What *is* in the hole? (RPG Blog Carnival Entry)

The question is so very open ended, it’s tough to know where to begin. Last time I talked about the hole itself, but this time we’re going to talk about figuring out what might be inside. (This is my second post this month for the June 2014 RPG Blog Carnival topic – “What’s in the hole?” – hosted right here at Moebius Adventures. Be sure to check out some of the other entries so far.)

Now that we know how big the hole is, we can begin to figure out what’s laying in wait for our stalwart heroes.



Let’s start with a table inspired by the Major-General’s Song from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Roll a d4:

  • 1 = Animal
  • 2 = Vegetable
  • 3 = Mineral
  • 4 = Magical/Scientific (strange forces at work)

Now, let’s see what the contents of the hole have in store for our PCs. Roll a d6:

  • 1-2. Offensive (acting on the heroes)
  • 3-4. Neutral
  • 5-6. Defensive (acting to stop the heroes)

Then, just like figuring out the size of the hole in the first place, let’s determine the size of whatever is in it with another d6:

  • 1 = Tiny
  • 2 = Small
  • 3 = Medium
  • 4 = Large
  • 5 = Huge
  • 6 = Enormous

And then lastly, is this going to help or hinder the heroes? Another d6:

  • 1-2. Beneficial (Positive effect)
  • 3-4. Neutral
  • 5-6. Detrimental (Negative effect)

Here are some examples:

  • (Animal/Offensive/Tiny/Beneficial) The wall before you is punctured with a series of small, dark holes, and as you approach you can see several small birds dart at you. Though they do little damage, they are quite annoying and eventually draw blood with beak and claw as they try and protect their eggs. Hungry after a long hike just to get this far, you think the species can probably survive stealing a few of those eggs for your next meal…
  • (Vegetable/Neutral/Small/Neutral) All along the coast are small pockets of lush vegetation. These green dots rise and fall with the coastline but appear to not only provide food for some creatures living here but homes for some of those same creatures. You swear that some of the green dots move when you’re not looking…
  • (Mineral/Defensive/Medium/Detrimental) Before you lay a series of lakes filled with molten lava. If the heat wouldn’t be enough to deter you from this path, the toxic fumes rising in white clouds might. Stepping too close sends you into a coughing fit with burning lungs. Unless you can combat the gasses, you will need to find another way…
  • (Magical/Offensive/Large/Beneficial) As you come to the edge, you notice that the hole in front of you is perfectly symmetrical all the way around. You could easily walk around, but the hum tells you there’s some strange force at work here. And as you gaze into the hole itself, you notice that you are looking into a void you recognize. Somehow the image before you is of the dungeon you seek to enter in the castle three days from here. A prisoner is being harmed with a hot poker by the torture-master even as you watch. What do you do?

Obviously this again is very open to any system- or genre. It would be just as at home on a spacecraft as it would be on some primitive world.

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