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Hazard Workshop

Hazards are a very fun and interesting way to add challenges and problem solving to a campaign. First, it’s important to define what hazards are and how they differ from traps and other effects. Then, we’ll go over the process for building hazards using this system. After that, you’ll get all the materials you need to create the hazards of your dreams, and we’ll end with fifteen pre-made hazards that are ready to be dropped right into your game.

The key difference between hazards and traps is neutrality. Traps are set for a reason, with intention. Hazards don’t play favorites or pick sides—they affect anyone in their path indiscriminately. But that doesn’t mean there’s no synergy between hazards and monsters. While traps are set by creatures in ways that help them protect their lairs, creatures both intelligent and simple gravitate toward hazards that already exist and synergize well with them. For example, creatures immune to fire damage feel right at home in a field of burning geysers.

Because hazards tend to be natural phenomena, they are usually not magical in the way spells or magic items are. Most hazards are not affected by dispel magic, counterspell, or even antimagic field. If a hazard explicitly says it’s a “magical effect,” then it does not function in an antimagic field. The “Hazard Removal” section discusses how the effects of hazards can be removed, which will tell you whether dispel magic or counterspell has an effect on a magical hazard or not.

When designing a hazard, you’ll start by determining its severity. This is based on the party’s average level, and it sets the saving throw DC, attack bonus, maximum effects, and XP awarded for surviving an encounter with the hazard. Then, pick whether the hazard is constant or triggered. Constant hazards effect creatures that enter their area or on initiative count 20 every round, and triggered hazards act only under specific circumstances. After that, you’ll select one or two effects for the hazard, following the “Maximum Effects” listed, potentially adding an upgrade in place of a second effect. Then, you’ll determine how the hazard’s effects can be countered or removed, and your hazard is complete!

Detecting Hazards

Generally, hazards are not hidden and don’t require a Wisdom (Perception) check to notice. The significance of a hazard may not be immediately apparent, but the party is sure to see a font of divine magic, a bolt of lightning suspended in time, or a cluster of poisonous frogs without much effort. If the party wants to learn more about a hazard, allow them to make an Intelligence (Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion) check against the hazard’s save DC. On a success, they learn its effects.

If you want a hidden hazard, consider applying the “invisible” upgrade, which renders the hazard almost impossible to detect until its effects have been applied once.

Hazard Severity

Based on the party’s average level, determine the tier of the hazard.

While you can use hazards of a lower or higher tier, it is not recommended.

Record the hazard’s tier, saving throw DC, attack bonus, maximum effects, and challenge rating.

Hazard Tier Party Level Attack Bonus Save DC Maximum Effects Challenge Rating
1 +1–2 +5 +12 +1 +1 (200 XP)
2 +3–4 +6 +13 +1 +2 (450 XP)
3 +5–7 +8 +15 +2 +4 (1,100 XP)
4 +8–10 +9 +16 +2 +5 (1,800 XP)
5 +11–13 +10 +17 +2 +7 (2,900 XP)
6 +14–16 +11 +18 +2 +8 (3,900 XP)
7 +17–20 +12 +19 +2 +10 (5,900 XP)

Awarding XP For Hazards

The listed challenge rating assumes the hazard poses some threat to the party, benefit to the monsters, or both. If the hazard only helps the party or only hinders the monsters, don’t award additional XP for its presence.

Hazard Style

Hazards come in two varieties: constant or triggered.

Constant hazards affect creatures that enter the hazard’s area, such as a wall of fire. Some constant hazards act on initiative count 20 every round and cause large-scale effects. An example of a constant hazard would be a landslide sweeps the battlefield and all creatures on the ground are affected.

Triggered hazards affect creatures that perform a specific action. The triggering creature and the target of the hazard might be the same or different, depending on the hazard. An example would be flammable lichen that triggers whenever fire damage is dealt to it or a when a creature stands on it, amplifying the damage.

See the following tables for suggested triggers of both types and some notes about why you might pick one over another.

Constant Hazard Notes
Affects creatures that enter the hazard’s area for the first time on a turn or end their turn in the hazard’s area. If multiple monsters (or characters) have forced movement effects, this hazard will see a lot of use.
Affects creatures that start their turn in the hazard’s area. This hazard only affects creatures once per round and allows for time to literally pull someone out of the fire before they take damage.
Affects creatures in the hazard’s area on initiative count 20 each round (losing ties). Most suited to large-scale, consistent effects that you want to target the entire battlefield.
Triggered Hazards Notes
Affects creatures in the hazard’s area when they take damage of a certain type. This can be positive or negative, reducing or amplifying the damage (or applying other effects). A character that has all negative conditions removed when they take lightning damage might be willing to endure shocking grasp.
Affects creatures in the hazard’s area that fail (or succeed) on an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. This is most commonly a “from bad to worse” type of hazard, causing a problem for characters that fail a roll or making life harder for the target of a successful one.
A creature near the hazard must use an action or bonus action to activate the hazard. Triggering a rockslide by shoving a certain boulder, tapping into a wellspring of arcane power, or plucking a healing flower are all examples of hazards that require direct interaction in this way.
Affects creatures in the hazard’s area that perform a certain action, such as casting a spell, making an attack, or taking the Dash action. Common uses are hazards that hamper spellcasting, hurt creatures that run through them quickly, or deal damage when an attacker misses while in the hazard. This setup is precise and can be used to target specific kinds of creatures for good or ill.

Hazard Effects

Effects are the bulk of the hazard. They determine what happens when someone blunders into it and whether the hazard requires an attack roll or saving throw. Some hazards don’t require either and are listed as “special.” Each effect scales according to the hazard’s tier, and the tier of effects should match the tier of the hazard itself.

For hazards of tier 3 and above, you can create a hazard with two effects or one effect and one upgrade. Upgrades are included with each component, and there is a selection of “Universal Upgrades” which can be applied to any hazard.

If a hazard has two effects, you can choose to have them require separate saving throws or attack rolls, but it is suggested you use one roll for both effects to keep the game moving quickly.

Hazards with more than two effects or more than one upgrade are unwieldy and are not recommended.

Choosing To Fail

A creature can always choose to fail a saving throw against a hazard. This is mostly helpful in cases where you mix beneficial and harmful effects, such as a panacea hazard that removes negative conditions but also inflicts damage on the creature in its area.

Hazard Size

There are no hard and fast rules for setting the size of a hazard. That said, hazard effects are balanced around the assumption that no one will get hit by a hazard every turn for the entire combat scenario, so if you’re planning to run an encounter called “The Floor is Lava” with fire damage and ongoing fire damage as its two effects covering the entire battlefield, you might want to use effects two tiers below what you normally would, based on the party’s level.

As a general rule, if the hazard is going to affect most creatures in the fight every round, reduce the tier of the effects by two, but keep the XP award the same.

Otherwise, you can determine the size of a hazard as you see fit.

Hazard Removal

If a hazard has a lasting effect, the target is generally able to repeat a saving throw to attempt to end it. The following table lists some alternate ways effects might be removed. You don’t need to choose any of these, as most hazard effects have a duration of 1 minute or less. Consider them an alternate option for parties that simply must help their ally right now, and choose any that feel appropriate for your hazard.

Types of Effects

The following effects are listed alphabetically and are automatically scaled according to the tier of the hazard. Some effects include upgrade options; see the end of this section for a list of universal upgrades that can be applied to any effect. Each effect lists a few types of saving throws or an attack roll, but these are just suggestions. You should choose whatever fits the hazard you design.

Affliction

Type: Saving Throw

Afflictions apply a negative condition to those that fail an initial saving throw against the hazard. The duration of an affliction is based on the hazard’s tier. Any effect can be chosen, though some effects reduce or increase the duration of the hazard as noted in their descriptions.

For example, a tier 4 Affliction normally has a duration of 1 minute, but if the hazard causes creatures to be paralyzed, it instead has an effective tier 2 duration, “until the end of the creature’s next turn.” If the chosen effect would reduce the hazard’s effective tier to less than 1, it’s not a valid choice. For example, you can’t use Paralyzed for a tier 2 hazard, because that would reduce its duration to the equivalent of a tier 0 effect.

Effects Duration Adjustment
Deafened, poisoned, grappled +1 tier
Blinded, charmed, frightened, incapacitated, prone, restrained No adjustment
Petrified, stunned, unconscious -1 tier
Paralyzed -2 tiers
Tier Duration
1 Current turn
2 End of next turn
3 +1 minute, repeat save each turn
4 +1 minute, repeat save each turn
5 +1 minute, repeat save each turn with disadvantage
6 +1 minute, repeat save each turn with disadvantage
7 +1 minute, repeat save each turn with disadvantage; requires two successes to end

Variant: Time Limits

There are no strict rules about how often a hazard can affect creatures, but you might impose some. As a general guideline, if your hazard is only going to activate a few times instead of during the entire encounter, you can increase the tier of its effects by 1. So a tier 3 damage effect that can only activate twice would do 13 (3d8) fire damage, like a tier 4 effect would, instead of only 9 (2d8).

Don’t increase the XP reward, and remember, this is not required; it’s just an option to consider.

Bane

Type: Saving Throw

Banes inflict negative effects on a creature. Choose a listed effect, then determine the bane’s duration based on the hazard’s tier. For tiers 4 through 6, characters affected by the hazard must repeat the saving throw at the end of each turn, ending the bane on a success. Constant hazards typically provide the penalties of the bane for as long as a creature remains in the area rather than following the duration table.

EFFECTS

  • Disadvantage on one type of roll: attacks, ability checks, or saving throws
  • Lose immunity or resistance to one type of damage
  • Become vulnerable to one type of damage (creatures with resistance or immunity to that damage type are unaffected)
  • Deal half damage with weapon attacks

Become silenced: unable to communicate verbally or cast spells that require verbal components

Take an action or bonus action on each turn, but not both

Reduction to movement speed or loss of access to one movement mode (flying, swimming, etc.)

Tier Duration
1 End of the affected creature’s turn
2 End of the affected creature’s turn
3 End of the affected creature’s next turn
4 +1 minute, repeat save each turn
5 +1 minute, repeat save each turn
6 +1 minute, repeat save each turn with disadvantage
7 +1 minute

Upgrades: Debilitating – Add a second effect from the effects table to this hazard.

Surefire – This effect affords no initial saving throw— the effect applies immediately. For tiers 4, 5, and 6, the creature may still repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, as normal.

Blessing

Type: Special

Blessings are generic positive effects. It might seem strange to have something called a “hazard” apply positive effects, but the monsters can take full advantage of it too. Normally, a creature that enters the blessing’s area receives its effects, but at your discretion, the blessing might require a successful saving throw to acquire. First, choose an effect for the blessing from the “Effects” table, then determine the duration.

The duration of a blessing is based on the hazard’s tier. For tiers 4 through 6, creatures affected by the blessing can keep its effects for up to 1 minute. If the blessing requires a saving throw to acquire, the creature must repeat that saving throw at the end of each turn to maintain the blessing. On a failure, the blessing ends early. Constant hazards typically provide the benefits of the blessing for as long as a creature remains in the area rather than following the duration table.

EFFECTS

  • Advantage on one type of roll: attacks, ability checks, or saving throws
  • Resistance to one or more types of damage
  • Deal one additional damage die with weapon attacks
  • Creatures targeted by spells you cast make their first saving throw with disadvantage
  • A bonus to movement speed or access to an alternate mode of movement (flying, burrowing, etc.)
  • Access to an alternate sense, such as blindsight, tremorsense, or truesight
Tier Duration
1 End of the affected creature’s turn
2 End of the affected creature’s turn
3 End of the affected creature’s next turn
4 +1 minute, repeat save each turn; blessing ends on a failure
5 +1 minute, repeat save each turn; blessing ends on a failure
6 +1 minute, repeat save each turn with advantage; blessing ends on a failure
7 +1 minute

Upgrades: Potent – Add a second effect from the effect table to this hazard.

Damage

Type: Attack Roll or Saving Throw

The damage effect does damage. You can choose whether it makes an attack roll or forces targets to attempt a saving throw, but, in either case, it does no damage on a miss or a successful saving throw. When you choose this effect, pick a damage type. Based on that damage type, determine the hazard’s damage with the following table.

Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage are considered “Physical.”

Acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, and thunder damage are considered “Energy.”

Force, necrotic, psychic, and radiant damage are considered “Exotic.”

Tier Physical Energy Exotic
1 +4 (1d8) 2 (1d4)
2 +7 (2d6) 4 (1d8) 3 (1d6)
3 +14 (4d6) 9 (2d8) 7 (2d6)
4 +21 (6d6) 13 (3d8) 10 (3d6)
5 +28 (8d6) 22 (5d8) 14 (4d6)
6 +38 (11d6) 31 (7d8) 21 (6d6)
7 +49 (14d6) 40 (9d8) 28 (8d6)

Upgrades: Partial Effect – On a missed attack or a successful saving throw, the target takes half damage.

Dispelling

Type: Special

Dispelling hazards remove spell effects of a certain level; based on the hazard’s tier, it adds an ability check bonus to the roll against a DC of 10 + the spell’s level for more powerful magic. This is a magical effect.

TierAutomaticDispel

Ability Check Bonus
1 +1st level +0
2 +2nd level +1
3 +3rd level +2
4 +4th level +3
5 +5th level +4
6 +6th level +5
7 +7th level +6

Upgrades: Limited Antimagic – The hazard creates a zone similar to antimagic field in its area which suppresses magic items and spells of the “Automatic Dispel” level or lower. Higher-level spells are unaffected. There is no roll made to attempt to affect them—they are simply immune.

Movement

Type: Attack Roll or Saving Throw

Movement hazards push or pull creatures around. They have no effect on a missed attack roll or a successful saving throw by the target. On a hit or failed saving throw, the target is pushed or pulled up to the distance specified in any direction, but it must be a straight line. This can include straight up, but that’s just going to deal a little falling damage (far less than a damage effect of the same tier), so unless you pair that with something else, it will be underwhelming.

Tier Distance Additional Effects
1 +10 feet None
2 +20 feet None
3 +30 feet None
4 +30 feet Knocked prone
5 +40 feet Knocked prone
6 +50 feet Knocked prone
7 +60 feet Knocked prone

Upgrades: Flailing Slide – Movement from this effect provokes opportunity attacks.

Ongoing Damage

Type: Saving Throw

An ongoing damage effect applies when a creature fails a saving throw against the hazard. The creature takes the listed damage at the start of each of its turns for 1 minute. It may repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. This effect does not stack with itself, but it can be combined with ongoing damage from other hazards. For example, if a creature is affected by a tier 3 ongoing damage fire hazard repeatedly, the creature will still take only 6 (1d12) damage at the start of its turns. If that same creature is also affected by a tier 3 ongoing damage acid hazard, it would then take 6 (1d12) acid damage in addition to the 6 (1d12) fire damage at the start of each turn.

Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage are considered “Physical.” Acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, and thunder damage are considered “Energy.” Force, necrotic, psychic, and radiant damage are considered “Exotic.”

Tier Physical Energy Exotic
1 +2 (1d4) 1
2 +5 (1d10) 3 (1d6) 2 (1d4)
3 +10 (3d6) 6 (1d12) 4 (1d8)
4 +16 (3d10) 11 (2d10) 9 (2d8)
5 +21 (6d6) 16 (3d10) 13 (3d8)
6 +27 (5d10) 22 (4d10) 18 (4d8)
7 +33 (6d10) 27 (5d10) 22 (5d8)

Upgrades: Sure Thing – There is no initial saving throw—a creature affected by the hazard takes this damage at the start of its next turn, then begins making saving throws at the end of that turn to attempt to end the effect.

Panacea

Type: Special

Panacea hazards grant beneficial effects that scale with the hazard’s tier. They are focused around ending negative conditions rather than healing. For purposes of this effect, conditions include: blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, incapacitated, invisible, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, and unconscious (this list can be found in the PHB). Note that “dead” is not a condition, and this effect can’t help with that.

This effect can cause some weird interactions. For example, when an unconscious creature at 0 hit points is “cured of all conditions,” does the target wake up? Probably not, or maybe the creature gains consciousness until the end of its next turn. That particular scenario can’t occur until tier 6, so you have some time to mull it over. When in doubt, “permanent” conditions like unconsciousness due to being at 0 hit points should reassert themselves at the end of the creature’s next turn if the cause is not addressed.

Tier Effect
1 The target has advantage on next saving throw or ability check against a condition
2 The target has advantage on all saving throws or ability checks against currently applied conditions. Lasts until those conditions are removed
3 The target is cured of one condition, as long as that condition is not paralyzed, petrified, stunned, or unconscious
4 The target is cured of all conditions, except for paralyzed, petrified, stunned, or unconscious
5 As tier 4, but the target also has advantage on saving throws against any remaining conditions until those conditions end
6 The target is cured of all conditions
7 The target is cured of all conditions and becomes immune to all conditions for 1 minute

Upgrades: Escape Route – After the panacea takes effect, the target becomes invisible and hidden until the end of its next turn.

Reanimation

Type: Special

The “Unhallowed Ground” encounter includes a unique hazard with an effect called “reanimation” that brings the deceased back to life as a new creature, risen dead. The effect isn’t reprinted here because it’s only thematically appropriate for a small percentage of encounters and is challenging to balance across multiple tiers of play. Consider it inspiration for creating your own unique effects to perfectly suit your encounters.

Recharging

Type: Special

A recharging effect restores the use of a limited feature to a creature that interacts with the hazard. It can restore spell slots, limited-use class features, or Hit Dice. This is either decided at the time of the hazard’s creation or chosen each time by the creature affected by it.

The first column lists the highest-level spell slot that can be recovered, while the second column details how it interacts with other abilities, and the third column lists the number of Hit Dice recovered. At your discretion, this effect can also restore a number of charges to magic items at the same rate as it restores Hit Dice.

Tier Spell Slot Class Feature Hit Dice
1 +1st level One use of a feature that is recovered on a short rest
1 2 +2nd level One use of a feature that is recovered on a short rest
2 3 +3rd level One use of a feature that is recovered on a short rest
3 4 +4th level Two uses of a feature that is recovered on a short rest
4 5 +5th level Two uses of a feature that is recovered on a short rest, or one use of a feature that is recovered on a long rest
5 6 +6th level Two uses of a feature that is recovered on a short rest, or one use of a feature that is recovered on a long rest.
6 7 +7th level Two uses of a feature that is recovered on a short rest, or two uses of a feature that is recovered on a long rest.
7 You should put some limits on this hazard, because its effect is powerful.

If you offer infinite recovery of spell slots, your players will always look for a way to bottle this up and take it with them. Either a set number of uses before it goes away forever or a terrible price for its use serve to balance this effect.

What About Warlocks?

Warlock players may ask if this hazard allows them to recover all their spell slots, because they can do that during a short rest. The answer is no. This hazard replenishes the uses of abilities—it does not actually grant the benefits of a short rest, nor does it activate such features. Valid examples for a tier 1 recharging effect include: regaining one use of Channel Divinity or Action Surge, recovering a single Bardic Inspiration die, regaining 1 ki point or sorcery point, and so on. At your discretion, you might treat certain resources like ki points and sorcery points like Hit Dice and allow recovery according to the third column.

Terraforming

Type: Special

Terraforming effects create walls or areas of difficult terrain. There are no limits placed on the length or height of the walls or the size of difficult terrain. If you’re creating a wall, consult the Wall Toughness column for its statistics. The hit points listed apply to one 5-foot section of the wall. When the wall is first created, a creature within 5 feet of the wall may use its reaction to attempt a Dexterity saving throw against the hazard’s save DC. On a success, the creature can choose to move to either side of the wall.

The Difficult Terrain column details the terrain created by this hazard.

The Dexterity saving throw only applies to the wall option—there is no such saving throw to immediately move out of the difficult terrain effect.

Tier Wall Toughness Difficult Terrain
1 AC 12, 15 hit points Each foot moved costs 2 feet of movement
2 AC 13, 25 hit points Each foot moved costs 3 feet of movement
3 AC 15, 40 hit points Each foot moved costs 3 feet of movement; disadvantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws while in the terrain
4 AC 16, 50 hit points Each foot moved costs 4 feet of movement; disadvantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws while in the terrain
5 AC 17, 65 hit points Each foot moved costs 4 feet of movement; disadvantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws while in the terrain; creatures knocked prone in the area must spend all their movement to stand up instead of half
6 AC 18, 80 hit points Each foot moved costs 5 feet of movement; disadvantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws while in the terrain; creatures knocked prone in the area must spend all their movement to stand up instead of half
7 AC 19, 100 hit points Each foot moved costs 5 feet of movement; creatures automatically fail Strength and Dexterity saving throws while in the terrain; creatures knocked prone in the area must spend all their movement to stand up instead of half

Universal Upgrades

Any upgrade chosen here takes the place of a second effect in a hazard.

A hazard can never have more than one upgrade, whether that upgrade is universal or specific to an effect.

Augmenting – The hazard’s effect does not apply directly to targets.

Instead, a creature can use its action to attempt an ability check or saving throw (GM’s choice) against the hazard’s saving throw DC. On a success, the creature enhances one weapon or spellcasting implement with the hazard’s effect, applying the effect to targets hit by that weapon or by spells cast using the implement. This lasts for 1 minute, with the creature repeating the saving throw or ability check at the end of each of its turns to maintain the effect. On a failure, the effect ends.

At your discretion, when a hazard is used to augment a weapon or implement in this way, the hazard is suppressed or neutralized permanently and has no further effects.

Chaining – On initiative count 20 every round (losing ties), the hazard grows to new spaces, either occupying an additional 5-foot square or expanding 5 feet in every direction. At your discretion, it may or may not have a maximum size, and it may or may not reset to its original size under certain conditions.

Glass Cannon – Calculate the hazard’s attack bonus and saving throw DC at one tier lower than party’s level, and calculate the effects used at one tier higher than the party’s level.

Invisible – The hazard is invisible, requiring a successful Wisdom (Perception) check to detect it against the hazard’s saving throw DC + 5. Once a creature enters a constant hazard’s space or activates a triggered hazard, the hazard becomes visible. It becomes invisible again after 8 hours of no interaction.

Mobile – On initiative count 20 each round (losing ties), the hazard moves 10, 20, or 30 feet (GM’s choice) either toward the nearest creature or in a predetermined path.

Sample Hazards

Fifteen sample hazards are provided here to drop into your game.

Thunder Pebbles

Tier 1 Triggered Hazard (200 XP)

Save DC: 12; Effects: Affliction

These small pebbles hold tremendous potential energy; if they are shattered, the resulting boom can knock a creature off its feet. When a creature in an area of thunder pebbles makes a melee weapon attack and misses its target, the attacking creature must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Shadow of Death

Tier 1 Constant Hazard (200 XP)

Save DC: 12; Effects: Ongoing Damage

Produced by a particularly toxic species of mushrooms, shadow of death is a cloud of mild but long-lasting poison. When a creature enters a shadow of death for the first time on a turn or ends its turn within it, the creature must attempt a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 1 poison damage at the start of each of its turns for 1 minute. Affected creatures can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success.

Savior Shrubs

Tier 2 Triggered Hazard (450 XP)

Effects: Blessing

These semi-sentient bushes are naturally inclined to protect any living beings among their leaves. When a creature in an area of savior shrubs is hit by an attack, the creature gains resistance to one damage type dealt by that attack for the rest of the current turn.

Once savior shrubs have protected a creature in this way, they can’t do so again until 1 minute has passed.

Hushferns

Tier 2 Constant Hazard (450 XP)

Save DC: 13; Effects: Bane

The leaves of these seemingly innocuous plants vaguely resemble a pair of lips with a finger held vertically in front of them.

A creature that walks into an area of hushferns must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be silenced, unable to communicate verbally or cast spells that require verbal components. This effect lasts until the end of the creature’s next turn. The hushferns have no effect on ambient noises and sounds other than speech.

Fuse Lichen

Tier 3 Triggered Hazard (1,100 XP)

Save DC: 15; Effects: Affliction, Damage

This pale-green lichen emits a slight odor of sulfur. When a creature in the fuse lichen’s area takes fire damage, the lichen ignites.

The creature in the area must attempt a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 9 (2d8) fire damage and become blinded for 1 minute.

Affected creatures can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success. Once this hazard is triggered three times, it is no longer active.

Jagged Iron-Rocks

Tier 3 Constant Hazard (1,100 XP)

Attack Bonus: +8; Effects: Damage; Upgrades: Invisible

A layer of dirt and caked earth hides the razor-sharp edges of these rocks. They are undetectable unless a creature success on a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check, or until a creature enters the hazard’s area, revealing its location. When a creature enters an area of jagged iron-rocks for the first time on a turn or ends its turn there, the hazard makes an attack against that creature with a +8 bonus.

On a hit, the creature takes 14 (4d6) slashing damage.

Screechtoad

Tier 3 Triggered Hazard (1,100 XP)

Save DC: 15; Effects: Affliction; Upgrades: Mobile

This small, bright-yellow frog has exceptionally powerful lungs it uses to defend itself against much larger predators. On initiative count 20 each round (losing ties), the screechtoad hops 10 feet in a random direction. You can roll 1d8 to determine the direction, with 1 being north, 2 being northeast, etc.

A creature within 5 feet of the screechtoad can use a bonus action to kick the screechtoad, causing it to swell up. Once kicked, at the end of the triggering creature’s turn, the screechtoad lets out an earpiercing scream, and all creatures within 10 feet of the screechtoad must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become stunned until the end of their next turn.

Creatures that can see the screechtoad can attempt a DC 15 Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) check to learn its behaviors and effects.

Caustic Pitcherplant

Tier 4 Triggered Hazard (1,800 XP)

Attack Bonus: +9; Save DC: 16

Effects: Damage, Ongoing Damage

Caustic pitcherplants are carnivorous and highly aggressive, but their favored prey are small birds, and they ignore grounddwelling creatures. Whenever a Small or larger creature moves through an area of caustic pitcherplants without lying prone and crawling, the plants attack the creature with a +9 bonus. On a hit, the target takes 13 (3d8) acid damage and an additional 11 (2d10) acid damage at the start of each of its turns. This effect lasts for 1 minute. The creature can attempt a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw at the end of each of its turns to end the ongoing damage effect on a success. A creature only suffers one attack from the caustic pitcherplants each turn, no matter how many times they move through the area on that turn.

Icebinders

Tier 4 Constant Hazard (1,800 XP)

Save DC: 16; Effects: Bane, Ongoing Damage

These icicles are charged with opposite but attracting energies. When a creature enters the icebinders for the first time on a turn or ends its turn in the area, it disrupts these energies, and a pair of jagged ice shards surge together. The creature must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or the shards embed themselves in it.

While the shards remain embedded, the creature takes 11 (2d10) cold damage at the start of each of its turns, and its speed is reduced to 10 feet. Additionally, it can’t benefit from a climb, fly, or swim speed. Affected creatures can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success.

Dimensional Echo

Tier 5 Triggered Hazard (2,900 XP)

Save DC: 17; Effects: Damage, Recharging

These remnants of ancient spells appear as a field of indistinct humanoid silhouettes beckoning any creatures that can see them. A dimensional echo can be accessed as a wellspring of arcane power. As a bonus action, a creature within 5 feet of a dimensional echo can attempt a DC 17 Charisma saving throw. On a success, the creature regains a spell slot of 5th level or lower, and all creatures other than the triggering creature within 15 feet of the dimensional echo take 22 (5d8) thunder damage. On a failure, the triggering creature (and no one else) takes 22 (5d8) thunder damage.

Peaceberries

Tier 5 Constant Hazard (2,900 XP)

Save DC: 17; Effects: Affliction, Blessing

These tiny, red berries are renowned for their ability to end violence and are used by diplomats on occasion to force negotiations between even the most brutal warlords. When they ripen, they spread their magic on the wind, affecting everyone around them. On initiative count 20 on each round (losing ties), every creature within 60 feet of the peaceberries must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become charmed by every creature it can see for 1 minute.

While charmed, the creature has advantage on Wisdom (Insight) ability checks. It can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.

Hellwall

Tier 6 Triggered Hazard (3,900 XP)

Save DC: 18; Effects: Damage, Terraforming

Hellwalls are common in the lower planes and other places where fiends dwell. When a creature attempts to move through a hellwall’s area, a telepathic scream wracks its mind and a very real set of walls bursts from the earth, trapping the triggering creature. The creature must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or take 21 (6d6) psychic damage, and 15-foot-long slabs of stone rise up in a cube shape around the creature, including a roof panel. The slabs each have AC 18 and 80 hit points. They are immune to poison and psychic damage and to any effect that requires an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw. They automatically fail Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws.

Bloody God’S Poppies

Tier 6 Constant Hazard (3,900 XP)

Effects: Blessing; Upgrades: Potent

These crimson poppies are said to be grown from the arterial spray of an old god of war and death, his throat cut open by a rival deity before civilizations had language. Whether the legend is true or not, the flowers incite incredible violence in living creatures and grant enhanced strength beyond the limits of most mortals. A creature that starts its turn in an area of bloody god’s poppies gains advantage on all attack rolls, and, when it hits with a weapon attack, it can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the damage dealt. These effects last for as long as the creature remains in the area, and they persist for 1 minute after the creature leaves.

Boomstone

Tier 7 Triggered Hazard (5,900 XP)

Save DC: 19; Effects: Damage; Upgrades: Chaining

Boomstone is created by a current of magical energy running through solid rock. The current forms a tight loop that spreads until it becomes unstable, then it collapses in a violent explosion. On initiative count 20 every round (losing ties), the hazard’s area spreads by 5 feet in every direction. When a creature in an area of boomstone is hit by a weapon attack, the boomstone detonates. The targeted creature and all other creatures within 5 feet of it must succeed on a DC 19 Constitution saving throw or take 40 (9d8) thunder damage. The boomstone is removed from the creature’s space and all spaces within 5 feet of it, making it possible to purge the boomstone through repeated explosions. If the boomstone reaches a total size of 40 feet by 40 feet or larger, it blows up, affecting all creatures in its area and within 5 feet of the outer edge.

Living Storm

Tier 7 Constant Hazard (5,900 XP)

Save DC: 19; Effects: Damage, Movement

This storm is alive and infuriated. When a creature starts its turn under the storm clouds, it must succeed on a DC 19 Dexterity saving throw or be grabbed by a fist of clouds made solid by magic.

A grabbed creature is pulled 70 feet up into the air and struck by lightning, taking 40 (9d8) lightning damage. The creature is then dropped back down to the ground.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Total Party Kill Handbook – Volume 2 2019 © 2CGaming, LLC. Author Steven Gordon

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