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OD&D: Opium, Dunsany & Dreamlands Part III


PURPOSE: After monsters here and here, we have traps and treasure as the next components up for re-skins. Here are the recommendations from OD&D. The purpose is to not really change the "maths" or "mechanics" of the thing being reskinned but to change its description and context.


  1. False stairways

  2. Slanting passages

  3. Misleading stairwells

  4. Teleportation trigger

  5. Sinking rooms

  6. Illusions

  7. Mind control

  8. Geas area

  9. Dead-end passages

  10. One-way doors

TWILIGHT LANDS RESKIN: “ARCHITECTURAL MANIFESTATIONS”: Riffing on the “mythic underworld” traps, I am trying to describe here how buildings and structures can become “overgrown” like an untended garden.

  1. VESTIGIAL ARCHITECTURE: Architecture retains semblances of life because life conceived it. When left unpruned by daily use and conception, it tends to grow wild. Extra doors, extra faucets, too many tables. And with frequency stairs that go nowhere ending in a curl like a fern.

  2. GULLETS: A primary example of architectural manifestations that are either very slick slides or subtle, almost hallway-like passage ways that lead deep into a structure. Generally considered a manifestation because few peoples of the Twilight Lands build elongated slanting hallways as a method of moving about a building. Sometimes these structures are helpfully marked by a maw-like frame.

  3. MISLEADING ARCHITECTURE: A subspecies of vestigial architecture that has a far more malevolent end. A “rancid” secret door that opens to serpent strikes, a mass of crustacean claws, or a thick searching tongue. A stairwell that leads up up up but ends in a one-way door and a small platform over an abyss. Or benign rug whose ornate center opens into a pit.

  4. INVISIBLE HALLWAYS: It is also possible that abandoned structures have room separated by physical distance but have corners, walls, or objects that have fused symbolically or metaphysically. Such fusing forms a connection between the two areas unseen by mortal eyes. So when walking towards a wall, a person seemingly walks through it and into another room, but the reality is they have just traveled down an invisible hallway instead of just on the other side of the wall. Pools and fountains in particular seem prone to this sort of fusing are mirrors which are symbolically just solid water.

  5. GRAVE SOIL: One of the easier architectural manifestations to spot as it appears as if mold or black soil has spread across a room. A unique property of this earth is that valuables float to the surface while anything living or once-living sinks like a stone in water.

  6. ECHOS OF OCCUPANCY: Slamming doors, glittering candlelight in the distance, foot-steps just walking past a closed door. But no actual source, as they are merely mimicry the structure cries out like a parrot who prays- the correct words but no thought to its meaning.

  7. ARRESTING PAINTINGS: Untouched by time or rot, these paintings are masterworks whose presence cannot be ignored. They are not magical in so much as anything else in the Twilight Lands, but to any vaguely intelligent mind, they are rapturous. The viewer will become obsessed with the painting desiring a deep need to possess it and care for it and worship it (often in manners that match the theme of the painting). Very valuable, very encumbering, and very hated by forces of social order.

  8. EVANGELIZING RELIQUARIES: Years of worship and reverence can endow an object, statue, alter, or another object with a residual power that emanates like heat from a piece of coal. These objects can be shielded until an appointed time or ceremony to ensure only select recipients are held under sway. But abandonment removes the forethought brought by proper tending and so the “select recipients” are now simply those who stumble within range- like a tar pit on a moonless night. These objects impress their purpose upon the viewer, clouding vision, thought, and will. Most die in the process of trying to complete the appointed goal.

  9. COILED HALLWAYS: A “cousin” to MISLEADING ARCHITECTURE are passages that branch inexplicably like tumor vasculature and coil like a labyrinth. They seemingly go somewhere but often end nowhere. However, these passages have been known to somehow attract riches and lairing monsters.

  10. TRANSLOCATED DOORS: A door in the right place its not always a good thing if its the wrong type of door. In abandoned structures, its possible for doors to translocate. A cell door might now be in the middle of a hallway. A portcullis guards the kitchen. Or a door to a treasure vault might translocate to another symbolically valuable area like the ruler’s bed chambers.

I never know if I am quite hitting the right vibe with the theme, nor if, in my own head, I have a strong concept of what adventuring in the Dreamlands is really about. But maybe I am trying to add too much complexity to the initial steps. Especially for this re-skin exercise and my larger belief that to really get started in D&D you just need monsters, treasures, and traps. Then place them on a decent map and you'll most likely get a solid "B" material to run with.

Because again D&D is about play.


  1. I think these all hit the tone of a Dreamlands 'dungeon' very well.

    1. Thank you! I keep mulling over what it means to "adventure" in the dreamlands.

  2. The Grave Soil is particularly inspiring to me as an obvious trap that PCs/players go for, anyhow. Maybe more of a puzzle. Thank you for the post.

    1. I thought Grave Soil was particularly fun- not too punishing, but could be like "hmmm... I do want that big ruby"

  3. this is terrific - really gives me ideas for dressing up a dungeon