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The Crypt Thing - ever used/experienced one?


First Post
The AD&D1 crypt thing is one of those monsters that always intrigued me. Basically, it was just a skeleton sitting, waiting in a dungeon room. When adventures encountered it, it would teleport them to random places in the dungeon.


^ Image out of the AD&D1 Fiend Folio, from The Head of Vecna blog.

It seemed to be designed specifically for those sprawling mega-dungeons that early D&D was designed around. And although I did create a few sprawling mega-dungeons for my own early D&D games, and I did place at least one crypt thing in such a dungeon, I never actually used it in play.

Nowadays, as much as I'd like to run a sprawling mega-dungeon game, I think the crypt thing's modus operandi would be more complication and frustration (for me as DM) than cool encounter. Teleporting the PCs to various, and separate, locations throughout the dungeon would just make running the game too convoluted.

Have you ever run an encounter with a crypt thing? What were the results? Was it fun or frustrating?


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First Post
I have used said monster since I didn't start until 2e, but I think there could be a good use for such a thing. I agree it could result in mostly frustration, but if done right it could be cool.

My idea would be to make a small dungeon, maybe with a few large rooms and lots of interconnected hallways. Some of the rooms would have monsters that would keep spawning. Such as a pit of black goup that coughed up 1 zombie every 10 rounds or so. Have another room has a crack in the ceiling where a bat flies out 1 every 10 rounds or so, or maybe an orc claws his way down through. Also, have the hallways shift every so often, so some close and some open up.

Stick the crypt thing in a central room, something they need to get past to get out or get what they came for, and every time it teleports them they will end up in of those rooms. A fight will ensue, since the enemies will have had time to build up, then the hallways will cause a little confusion, and probably some enemies will have spilled out into them as well. Maybe some hallways would have spawn points as well.

Something like this could be fun, but there would have to be some kind of puzzle or something that would allow you to get back to the crypt thing after a few tries.

Just an idea

the Jester

Yes, several- perhaps even "many"- times.

Most memorably is the one in the Gates of Firestorm Peak, who teleported several pcs into a deadly room full of wraiths while the ones that made their save against being teleported... realized that they had better find their buddies in a hurry!


First Post
I used one in a small dungeon, back in 2e times. The random teleport was just a d6 roll against six predetermined locations. Most of them were inconvenient (outside the dungeon), but a couple would require the character be rescued (inside a cell). None would be immediately dangerous.

Worked pretty well. Five characters out of seven vanished. The two remaining ones had to decide whether to attack the thing or leave. They attacked and destroyed it, then decided to press on with the assumption that anyone behind them would catch up, and they might need to rescue anyone teleported ahead of them.

Those teleported away were only out for about an hour of gaming time, except for someone teleported to the village they started at, who decided to go shopping. In all it worked as an effective encounter, but I knew my players well enough to know what they'd put up with.


First Post
:: Spoiler Alert ::

Clarshh's Sepulchre by Willie Walsh is one of my favorite Dungeon adventures and it prominently features a Crypt Thing at the end of the adventure. I've run this as a one-shot several times and it has worked great. The teleport ability allows the adventure to turn suddenly from a combat encounter to a search and rescue mission, which can be a really fun plot twist for the players. It is one of the few monsters I really like from the Fiend Folio.


I used one as a security system in an ancestral tomb. It was a sprawling complex used by an order of evil-ish religious knights. Occasionally, one would volunteer their bodies to be used to guard the tombs against would-be grave robbers, and they'd be turned into a Crypt Thing.

I made my Crypt Thing mobile, however. It would endlessly patrol the tombs, expelling invaders who had no rights to be there (non-knights of the order or their guests). It worked in a PCs favor when he was visiting the tomb of his recently deceased grandfather. The PC was of the order of knights, and some grave robbers who broke into the tomb ended up being scattered, allowing the PC to hunt them down as individuals, instead of having to face them as a group.


Planning on using one in the near future. Will be using the 'random teleport = randomly sent to one of several predetermined locations' mechanic.


I used this creature as a tomb protector a few times. I never made it mobile, but I always had it at the mid-point of the tomb guarding the door that led further in. Someone would usually get transported although I can't remember the instances except one...

The group were moving through some hills (Cairn) and smelled something rotting. Undead during High Summer (they think) and off they go. They came across a low hill found bodies all across the top of it. They searched, found some decent treasure on the bodies, and the door to the tomb at the base of the hill. Thinking something unintelligent left the dead and the gear up top, they entered to slay the creature... Midway through, they encounter the Crypt Thing and it about a third of the group failed (2 or 3). I sent those players out of the room (which is what I always due when the group gets split). The others destroyed the crypt thing and moved around the smallish tomb looking for their comrades (I remember having a player who "knew" it was a Crypt Thing and wanted to find the other players. Being near the end of the gaming sesssion, I lef the game room and told the others their fate and sent them home, about an hour early. This was HIGHLY suspicious to the other group and they spent nearly the whole hour scouring the tomb. Not finding thier friends, they decided to leave.... and found them on the top of the hill, broken from the fall they had taken when the CT teleported them straight into the air.

Ahh, the good ol' days when high falls always killed without magical aid... or at least they did in my campaigns.



Victoria Rules
I used one once, it was very disappointing, most of the party made their saves and those who didn't got lucky anyway as they weren't teleported very far at all.

Thanks for reminding me of it, though - I'll have to lob one in somewhere soon, see if it works any better this time. :)



I used one back in 2E, and I was rather disappointed with it. It zapped one character some distance away outside the dungeon before it got scragged, and I spend the next two hours with the characters trying to find the missing character.

I'm placing one in the Secret City campaign I'm building for Pathfinder, but I intend to have the teleport channeled to a specific location this time around, instead of a random one.

<Edit:> I'd love to do a crypt thing that's like the stone angels from [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwFIu4Demx8"]Blink[/ame]
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I've used Crypt Things a few times, but the one I remember best was placed in Roger Moore's _Return of the Eight_, where it resided in the depths of Tenser's castle, as a treasure guardian/historian/sage. Good stuff.


Used one once that just sat in his throne looking over an entrance to the inner sanctum of a tomb. If approached he said nothing but waited for a password to be uttered in order to let people proceed, if not, teleportation madness. Most failed the save and were hopelessly split up. Even had one character teleported back to town. :)


I remember thinking that teleportation was an odd ability for an undead creature's main attack. It made a lot more sense, when I learned that the in its original appearance it was conceived probably more like a construct. An enchanted skeleton that makes dire utterances and teleports people makes a certain amount of sense.


I added one into the first region when I ran the World's Largest Dungeon. Just seemed like a custom built monster for the adventure. :D

Was loads of fun. Tossed the group all sorts of places and they had to be really sneaky to get back together again.

Fun monster, but, something that should not be used too often IMO.


Being such an old and cool monster, if a little weird for the traditional hack and slash dungeon adventure, I'm sure we encountered one at some point, but they aren't as memorable as watching spells bounce off a death knight and getting hit with a 20d6 fireball or wondering if the skeleton is a skeletal warrior and remembering the DnD cartoon episode which had Dekion.

In the FR module Hellgate Keep, two crypt things lurk in the ruins.


Pic or didn't happen. :)


Sorry, but I don't currently own a camera or the cash to buy one. :( I can tell you that it's the Crypt Thing from the AD&D 2e MM, though (and it's done in black and grey, rather than color).

A lot of people mistake it for a Grim Reaper, but every now and again, I'll have somebody on the street go "Dude! Is that a Crypt Thing on your arm?!?" (well, okay, it's happened twice) and that makes it all worthwhile.

It's pretty washed out right now, though (I got it almost 15 years ago).

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