Mind-screwy, "Are you worthy", "dark teambuilding" dungeon ideas

The crew of a west marches campaign finds a dungeon with an artefact that can be partially assembled and operated. It’s powerful for combining and upgrading items, but it only wants to be used by worthy, loyal and cunning folk.

Basically an ancient AI loyal to the city judges their solutions to various problems, simulated or not:


  1. Enemy god-worm that begs for mercy at low HP: the solution is to kill it without hesitation, but if something else is cooler that they come up with, like binding it to some kind of oath, I could let them have it?

  2. An area with four stone slabs, once they all lie on them they’re transported to an endless void where they’re seeing copies of themselves lying on slabs, and four daggers hover in the air. The solution is anything that would imply they wouldn’t betray each other, and that they can act as one. Alternatively, no copies of themselves, or just one dagger, or both. Bonus points if they use it to do some bonding culty shit.

  3. A guardian with an impossible, nonsensical riddle. Perhaps there is some obstacle to the guardian. The solution is to leap kill the guardian, demonstrating defiance and cunning. (edited)

  4. I’m also thinking of having an area that is borderline impossible to complete in the first attempt, with them having to slink off to base, lick their wounds, prepare some specific countermeasure, and take on a second time, proving persistence (edited)
    [but not actually impossible, just really discouraging]

  5. An endless plane of backroomsy maze that they … something… they have to come up with clever ways to mark their location? Film Theory: How To SURVIVE The Backrooms! - YouTube video like

  6. A room where they have to swear an oath. The quality and weight of the oath, if any, is judged. It has to be useful to the city, that the artefact serves.

  7. A room that punishes asking any questions or hesitations, but not in a void, it needs a scenario. Like forking paths of various degrees of preferability.

Very rough ideas. Feedback? New ideas?

Might be a few ideas for a more sentient Dungeon in my list/table here:

So You Didn’t Make It Out Of The Dungeon…

Whilst I seldom find myself using it as intended due to player caution, it does work really well for generating the nightmares they might have from foolishly sleeping within, or as rumors from grizzled survivors about the types of problems/dangers they encountered “down there.”

So this was a long time ago, and it was a group that knew each other very well, in an unconventional campaign setup. My best friend created a “puzzle dungeon” that was basically 3 trials.
The “Hall of Heroes” - there was a magical voice that spoke to us sort of like a movie narrator, or show announcer. This was a very comedic campaign where the temple was very self-aware about calling itself the “Hall of Heroes!!”, so only for “the bravest and most valiant,” etc. etc.
The solution to all 3 puzzles was to walk away. The gladiator room would just allow you to walk to the exit on the other side of the room, whether or not you attempted to fight the “mighty and dangerous opponents, only for the strong of heart.” The wall of death traps would simply disappear if you simply turned 180 and tried going out the corridor that you came in. The “damsel needing rescue” was an illusion, so you could also just walk past that.
Of course, these were really morally ambiguous PC characters, and I have trouble seeing myself in another game like this nowadays. But hey, it was certainly “outside the box!”