Tuesday 11 January 2011

An Adventure for Every Monster

Okay, so here's the start of a new series for 2011. What I'm doing is taking the Monster Manual and working my way through it, trying to come up with a mini-adventure, hook, dungeon section or plot idea for every monster therein. I'm not going to tackle dinosaurs because they are an acquired taste and not everyone's got a lofty Amazonian plateau just sitting there waiting for adventures.

Certain treatments of monsters may deviate that tiny bit from the 'official' version but that's done to make the adventure that little bit more interesting. If it bugs you, change it.

Some adventure ideas may work for you; others you may find lame and uninspired. I intend to have one post in this series each week (gotta give myself a chance here) so this could run and run, given the size of the MM.

And without further ado, here is Adventure Idea One:

Aerial Servant

Frequency Very rare
No appearing 1
AC 3
Move 24”
HD 16
% in lair 0
Treasure type Nil
No of attacks 1
Damage per attack 8-32
Special attacks Surprises on 1-4
Special defences Can be hit only by magical weapons
Magic resistance Standard
Intelligence Semi
Alignment Neutral
Size 8’ tall

This mini adventure takes place in a section of the dungeon that the party have just encountered. It is traversed by wandering monsters but not on a daily basis.

The cleric who summoned the aerial servant will be at least 11th level – he is investigating this part of the dungeon with a view to setting up a temple to his deity and has found an area that is to his liking except that it is particularly grubby, dilapidated and squalid.

He conjured the aerial servant and ordered it to “get this place cleaned up”. Unfortunately, whilst the aerial servant was busy taking care of the cleaning, the cleric pressed on further into the dungeon and fell into a trap that injured him and confined him but otherwise did not harm him.

Since his confinement, the aerial servant has finished cleaning the section of dungeon but with no new command from the cleric, has concluded that the cleaning up needs to continue. As such, the section of dungeon is particularly well-kept, with no bodies, no detritus and no treasure. If monsters come into this section of the dungeon and cause any damage, it is very quickly cleared up. If a party enters the area, they will find that if they kill any monsters and ‘leave them for later’, bodies, treasure and magic items will not be there when they return. Marks made for the purposes of mapping and tracking will have disappeared.

There is a chance that the party will catch the aerial servant at its cleaning duties by pure chance (10%) but generally the only chance of finding out what is going on is to lay a trap for it. That having been said, such is the power of a frustrated aerial servant that the party will have a hard time of fighting it.

If it is prevented from carrying out its duties, it will become insane and head off to find the cleric, intending to attack him. It will take it only a few rounds to break open the holding cell in which the cleric is trapped. If the party follow the aerial servant and manage to save the cleric from its mad attack, the cleric will be very grateful, both for having been saved and for being freed from his confinement.

The party may have a chance of finding the place to which the aerial servant is taking the rubbish it cleans up. The best way to do this by following it (without preventing it from its duties). If they do find it, it will be in a natural cave shaft that is accessible via a very narrow fissure (the aerial servant of course has no problems with this, being an air elemental) and there is a 20% chance of the leading party member getting stuck (unless they are of hobbit size). If this happens, the party will need to come up with a particularly cunning plan for extricating their comrade.

At the base of the shaft, the refuse and items form a layer about eight to ten feet deep. There is rubble, general detritus, dungeon growth, bodies, armour and of course the chance of magic and treasure, none of which is of particular interest to the aerial servant. The bodies are of course of interest to a colony of rot grubs. There is also a cluster of yellow mould on one wall of the shaft (depending on which wall the party uses on its way down, they may well miss this – or not).

The treasure itself is of types J,K,L,M and N (1d12 occurrences of each), 1 occurrence of type S and one of type T. The DM can adjust upwards or add other treasure types but they should be the sort of treasure that could realistically be expected to have been collected from fallen bodies.
No matter when the party encounter the aerial servant and its doings, it will still have 1d10 days of its service to the cleric left.

DG note – I have taken some liberties with the aerial servant as written and the spell for summoning it but purely for the purposes of making an interesting encounter for the party.


  1. Great write up - I'm looking forward to future entries.

  2. This is a great idea for a series of posts!

  3. I agree, this is a great idea. It's already better than the Book of Lairs.

    On the adventure itself: I feel like I'd want more of a reason for the party to want to find the servant. I can 90% of parties just passing through the area and going "Well that's weird..."

  4. The morkoth will break you!

  5. Very nice write-up. Great to see you again.

  6. Great post! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  7. I like the premise of the column and the adventure itself is very interesting! Can't wait to see more of it!

  8. And he's back and as ambitious as ever!

    This idea is quite cool, and if you are doing it alphabetically, the anticipation of an upcoming article accommodating an anhkheg accrues astronomically!

  9. Great idea for a series. I was just flipping thru the "Earthdawn" bestiary (I never played that game but I ended up with the bestiary somehow) and one thing I really liked about the book was that every monster had a "hook" or "adventure seed" at the end of the listing, suggesting how to use them in an adventure. I tohught, "If only the MM and FF had that." Result!

  10. Very evocative and makes me want to include the monster already - which is fantastic and the whole point of raising the profile of oft forgotten monsters. Looking forward to the next monster.

  11. Using the 1e Monster Manual this should run for a while.........there are 50 entries in mine prior to Eagle,Giant B-)

  12. ........and that was EXCLUDING Dinosaur....