Stocking a Dungeon: Monster Activities


You’re stocking a dungeon. You’ve drafted all of the rooms, filled them with monsters and treasure and it’s looking as if it’s almost ready to be pillaged by a group of adventurers with questionable ethics. In their final moments, the monsters that you’ve placed should be doing something other than waiting for the sweet release of death.

Let’s add a little flavor to the daily routine of your randomly-generated creatures. Note that most of these only apply if the creature is at least modestly intelligent. Slavering beasts probably won’t engage in the bulk of these activities. You certainly get points for style if they do, though.


CATEGORIES

  1. Eating
  2. Eating (Again)
  3. Training
  4. Relaxing
  5. Patrolling
  6. Dungeon Upkeep


EATING

This one's easy, right? Monsters need to eat. Usually. And if they need to eat, it's usually quite a bit. Here are some suggestions on what they should be eating when the adventurers kick in the door.

  1. Roasting meat over an open spit.
  2. Smoking meat in a separate chamber.
  3. Cooking a stew with live ‘ingredients’ trapped in a pot.
  4. Burying meat in the ground atop hot coals.
  5. Prepping the meat for an upcoming roast.
  6. Cracking eggs into a thick stew.
  7. Chopping up humanoid bits for pickling.
  8. Baking loaves of hard, tasteless bread.
  9. Slicing meat into thin slices to be lightly cured.
  10. Digging up roots for an upcoming roast.
  11. Tossing various items into a ditch full of water to ferment.
  12. Discovering the secrets of creating alcohol.
  13. Tossing food scraps to monstrous boars kept in small pens.
  14. Enjoying the secrets of alcohol.
  15. Picking the food from their teeth after a long, filling meal.
  16. Steaming vegetables in a beaten, pierced metal pot.
  17. Salting various foodstuffs for storage purposes.
  18. Hanging up a string of peppers to dry.
  19. Trying not to burn the soup. Again.
  20. Extracting oils from human flesh.
  21. Removing rotten and spoiled food from the larder.
  22. Grinding nuts in a mortar and pestle.
  23. Pickling the gnarled feet of farmyard animals.
  24. Dragging a butchered horse into an ice cellar.
  25. Churning thick, strong-smelling butter.
  26. Constructing an earth oven.
  27. Making some sort of wheat-based bread loaf.
  28. Mixing tea leaves with fruit and mint for ceremonial purposes.
  29. Sucking egg yolks out of their shells.
  30. Trying to sort through expensive foodstuffs looted earlier.
  31. Butchering a kill from earlier in the day.
  32. Tenderizing humanoid meats.
  33. Collecting the blood from a carcass hung earlier in the day.
  34. Suckling out snails from their shells.
  35. Harvesting the daily meat from a healthy, captive troll.
  36. Creating a pickled hot sauce.
  37. Preparing a spice rub.
  38. Curing a rack of fresh fish.
  39. Restocking the larder with basic foodstuffs.
  40. Sharpening kitchen utensils.
  41. Roasting skewers of meat over the fire until they’re practically ash.
  42. Making a plain, white gravy.
  43. Cooking up a pot of milk steak.
  44. Extracting oils from olives.
  45. Taking cooking lessons from a captive chef.
  46. Experimenting with toxic ingredients.
  47. Preparing medicinal salves and reeking poultices.
  48. Making meat buns to steam.
  49. Extracting the spores from odd fungi.
  50. Scooping out the innards from beetles and other insects.
  51. Braising entire legs of meat.
  52. Preparing a large slab of meat for fermentation.
  53. Mashing up boiled potatoes.
  54. Slicing up crude bagels stuffed with nuts.
  55. Sorting fruits and berries to make preserve with bone marrow gelatin.
  56. Manually grinding out bonemeal with a huge millstone.
  57. Searing thick steaks on a red-hot rock.
  58. Brewing a thick, black sludge in a cauldron.
  59. Distilling some sort of extremely spicy sauce.
  60. Grinding dark, acidic coffee beans into a fine dust.
  61. Picking mushrooms off a huge, inoculated log.
  62. Cracking bones to suck out the marrow
  63. Breaking massive salt rocks into smaller chunks.
  64. Slowcooking a mix of meats and vegetables in a hearty brown sauce.
  65. Poaching eggs.
  66. Slicing peppers and extracting the seeds for later.
  67. Digging out a large, earthen oven.
  68. Submerging meat chunks in a blood fondue.
  69. Marinating meat in an acidic liquid.
  70. Rendering fat from a meaty haunch.
  71. Boiling meat, and steaming vegetables over it.
  72. Seasoning a stew with mushrooms and truffles.
  73. Eating terribly burnt scraps of meat.
  74. Pickling various organs.
  75. Making delicate, sweet biscotti topped with finely sliced almonds.
  76. Mixing together a thick, hearty gravy.
  77. Shaving slices of meat off thick block of cured meat.
  78. Stuffing small game birds with various savory treats.
  79. Refining sugar.
  80. Plucking out fish eyes to store in a clear jar for later snacking.
  81. Making potato chowder.
  82. Prepping a copious amount of clams.
  83. Soaking fish heads in jars to make a sauce.
  84. Drying out figs.
  85. Salting a jar of sunflower seeds to be roasted.
  86. Grinding spices and nuts for a paste.
  87. Scooping out bone marrow for some sort of gelatin dessert.
  88. Distilling something potent in a stolen alchemical machine.
  89. Draining clean drinking water from a captured elemental or nymph.
  90. Fattening up the birds in their cages.
  91. Draining a fresh kill of blood and ritually disemboweling the carcass.
  92. Drying out long strips of edible seaweed.
  93. Forming crude cheese wheels and storing them in a small, pungent chamber.
  94. Devouring raw meat from an unknown creature.
  95. Cutting open wolf bellies to scavenge whatever is inside.
  96. Digging the lobsters out of their cages and setting the pot to boil.
  97. Steeping strange leaves to make a brackish tea.
  98. Scraping the burnt remnants off pots and pans to eat.
  99. Cleaning dishes.
  100. Trying to eat captured adventurers alive.


TRAINING: SUBTYPE


  1. Martial
  2. Magical
  3. Stealth
  4. Religious
  5. Charismatic
  6. Odd

MARTIAL


  1. Melee weapon training, something already proficient.
  2. Melee weapon training, something new and hard to use.
  3. Ranged weapon training, basic thrown. Darts, javelins, rocks.
  4. Ranged weapon training, basic ammo. Bows, slings.
  5. Ranged weapon training, exotic. Double-stringed recurve, crossbow.
  6. Exotic, strange. Dwarven hook-mallet, elvish finger-needles, cleated boots, spiked helmet.

MAGICAL


  1. Basic cantrips, lvl 0 spells. Conjuring small flames, producing sparks.
  2. Utility spells. Telekinesis, Knock, Floating Disc.
  3. Illusion magic. Basic visual illusions, produced noises.
  4. Focused damage spells. Magic missile, scorching ray.
  5. Summoning magic. Circles of power, conjuring familiars.
  6. Wards. Inscribing protection charms on locked objects and doors.

STEALTH


  1. Lurking, skulking, hiding.
  2. Agility course focused on balance and speed.
  3. Precision ranged attacks on a target dummy.
  4. Camouflage practice, and local supplies for making hunting blinds.
  5. Collecting locks and keys for study.
  6. Interrogating caught thieves.

RELIGIOUS


  1. Practicing basic orisons.
  2. Auguries to predict the future.
  3. Burnt offerings to a strange deity in exchange for minor powers.
  4. Healing the wounds of injured monsters.
  5. Converting captives to debased religion.
  6. Etching holy words and phrases into walls.

CHARISMATIC


  1. Practicing their toll bridge speeches.
  2. Trying to out-riddle one another.
  3. Debating the finer points of dungeon layouts.
  4. Picking out the best wording for a ransom letter.
  5. Perfecting their war cries.
  6. Adorning their battle standards and armor with spikes and skulls.

ODD


  1. Withering gazes.
  2. Precision spitting.
  3. Demoralizing snarls.
  4. Bullying lesser creatures into servitude.
  5. Rudimentary weapon-crafting.
  6. Graffiti skills.


RELAXING

Monsters need to relax. In fact, they love relaxing and not doing their jobs, whatever that might be at the moment. Note that this is still a 1d100 table, even if 50 of the results are gambling. Just move on down the flowchart and figure out precisely what they're gambling on, and what the stakes are. If the system you're playing has reaction rolls, there should be a 25% chance or so that the adventurers are invited to gamble.

  1. Discussing plans with cohorts, arguing about loot shares.
  2. Lounging about, watching prisoners with disinterest.
  3. Napping in a comfortable nook.
  4. Snacking on some preserved meat.
  5. Humming worship songs to an unknowable entity.
  6. Playing with a barely-trained, ferocious beast. Teaching it tricks.
  7. Scribbling a map to their buried treasure. 25% chance of being real.
  8. Recounting tall tales to newer cohorts.
  9. Torturing prisoners.
  10. Watching blood dry.
  11. Sleeping, snoring loudly.
  12. Pushing crude wargame miniatures around on a large table.
  13. Staring into a long hallway, watching candlelight cast an eerie shadow.
  14. Preparing a sacrifice to a bloodthirsty god.
  15. Trying not to fall asleep while keeping watch.
  16. Harassing other monstrous denizens of the dungeon or area.
  17. Counting loot for the third time.
  18. Trying to figure out an exotic item.
  19. Playing a friendly game of darts.
  20. Fashioning new garments to wear out of looted goods.
  21. Reading. If not possible, leering at illustrated scrolls.
  22. Staring at an enchanted puddle of wizard blood, hoping to see something.
  23. Watching for the omens and signs from their chosen deity.
  24. Trying to predict the weather based on aches and pains.
  25. Telling tall tales about previous exploits.
  26. Trying to read books in dwarven.
  27. Worshiping a grotesque goddess statuette.
  28. Discussing whether or not Quantum Ogres really exist.
  29. Scribbling graffiti on the walls for adventurers to read.
  30. Sleeping in a poor-quality bed of straw.
  31. Playing with a weakly-enchanted item. Glowing rocks, humming dagger, etc.
  32. Trying on new garments looted from a caravan.
  33. Bullying underlings and watching them grovel.
  34. Smashing vases, jars and pots for fun.
  35. Carving intricate statuettes of some unknowable god.
  36. Sketching maps of the nearby area and marking locations ripe for raiding.
  37. Decorating primitive trade goods.
  38. Studying looted maps from far-off lands.
  39. Getting a tattoo.
  40. Trading collectible cards.
  41. Gossiping about coworker drama.
  42. Sipping cups of coffee.
  43. Reading fortunes in strange runes.
  44. Penning a novel.
  45. Humming an eerie tune. 
  46. Playing with their monstrous, harmless pet.
  47. Holding a heated discussion about weapon minutiae.
  48. Playing a fantasy tabletop role playing game.
  49. Drinking alcohol at a makeshift bar and chatting with the bartender.
  50. Arguing with prisoners about prison conditions.


51 - 100: GAMBLING


THE STAKES


  1. Nothing. Free to enter, monsters are in a jovial mood - or too unintelligent.
  2. Low Stakes. Free to enter, only small trinkets for bets.
  3. Low Stakes. Small entry fee, pocket change bets.
  4. Medium Stakes. Free to enter, 1 silver minimum bet.
  5. High Stakes. Modest entry fee, 10 silver minimum bet.
  6. High Stakes. Modest entry fee, bets in form of looted goods.

THE GAMES


  1. Dice games.
  2. Raffle tickets, to be held in 1d4 hours.
  3. Mahjong.
  4. Cards, Schnapsen.
  5. Cards, Blackjack.
  6. Sports teams. Two goblin clans are having a “friendly” face-off in 1d4 hours.
  7. Animal races, ten rats running down the length of a ditch.
  8. Giant pachinko machine.
  9. Go.
  10. Nonsensical game that defies comprehension.
  11. Drinking competition.
  12. Fight club with prisoners.
  13. Rock-stacking competition.
  14. Endurance game, punches to the face. First to faint loses.
  15. Wrestling matches between two monsters.
  16. Jousting on wild boars.
  17. Riddle competition.
  18. Shiritori in High Dwarven.
  19. Baccarat.
  20. Guessing game, shells-in-cups.


PATROLLING


This should be easy. Monsters with patrols should roam to nearby rooms, mostly to check up on any heavy-traffic intersections. They’ll return to their ‘home’ room once they’ve spent a turn in their destination room. Monsters on patrol should be armed with a source of light and a sketched map of the dungeon.


DUNGEON UPKEEP


Some monsters are needed to reset traps, ensure that hidden doors haven’t been used and left open and clean up any unsightly blights on their dungeon homes. These monsters should be equipped with some sort of protective armor and 10’ poles if they are going to be interacting with traps. They should also have lamp oil, fresh torches and candles, cleaning supplies and perhaps a sketched map of the dungeon with a 50% chance of having hidden passages marked.

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