D&D Miniatures
Assault the Dark Temple!

Dark Temple

This adventure site lets you randomly generate a small temple devoted to evil. Attacking this temple is an adventure suitable for a party of about 5th level. Before play, roll the random components of the dark temple and make any adjustments you need to make in order to fit your campaign. A dark temple can stand alone as a destination or it can be part of a larger dungeon complex.

Because an adventure site is semi-random, the PCs can be run through a few sites of the same type. Each adventure will be similar without being predictable. You could, for example, have a series of these dark temples spread across the countryside or springing up in large cities. In order to wipe out the cult, adventurers must destroy each of the temples individually. All of the temples are similar in theme because they're dedicated to the same evil deity, but there's enough variation to keep the raids interesting and challenging.

An easy way to personalize the dark temple is to determine who the master is. The role of the master is important for determining the nature of the dark temple and how it fits your campaign.

You can make a dark temple higher level by including multiple champions, haunts, or guard contingents. You can lower the level by eliminating either the champion or the haunt and by reducing the number of guards.

The dark temple is designed to be assaulted as a single adventure. The temple's defenders are likely to attack, or be attacked, in stages. This is challenging for the PCs because it gives them little time to recover between battles. On the other hand, this also helps the PCs because their ongoing spells (such as protection from evil) are likely to last through the entire assault.

If the PCs attack the dark temple and retreat before it's defeated, one of two things is likely to happen. Either the temple forces will increase in anticipation of the PCs' return, or the temple will be abandoned (with glyphs of warding left behind to threaten those who explore the temple). If the master abandons the temple, you can be sure that it will seek out the PCs in the future to exact revenge.

Random Dark Temple

Level 5

Master [EL 6-7]

The master runs the dark temple. Most likely, the master is gathering guards and allies in an attempt to establish a power center that will be key in implementing its evil plans. The master may be a zealot ready to die in battle for the temple's defense, or it may be a craven schemer ready to bolt through a secret escape passage as soon as the PCs' attack threatens its hide.

d% Master
01-25 Bearded Devil (CR 5) + Hell Hound (CR 3)
26-50 Cleric of Gruumsh (CR 4) + Half-Orc Monk (CR 4)
51-75 Drow Cleric of Lolth (CR 7)
76-100 Half-Orc Assassin (CR 6)

Champion [EL 3-5]

The master's champion protects the master and the temple. While a cautious master might hang back to gauge the tide of battle, the champion presses the attack.

d% Champion
01-20 Troll (CR 5)
21-40 Ogre (CR 3)
41-60 Barghest (CR 4)
61-80 Drow Fighter (CR 4)
81-100 Minotaur (CR 4)

Haunt [EL 3-5]

The haunt is an undead creature that resides at the dark temple. It is an ally of the master, though it may be a distant and reclusive creature. Sometimes a haunt prowls the temple grounds and may be encountered early on. More often, the haunt lurks in the temple's inner sanctum, effectively guarding the shrine and the treasure. A haunt might be drawn into battle by the sounds of combat, but not usually.

d% Haunt
01-40 Mummy (CR 5)
41-80 Wraith (CR 5)
81-100 Wight (CR 3)

Guards [EL 3-6]

Guards patrol the dark temple grounds. They are usually spread out rather than concentrated in one area. The master expects the guards to raise the alarm and slow down intruders. Guards may go out on wide perimeter checks, in which case the PCs might encounter some of them outside the dark temple itself.

d% Guards
01-25 1d6+3 Skeletons, Zombies, and Wolf Skeletons (CR 1/3, 1/2, and 1)
26-50 1d4+2 Half-Orc Fighters, Orc Spearfighters, Orc Berserkers, Orc Archers, and Orc Warriors (CR 2, 2, 1, 1, and 1/2)
51-75 1d3+1 Kuo-Toas (CR 2)
76-100 1d3 Hell Hounds (CR 3)

Prowlers [EL 2]

Prowlers are creatures that lurk on the outskirts of the dark temple. They are scavenging for food and may have been drawn by the scent of corpses (the remains of human sacrifices). The PCs might encounter prowlers as they approach or spy on the dark temple. A fight with prowlers might alert the temple's guards to the PCs' presence.

d% Guards
01-40 1d3 Ghouls (CR 1)
41-70 1d3 Wolves (CR 1)
71-100 1d3 Hyenas (CR 1)

Trap [EL 0-6]

Place 1d3-1 glyphs of warding somewhere in the dark temple, such as the entrance to the inner sanctum or guarding the treasure. See the CR 4 glyph of warding trap on p. 72 of the DMG.


Roll four random 4th-level treasures and total them up. (If you prefer, roll up one 6th- and one 7th-level treasure for about the same average result.) Place most of the treasure at the inner sanctum and some in the master's private quarters. Magic items that are useful against the PCs may be in the hands of the dark temple's defenders.

In addition, spend the extra gold pieces, if any, that the NPCs have. To keep it simple, and to increase the likelihood that the NPCs have magic items that the PCs appreciate as treasure, you can purchase a few big items for the NPCs rather than a number of less expensive ones.

Dark Temple Layout

Draw up a map as you see fit. The dungeon map from the DMG works very well, and all you need do is pick an entrance, decide where the doors are, and identify the rooms and their contents. Dark temples typically include the following features: inner sanctum, master's quarters, guard barracks, unholy shrine, atrium, guardrooms, crypt/catacombs, treasury, armory, guard posts, prison cells, larder, library/study. (In a subsequent article, we'll tell you how you can randomly create the temple layout, too, using a standard deck of playing cards.)


Often, when you have rolled up some random features, a backstory or theme suggests itself. Add and change whatever details you like in order to help the dark temple hold together as an interesting adventure site.


Not every raid on a dark temple needs to be for the purpose of destroying the temple. Perhaps the acolytes have taken hostages who must be rescued before they are sacrificed. Perhaps the only foe that really needs to be slain is the master because any other survivors will disperse without his controlling influence. Perhaps the temple contains a foul altar that, if blessed, will lose its potency and disrupt the deity's power or force the temple's followers to disband. If the PCs can accomplish their goal while avoiding most combat, the creatures in the temple can be of higher level (which encourages players to avoid them). Conversely, it may be crucial that everyone in the temple is killed or captured, with none getting away. In that case, their levels may need to be lowered slightly.

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