by Mike Shea on 22 June 2015
In ages past, magic was plentiful. The world was young and the gods were filled with righteous energy. Powerful archmages and high priests surrounded their lands with artifacts bursting with supernatural energy. The mages and priests armed mighty knights with weapons and armor imbued with terrifying power. These armies fought terrible wars destroying entire cities down to ash and rubble.
The magics of old are now lost. They've become buried in ancient ruins and deep caverns. They lie in the sub-basements of crumbling castles or in cursed chambers of forbidden tombs. These monuments, however, still pulse with the great power of their ancient creators.
Here is a list of twenty randomly generated monuments. Bookmark this page to pull some up during your game next time you want to spice up a battle.
As we discussed in Unhallowed Pillars, we can add interesting magical artifacts to our standard combat encounters and adventure locations. While we don't want to use them all the time, these ancient monuments can add spice to our game. Like relics, ancient monuments are intended to show a glimpse of the power that used to exist in the world, a magic now forgotten. When randomly selected, they add a bit of flavor to the game that even you, the DM, didn't see ahead of time. Or you can flavor them specifically to give your players a deeper knowledge of the world in which they adventure.
The effects of the monuments occur zone-wide. If you're reasonably close to the monument, you're affected by it. Effects are always on.
Monuments can be deactivated or destroyed with two successful skill checks taken as a standard action. Potential skills include athletics, arcana, or religion. The DC to deactivate a monument is between 10 and 20, often 15.
Though you don't want to add them into every battle your players face, these ancient monuments are a way to add some flavorful and mechanically interesting variables into your more tactical encounters. Give them a try.
If you're looking for an entirely procedurally generated dungeon, try out the Donjon 5e Random Dungeon Generator.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures, and Sly Flourish's Fantastic Locations. You can also support this site by using these links to purchase the D&D Starter Set, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, or Dungeon Master's Guide.