A d100 list of found objects, unexpected sights, and strange encounters for your players to experience within a drow city.
Surface tales of the drow speak of dank caverns, hovels dripping with mold, a vile and harsh existence far from the warmth of the sun. Nothing could be further from the truth: dark and alien beauty aplenty and amoral decadence can be found in any drow city. The curious gaze marvels at towering stone structures, intricate web-patterns, and down dark alleyways kept immaculately clean by legions of slaves and servitor creatures. Intrigue, danger and a swift and merciless death lurk around every corner. A frightening, yet incredibly gorgeous world awaits.
Your adventurers took the risk of traversing the Underdark in pursuit of the dark elves. It would be a shame if they did not have a good look around!
When using this list, feel free to choose any options you particularly like. You can also let fate decide and roll a d100. Every fifth option in the list is more consequential than the rest, so roll a d20 and multiply by 5 if you want to ensure a truly unique encounter for your party.
1. A necklace of mimic teeth.
2. A bard performing the ballad “Heart of a Matron.”
3. A metal cylinder with no opening. When turned over it emits a rumbling sound.
4. Symbol of a lawful good deity etched in the stone of a doorway.
5. A cleric preaches about the blessings of mushrooms while an acolyte hands out samples of fungi. The effects vary from illness to hallucinations to an increased sensory susceptibility, and none are deadly.
6. Children play a game of marbles with preserved eyeballs in the street.
7. A pet shop full of exotic Underdark creatures.
8. A massive cavern’s entrance sign reads “Spider & Lizard Rider Training Facility.”
9. A gelatinous cube street cleaner and its acid-scarred handler.
10. Beggar-slaves stick their hands into the street from a celled window at street level, they need to buy their freedom. In truth they are members of the local thieves’ guild who use the abandoned jail as a ruse to empty the pockets of gullible non-drow visitors.
11. A narrow spiral staircase carved from the stone leads down into the darkness.
12. A letter with the royal seal of a surface kingdom, unopened. It lies in a dirty puddle.
13. A purple opal in the shape of a snake.
14. An auction of captured humanoids is taking place in the square.
15. A blood-weave artist known only as K.Q. installs art throughout the city. The latest installation appears to be a body with fungi growing over it in a hypnotic pattern, suspended from strands of drider silk. The artwork is strange and beautiful, if twisted.
16. After visiting for several days, the party is denied entrance to their favorite tavern.
17. A fine crafted whip of spider silk.
18. An oddity shop filled with mundane surface items.
19. Lord Mordae’s Guide to Savage Etiquette Volume III, left on a barrel.
20. [Encounter] An abandoned warehouse filled with egg-sacs of various sizes. Something moves in the shadows overhead, a horrible experiment to be sure!
21. Poster for a performance by Yaga’s Horsemen, one night only.
22. An unguarded cart filled with bolts of hardened spider silk interwoven with filaments of precious ore.
23. A cavern of rainbow-colored mushroom cheese, a drow specialty.
24. Various instruments of torture decorate the windows of a shop. A sign in the window reads “Daily Demonstrations, Volunteers Welcome!” in Undercommon.
25. While wandering, a character is handed an invitation on Kllellek paper inviting the party to a secret party. Dress is elegant formal wear. Gifts to the host are expected.
26. Two rival dens of iniquity are looking for new patrons.
27. A traveling circus filled with Underdark denizens has come to town.
28. A drow impersonating a member of the party keeps showing up where the party is.
29. A fragrant flowering bush. The eight crimson petals and center resemble a spider. Flowers sighs when picked, shudders when touched.
30. A drow offers the party riches beyond their wildest dreams if they entertain her desires for 1d6 days. She refuses to pay ahead of time. After the service she provides a confusing map as reward. It leads the party to a dragon’s treasure hoard if they can decipher the map.
31. A wavy dagger with the words ‘feed me’ in Undercommon is stuck into the wall.
32. A tiny music box plays a drow lullaby—the sound reliably creates nightmares.
33. A walkway lined with bleached skulls of various creatures leads to a tavern filled with similar decor inside.
34. A young male begs to see the surface world.
35. The adventurers stumble upon a secret ceremony—a bonding ritual between two drow lovers. It involves a mutual spilling of blood.
36. A tiny cage with a phosphorescent spider.
37. A nearly invisible spider web hangs high above the city. The pattern changes daily, and nobody ever sees the spiders responsible.
38. A perfume bottle. The scent smells pleasant to carnivores and creatures who enjoy drinking blood. Others only smell rotting meat.
39. Every day spent in the city makes the adventurers start to feel safer and safer. Too safe.
40. Late at night chanting can be heard on various cross streets. A source cannot be found. It stops after 1d4 days. The next morning after chanting ceases, the earth rumbles for 1d12 minutes. Damage is minor.
41. The relic of the First House is a fake magic item. Only a few people know it has no power.
42. A disease is ravaging the city. It only affects those of noble blood. But all of them?
43. A drow child cries out for help; they are lost and look for their mother. This is a distraction. Their co-conspirator pickpockets any who stop to help.
44. A ladder on the side of a cavern wall leads up to a ledge overlooking the entire city.
45. A demon lord is looking for a rare artifact. It turns up in the party’s possession.
46. A warehouse holding crates of salt bound for the surface bears the mark of a familiar merchant.
47. A mysterious cabal has taken up residence near the city gates.
48. A vial labeled lover’s tears.
49. An eight-fingered silver filigree glove encrusted with onyx and bloodstones.
50. [Encounter] Stone steps lead to an opening under a building. Light flickers from the hallway. Snippets of conversation can be heard.
51. A statue of elf corpses beneath a massive drider sits at the center of a fountain. The water is the color of rust. Coins glitter below the surface.
52. A wrought iron gate surrounds ancient mausoleums of past dark elf houses. It is in the Old City, which doubles as the undead/necromancer’s district.
53. A beautiful complex maze behind a manor house features deadly flora and fauna. For every hour spent here one level of exhaustion is healed…if one is not eaten by the maze’s denizens.
54. A small stall sells a confectioner’s treat of spun web and sweet fungus powder called “Icky Sticky.”
55. Two male drow wizards duel to the death in the street. When one finally falls, the crowd disperses leaving the dead where he lay. After some time, a woman comes to claim the body. She has been crying.
56. Someone is selling tickets to the “Sun-sation Chamber.” It is only 250 gp to experience the pain and pleasure of sunlight.
57. A bright pink feather. It is cursed. Whoever touches it begins to grow pink feathers over their skin. Remains until the curse is removed.
58. Boots of Dark Elvenkind. Instead of enhancing Stealth they grant advantage on Athletics checks made to climb.
59. A stray small spider follows the party around as they travel throughout the city. It sports a collar that reads “Itsy” in Elvish.
60. Signs of conflict; scrawled writings, whispers in taverns hint at an impending insurrection against the houses and societal structure.
61. A note in a character’s pocket says, “meet me later,” with no other instructions.
62. Advertisements for Twelve Souls Wine, the latest brew from Dark Mother’s Brewery. Only the original sports a drop of authentic Red-Stripe poison for that special “Zing” you love!
63. All the lights in the city, including phosphorescent fungi and insects, flicker and turn off, leaving total darkness. They are restored after a few seconds. This happens every 1d4 days. No one seems worried.
64. A tavern entrance made of bone caltrop flooring. A sign reads “bare feet only.”
65. [Encounter] A group of humans are removed from the back of a caged wagon and led into a dark tunnel. It leads to slave pits.
66. A book titled “The Bane of Butcher Cavern.”
67. The new moon market arrives selling exotic goods. It is gone by morning.
68. A humanoid sailor offers cavern river tours through the Underdark.
69. A drow fortune teller asks a character to pick a card. The card bears a likeness to an ally of the party bowing to the Spider Goddess. She says it is a sign of betrayal.
70. A pamphlet blows towards the party on a magical wind. It reads “Ask for Saladrin at the Black Gate Tavern.”
71. A massive tree-shaped fungus at the entrance to a tunnel leading away from town has thousands of origami spiders hanging from it. No one seems to know what the purpose is.
72. An exclusive restaurant boasts unique cuisine. Humanoid stew is the house special.
73. A waterfall flows from the cavern roof high above. Local legend says blessings come upon those who bathe in it. Doing so grants effects of a short rest. Only works once per month.
74. A ring carved from a single ruby. It is cursed and once put on it will not come off without great effort. When worn, the character feels tired all the time and can’t get rid of one level of exhaustion.
75. In a narrow alley a gitwerc and a drow are whispering, heads bent conspiratorially together. The moment they realize they are not alone they separate down different paths in a hurry.
76. A hall/alley filled with spider webs which cling to any trespassers. The rest of the day a character feels like something is crawling on them. Nothing is.
77. A blacksmith claims to make one of a kind armor using a drop of the patron’s blood.
78. An obsidian staff leaning against a wall that works as a wand of web.
79. A male drow servant whispers in a male character’s ear “Your freedom is not your own.”
80. The party overhears a group of well-armed adventurers pass by while chatting about returning to the secret location for the rest of the treasure tomorrow.
81. Rumors of an ahool bloodmaster living near the ceiling of the cavern.
82. Someone is kidnapping lesser daughters of drow houses. They return after a few days but cannot remember what happened. They appear unharmed.
83. A merchant drops a case of potions at the party’s feet and demands they pay for them.
84. The party finds a magic hat. It is a pocket dimension, and a humanoid is trapped inside as punishment. Creatures can be placed inside by a short incantation. They enter a stasis and require no food, air, sleep, etc. to survive.
85. A simple children’s picture book titled “Spiders of the Underdark.” When read aloud swarms of spiders burst from the pages.
86. A cavern is blocked off for the “Running of the Bulette.” Young adventurers and drow social climbers challenge each other to compete.
87. A goblin is selling small lizards. They eventually grow into cave drakes, but buyers are unaware.
88. An old male drow sits outside the entrance to a major house for 1 hour every day, before leaving a bouquet of Underdark flowers. They are always retrieved by a house servant.
89. Multiple demonic shrines are scattered through the city. Paying gold or blood tribute offers a unique boon (like advantage on a skill check or attack roll.) Repeat offerings can have dire consequences, as the allegiances and rivalries of demons are complex.
90. Multiple shrines to the Spider Queen are scattered through the city. Paying gold or blood tribute offers a boon (like advantage on a skill check or attack roll.) 2d6 repeated offerings by a good character results in changes to personality (greedy, murderous rage, etc.)
91. A spider silk couture shop run by a blind arach’tsala drider.
92. A satchel filled with humanoid hair.
93. A swarm of tiny dark fey buzz like gnats. They seek to draw blood.
94. Someone shouts “Run.” An angry mob bursts from a nearby street.
95. A barbaric stockade is set in a city square. It binds hands and feet in such a way that the bound prisoner is injured every time they move. The party knows the humanoid currently being held.
96. A necklace of a bone hand clutching soap. Once per day at dawn it cleans the grime from the person who wears it.
97. A powerful sorceress was killed in a rival city, creating a power void. War is brewing.
98. The Black Sapphire, a famous thief was spotted near the slums.
99. A fog settles over the city. It lasts for 1d4+2 days before dissipating.
100. [Encounter] All this exploration has gained the attention of a matron mother. The party is summoned by half the house guards. To refuse would mean certain death, but what does it mean to answer?