Put yourself in the same dungeon your PCs are exploring. You see the torchlight dancing across rough hewn stone walls, small puddles of condensation, and in the reflection from the party’s armor and weapons. One of the PCs stops suddenly because she thinks she heard something… but what was it?
Sure, you can use your Perception checks and minimize things if a player’s roll isn’t quite up to snuff, but why not add to the atmosphere by using your players’ overactive imaginations?
What if you pull out this list when they fail a Perception check and add to the stress and paranoia they already feel?
- Dripping of water from a natural spring cutting through the dungeon
- Skittering of a few stones falling from the ceiling
- Creaking wood supports as things settle through the years
- Whispering breezes from deep in the dungeon
- The clatter of a section of the dungeon collapsing
- Clanging of weapons crashing to the floor when the wooden rack rots through
- Crash of an ornamental shield hitting the floor when the leather it was hung on gives way
- Creak of a rusty cell door adjusting to changes in air pressure
- Rush of stale air as a sealed door is opened in the first time in years
- Thump of a solid door falling off rusty hinges
- Screech of rusty hinges swinging under protest
- Babbling spring water carving its way down a collapsing stairwell
- Whistling wind blowing through open doorways deep below
- Reverberating crash as an entire room collapses into an open area on the floor below
- Splash of stones falling into a pool of water in a corridor
Use one of these and mark it off… Then see what strange and wonderful explanations your players come up with to explain it away… 🙂
Perhaps it’s nothing. Or maybe not!