
|12||WEALTH: Showered with 3d6 gems that fall in your lap|
|13+||TIME: Get 1d6 extra rounds before any combat (time slows around you)|
(Reroll and keep the better score means rolling 3d6 and picking the best score of the two rolls, original and new. Even if you do not use 3d6 to roll abilities normally, use 3d6 for this reroll.)
There’s a minor chance to alter results. When someone shouts “I AM KING OF …” followed by something specific, and it’s a word on the table, like “I AM KING OF THIEVES”, that’s what they get if they roll that result or higher. If it’s the name of an ability score and a 7 or 8 is rolled on the table, that ability score increases to 18. If the roll on the table is 9+, ignore the table result and reroll the named ability score with 3d6, keeping the best.
Otherwise, players invoking special keywords will receive the standard bad results, but no good results; the throne will crown them as “KING OF LOSERS”, with a few exceptions:
Animals: Any “KING OF GHOSTS”, “KING OF TOADS”, or “KING OF BEASTS” results change to the named animal. A “manimal” form will have simple movement or other natural abilities and reduced charisma.
Sentient Race: If it’s no more powerful than an elf, dwarf, or human, speaker turns into that race, plus suffers any other bad effects rolled (lowered ability, lost wealth.) Change a “KING OF TIME” result to a transformation into the named race plus transportation to the homeland of the named race. Naming a more powerful creature transforms the speaker into a powerless version of that creature, except on a “KING OF TIME” result.
Valuable nonmagical object: “KING OF WEALTH” rewards with that object, and “KING OF PAUPERS” destroys that specific object.
Magical item: “KING OF TIME” result drops non-unique magic item (scroll, potion) in person’s lap. Naming a rare or unique magic item teleports the “king” to the owner of the item, if the item exists.
Real location:”KING OF TIME” result transports the speaker to that location. It’s up to the pretender to the throne to claim the kingdom themselves.
Abstract Quality: If there’s a spell that bestows that quality, the person invoking the throne receives that quality for 1d6 hours on a roll of 11+. Otherwise, they are crowned “KING OF LOSERS” or something worse.
Other inventive results may be possible.
The next person who tries to invoke the power of the throne rolls 1d6 -1 for the result instead of d4+d8. The throne “resets” only when someone rolls a 6 on this die (so there must be at least one King of Losers crowned before the throne will bestow anything good.)
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