Dungeons & Dragons Online

The White Room, or How To Make Your Players Paranoid And Afraid (Again)

Happy new year, everyone! This here January marks the one-year anniversary of when I started making these monsters to share with y'all(well, specifically the 22nd of this month, but I am impatient), and I just wanted to voice my appreciation to you all. From all the super helpful folks over in the discord who help me workshop my ideas, to the people who have messaged me to tell me how their experiences with the monsters went, to every single commenter (I read every comment, and I love all of them. Except for that one dude who went on a rant about boob mimics.), thank you from the bottom of my heart! I really feel like I've gotten a lot better at my designing over the course of this year, and a huge part of that is thanks to all of you.

As many of you might know, by far my most popular creation is the Possum. I didn't expect it to get that kind of reception, and it gave me the drive I needed to keep cranking out horrors. So, I've prepared a little something for you all. This monster is intended to be a sort of spiritual successor to the Possum, in tone, usage, wacky mechanics and general weirdness. I really don't know if I'll be able to capture the lightning in a bottle that was the Possum again, but as long as even one person gets some use out of this I'll be happy.

So now, please enjoy… the White Room.

As usual, you are free to use/modify/reflavor/whatever my creations, my only rule is that you have to let me know how it goes! If you have any questions or critiques, please let me know in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them.

Google Drive link


Introduction

A home is an important thing to have. While there have certainly been no small share of meaningful individuals who roam from place to place or simply live on the road, there is a sense of security from having a place to call your own that few other things can offer. This is not limited to just the societies of sapients either, for there are many simple animals that are proud owners of a den. Some, such as the snail or tortoise, take things a step further and bring their home with them on their back, ready to retreat into at a moment’s notice. Of course, the downside is that their shells are cumbersome things, and offer no room to maneuver or fight back once inside. But there is another creature that carries its home with it that has neither of these weaknesses. It moves like a wisp of smoke, and its lair is no mere shelter. It is a proper domain, like the den of a lion or the hive of a wasp, and those who foolishly enter it will find themselves at the mercy of the White Room.

The creature and its lair share the same name, for they are inexorably linked together, two parts of the same whole. Some have theorized that the room is in fact some part of the monster’s body, placed and expanded through some strange spatial distortion. This theory holds some credence, as the two have a similar appearance. The monster is a lithe, hairy beast with a coat of stark-white fur, bright and pure as snow. The only hint of color is the two beady blood-red eyes that peer out from the head. The creature’s razor-sharp claws and teeth are retractable, perfectly adapted to quietly slip out and take a life, taking care not to stain its coat until the final bloody blow. The chamber that it preys in is an empty room of the same blinding white, allowing for perfect camouflage. No shadows are present in this colorless void, making the geometry of the lair impossible to read even if it didn’t seem to change constantly, the shifting walls serving to let the beast hide and corral its victims. This confusion is paramount in the monster’s hunting strategy, using its prey’s own perception as a weapon against them.

The White Room’s abilities are unique, but so are its behaviors and utilization of such. With a portable lair comes many opportunities, so the clever monster takes full advantage of the element of surprise, setting up a trap for more intelligent prey. It slinks into a building in the dead of night, its wispy fur silhouetted against the darkness, and finds its first door. A certain door, chosen for reasons we can’t entirely understand. And then it gets to work. The process by which the White Room implants its lair is unknown, as it has never been observed. It is a slow process, taking nearly an hour, but once done there is little to no trace of the tampering, save for thin strands of white gathered around the doorframe. The trap is complete. Then, the hunt begins properly. The monster seems to prefer killing in the safety of its lair, even if there is ample opportunity to silence a sleeping victim forever. Perhaps it is some anxious instinct, perhaps the monster takes advantage of the chamber as a storeroom for its food, or perhaps the lair is the beast’s very stomach itself. A chilling thought. Regardless, the White Room utilizes its full cunning to lure or chase prey to one of its chosen gateways. Now, whenever an unsuspecting victim opens the door, they shall find only a blank chamber… with the exit far on the other side. Tempting them. Waiting for them. And the monster hidden in plain sight, eager to make the pure white floor blossom red.


How and When to use it

The White Room is a very visual monster, so understandably some of its abilities are also best described via visuals. I’ll be including some diagrams in the google drive version to explain some of the weirder aspects of the monster. Also, for a good idea of the tone to go for and how the monster works, try watching this clip from Samurai Jack.

The major mechanic/theme of an encounter with the White Room is not being able to trust your eyes. However, whereas that phrase usually entails being given false positives (illusions, holograms, disguises, etc) the White Room instead gives false negatives. Instead of seeing a wall where there is none, they see a none where there is wall (that sentence is the closest I’ve ever come to having a stroke). It also isn’t anything as simple as invisibility, which could potentially be seen through with spells or by watching for footprints, although it achieves the same effect. The end goal is stranding the players in an informationless void, where they have to scramble to latch onto the slightest scrap that will let them get out of there alive. Withholding information is an excellent way to generate fear, especially when there’s a threat at hand that they know they need that information to defeat. The information in this case is the monster’s position, so focus on obscuring and rapidly changing that as much as possible.

The White Room is nothing without its namesake lair, so you’re gonna have to find some way to ensure that they at least encounter the lair. You can’t force them to go through, but you can sure as hell incentivize it. While they’re sleeping through the night at a mansion/inn/jail/what have you, have the monster sneak in and install its trap in some doors. Preferably in the way of all of their possible routes out of the building. A normal long rest is 8 hours, so you’ll have around 8 doors to work with, or half of that if there’s an elf in the party who tends to snoop around. So when the gang goes out to resume their adventure/find out where the other guests got off to, they’ll open the door as normal and suddenly be greeted by a very different scene. Obviously, they may not initially choose to go through, so have the active door shift around to cut them off, only confusing them more and more as various doors alternate between normalcy and a white void. If you really need to, and if you think the party will fall for it, consider having the monster itself exit the chamber and try to chase them in. Remember, it can change the active door even when it’s not inside the chamber itself. This could also potentially be used to allow the White Room to rapidly move around the larger structure, popping into the demiplane before changing the door and popping back out somewhere else. This will lead to a terrifying chase scene where the monster keeps cutting the party off at every turn, adapting to their movements on the fly and herding them towards its lair. If you do this, keep in mind that while it looks scarier when you can actually see it, it’s actually far weaker outside of its lair. So, a good strategy would be to use an Intimidation check to frighten the party first, so that they can’t approach it to take advantage of its weakness. Desperate to get away, they’ll eventually be left with no choice but to run, right into its white chamber of death.

Now, nothing screams “trap” like a perfectly empty room popping up out of nowhere. Which will only put the party’s nerves more on edge when they finally go through (that is, if they don’t decide to jump out a window or something instead and take some fat ankle-shattering damage). So they’ll be going through, likely expecting an ambush. And they’ll be right, of course! But just because they could see it coming doesn’t mean they’ll be able to see it coming. One of the first moves I’d recommend making is immediately using Rearrange to block off both exits. It might take the party a second to even realize what has happened, a white veil just extending out from the wall and hiding any trace of both the exits and itself. Doing this will use up two out of the ten allotted walls, but it’s well worth the price.

Once the party is trapped in the demiplane, there are a couple different ways you can run things. One smart tactic is immediately using more Rearrange to split the party up, or at least give the impression that they’re split up. Placing thin walls between them will block off their line of sight to each other, and even if they could still easily turn the corner to find each other, the fact that they can’t see where a wall starts and ends will make it seem like they’re stranded further away. If you’re really mean, you could completely entrap one party member with walls on each side, letting the White Room descend on them to attack with less fear of retaliation. Of course, if the White Room can get to the victim the other party members probably can too, provided they can locate them and navigate the invisible geometry. Another potential way to introduce the White Room is to have it break camouflage for just a moment, blinking its red eyes and opening its razor grin. The trick is, only have it reveal itself to one party member. Then, you can have the classic “Guys, over there!” and when the rest turn to look, it has gone back to blending in. But now, everyone is conveniently looking in one direction, possibly admonishing the bell-ringer, providing an excellent opportunity for it to sneak attack them.

No matter how you introduce it, you should always be trying to keep the White Room on the move. Attacking reveals its position, after all, so keep darting around. It won’t provoke attacks of opportunity if the players still can’t pick it out from the environment, so don’t worry about that. Hit-and-run tactics are your friend, both strategically and in giving the party a sense of dread. Go more aggressive as long as the White Room is clean, and if it gets dirtied then have it focus on breaking line of sight and cleaning itself up. Of course, if it has to use its lair action to clean itself then it can’t rearrange the demiplane, removing an element of uncertainty for another round and allowing the players to fight back! The more the players mark up the clean, white chamber, the more of an advantage they’ll gain. Throwing splashes of color around is a great way for them to visually measure their progress, and is also nice and satisfying. If the White Room gets below half health, it may also get sloppier and angrier, using Spill Blood far more frequently, only adding to whatever mess the party has already created. However, consider having the White Room be the first one to paint on the empty canvas. The sudden, intense violence of Spill Blood on an otherwise pristine battlefield is an excellent sudden shock, and a good way to startle players into action. You’ll always get at least one shot at using it, and everytime you land it the fight will last just a bit longer. It’s a powerful weapon and more importantly, a reminder to the players that this is the monster’s playing field. And they are not the ones in control.

In short, the White Room is a monster that brings its lair with it wherever it goes. It is a living trap that no matter how much the party might see it coming, they will still be caught off guard by.


White Room

Medium Monstrosity, Neutral Evil CR: 5

AC: 14 68/68 HP Prof. Bonus: +3

Speed: 40 ft, climb 30 ft

Languages: None

STR: 14(+2) DEX: 19(+4) CON: 9(-1) INT: 10(0) WIS: 13(+1) CHA: 13(+1)

Saving Throws: CHA +4

Skills: Stealth +7, Acrobatics +7, Sleight of Hand +7, Intimidation +4

Senses: 60 ft Blindsight while within lair, Perception 11

Damage Resistances: Radiant

Condition Immunities: Charmed

White Void: The White Room has a demiplane connected to it taking the form of an entirely empty, bright white cubical chamber made out of an unknown solid material, 90 ft across on all sides. The entire chamber is filled with bright light, rendering it shadowless, and can be used to trigger the Sunlight Sensitivity trait. There are two entrances to and from the demiplane while it is active, located opposite from each other on the edges of the chamber. Organic material does not rot within the demiplane.

In order to create an entrance to the demiplane, the White Room must spend 1 hour uninterrupted affixing itself to any functional door that fulfills certain criteria. The door must be solid, with no gaps or windows, and both sides of the door must open into an enclosed space. Magically protected doors cannot be connected to. The White Room can have any number of doors attached to the demiplane, but only one door may actively lead into the demiplane at a time. If a door is active, then upon opening the door it will open into the demiplane instead of its normal destination, with the exit on the other side.

The White Room knows the locations of all creatures within its demiplane at all times, and automatically succeeds any Perception checks made while inside the chamber.

The demiplane is disconnected from the outside world if the White Room falls unconscious, dies, or chooses to deactivate it. When deactivated, all living creatures in the demiplane are ejected out through the last door on which it was active, including the White Room itself if it chooses.

The White Room may freely travel to and from its demiplane even when disconnected, in exchange for taking 2 levels of Exhaustion upon doing so. If it exits the demiplane in this way, it is teleported to a random location within 5 miles of the most recent entrance to the demiplane.

If the demiplane is destroyed by any means, the White Room dies, and its body collapses in on itself.

Pure White: The White Room blends in perfectly to its chamber, aside from its eyes. If it is clean and has no other colors or identifying marks on it, it is treated as Invisible while in its lair. Upon dealing damage, it must make a DC 14 Sleight Of Hand check to avoid dirtying itself with blood in order to maintain this invisibility. It automatically fails this check if it uses Spill Blood. It is dirtied whenever it takes slashing, piercing, fire, acid, necrotic or lightning damage, or when a creature marks it by any other clearly visible means. The White Room may make a DC 20 Stealth check as an action to clean itself up.

Blind Spot: While hidden or Invisible, the White Room has advantage on attack rolls.

In addition, as long as it is hidden, Invisible or no other creatures have a line of sight to it, it may instantly move to any other point within its chamber that fulfills these conditions by using 20 ft of its movement.

Actions:

Multiattack: The White Room makes two attacks with its Claws. If it has a target grappled, it may instead use its Spill Blood. If it is below half of its maximum HP, it may make one Claw attack and one Spill Blood attack if it grapples with the first attack.

Claws: Melee weapon attack, +5 to hit, reach 5 ft, single target. 1D8+2 slashing damage, on hit the White Room can choose to grapple a target (escape DC 14) instead of dealing damage.

Spill Blood: (Recharge 4-6) Melee weapon attack, +5 to hit, reach 5 ft, single target. 3D8+2 piercing damage, on hit the White Room is dirtied, and until the end of their next long rest the target’s max HP is reduced by half of the damage dealt. The White Room also gains temporary HP of the same amount.

If this attack misses, it automatically recharges.

Lair Actions:

Relocate: The current active door to and from the demiplane is changed to any other door within the same structure that the White Room has successfully connected with. This ability can be used even if the White Room is not within the demiplane, as long as it is within the same structure.

Rearrange: Up to five 5 ft x 10 ft walls invisibly extrude from any static surface in any clean, unoccupied and unmarked location. The walls can be between 1 inch and 5 ft thick, and can be placed in any orientation. Instead of creating a wall, an existing wall may be removed. The maximum number of walls that can be placed at any given time is 10, at which point any new walls will require an old one to be removed.

The walls count as total cover, and block vision. The location of the walls cannot be determined by creatures other than the White Room unless they pass a DC 17 Perception check, which is reduced to DC 10 if the wall is dirtied.

Blank Slate: (1/Day) The White Room removes any marks or stains from either itself, or from an area no larger than a 10 ft cube. This does not require any checks or rolls.

Inspired by Superliminal, Swamp Thing’s Monkey King, and that one episode of Samurai Jack

Thanks to TigerT20, HairBearHero, WoodInTheHoodUpToNoGood, Concretedevil for feedback, and my irl homies for playtesting

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