When is a door not a door? When it’s a GULLET OF MADNESS!
Welcome to Hamster Highlight, a column where we take a common or classic trope and take it for a new spin. In keeping with our philosophy of Offbeat Encounters, we provide a few ideas on ways you could use these variant critters in your campaign. Take our ideas or leave ’em, but we’re sure you’ll enjoy ‘em. Of course, you may see these items reappear in other MGSHP products . . .
The Gullet of Madness
The early days of the tabletop roleplaying game industry saw some great innovations in dungeon design, spearheaded by the creators and founders of the games. One of the more hotly debated creations of the period is “gotcha!” monsters – creatures that an adventuring party had no way of knowing were hazardous until it is too late. Among the Gotcha! monsters, perhaps none is so iconic as the mimic.
Never powerful enough to be a real threat, mimics are one of a number of fantasy creatures whose place in the ecosystem actually relies on adventurers. Whether disguised as a chair, a shelf, or a weapon, a mimic is the ultimate bummer monster, one that seems like a prize and quickly turns out to be an annoyance.
But seriously, could one of these things actually prove challenging to a high-level party? Is there a way to make mimics less irritating and more of a creature to be feared?
Possibly and yes. Viewed in context, a creature such as a mimic is a horror, with a niche so specific and bizarre its physiology and rudimentary intelligence are wholly alien. For most adventurers, though, mimics remain nuisance Gotcha! creatures; here is a larger and nastier version to spring on yours.
Using the Gullet of Madness
- Legends say that the entry to a long-lost temple opens like the Maw of Eternity, and trespassers must step upon the Great Tongue to proceed into riches. These “legends” were planted by the Gullet of Madness itself to lure in unsuspecting food.
- The Gullet of Madness bides its time as one of three doors into an old tomb. One is trapped, one is a false door, and the Gullet of Madness is the true entryway but must be defeated to gain passage.
The Gullet of Madness disguises itself as a secret door in the ceiling of a room with no other exits than the door way through which adventurers entered. To complete the trap, the Gullet of Madness places a 5 foot tall block on the floor underneath itself, encouraging adventurers to step upon the block to try and enter the “door.”
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