I'm starting to gear up for North Texas RPGCon, and realizing that there's a lot to do. I already slipped my deadline for finishing the Core Rules in time to have some at the Con, and now I'm looking at other crowded deadlines I'd set for myself ... Knockspell #6, two adaptations of modules from PF into Swords & Wizardry, and most importantly, re-loading Mythrus Tower and probably extending the map for when the parties explore deeper into the dungeon this time.
Plus, I'm working with Robert S. Conley on a campaign, and I don't want to drag feet on my side of that project.
Fortunately, real life's not throwing curve balls or fast balls toward me at the moment, but I'm getting a constant barrage of slow pitches that I still need to hit. Getting kids to band practice, to choir, to work, and to Tae Kwon Do. Running the polls at the last city election, etc.
So, I offer a very quick feature for a dungeon or outdoor adventure, which is "busy ants."
Busy ants are busy carrying various items in a random compass direction (d8). If a busy-ant encounter is rolled, there will actually be 1d4+3 times that the party finds some. Each time, roll for the item being carried:
1) Bits of flesh, (2) little sticks, (3) parts of what appears to have been a painted canvas, (4) long pieces of string, (5) feathers, (6) pebbles.
Since the ants are always headed in the same direction, and since you are rolling to see what they are carrying, these encounters may, as they accumulate, cause the characters to believe that something important is going on. In point of fact, the ants are just busy.
... unless, of course, they are building an animated colossus out of string, flesh, pebbles, feathers, etc. Or bringing sacrifices to one. Or making a nest for some huge ant. One never knows.
Hex Crawl 23 #250: The Screen of Hail and Dust
3 hours ago