5 Despicable Ways To Kill Players

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

From time to time being the DM can be extra special rewarding by killing players in inventive and often unstoppable ways. Here are a few ideas.

5. Secret Passage into Dungeon

It’s common in any RPG to find a secret door or passageway. Nobody says it has to end in a treasure room. Recently I had players find a secret passageway deep into a dungeon. It was actually the entrance to a famous high level assassin. It was a near TPK (Total Party Kill)

4. Black Pudding

Nothing as entertaining as a puddle in the middle of a passageway that melts flesh and metal. Save vs Dex or lose your fancy new armor!

3. Gelatinous Cube

Being a cube that is a perfect ten feet on each side, this nearly invisible dungeon inhabitant cleans the dungeon, even of wandering players.

2. Yellow Mold

The treasure room was filled with wonderful yellow gold, or was it? One touch fills the room with deadly spores that kill on a failed Save vs Con (DC20).

1. Green Slime

The most sinister of ambush predators, green slime often clings to walls and ceilings and drops down by surprise. Once in contact with flesh, it sticks and turns the flesh into green slime. It cannot be scraped off, but may be burnt off (or treated with a Cure Disease spell).

What are some of the best hazards that have terrorized your players? Post a comment below.

6 thoughts on “5 Despicable Ways To Kill Players

  1. Better yet, incorporate green slime/yellow mold/black pudding/gelantinous cube into a nefarious trap. For example, the party finds a trap door in the ceiling. Some poor sucker has to open it, and when they do they get a face full of green slime (or pudding, mold, carnivorous jello, etc.). A sporting DM might give the PCs some warning, such as a big pile of bones underneath the trap door…or not.



  2. Anything that requires Save vs Death isn’t sporting, in fact it’s a bit boring. You need to allow your players the illusion that their choices matter and by being clever enough they can avoid the carefully constructed murder dungeon the DM has built.
    Try this for size, the party find a door, it isn’t magical and it doesn’t appear to be trapped, however on a good listen check the party will hear the sound of flowing water behind the door. If opened the door is opened a tidal wave knocks everyone in the passage over and pushes anything unsecured 10′ a round backwards … towards the spiked pit in the last encounter. There are a dozen ways for a prepared party to survive this encounter but there is a clear risk of death.


  3. I’ve used all but number 5… for extra DM dickery points, the time that a black pudding showed up in a module I was running and did them over royally, I decided that in the next room there would be barrels and a ominous black puddle. After the PCs looked at me with a sort of “you bastard — another one?!?” look and went to preemptively commit arson on everything in the room, then and only then did I say “and as the tar in the center of the room burns merrily…”


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