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26 D&D Temples and adventure hooks

Updated: Feb 24, 2023




D&D adventures begin in taverns, proceed to an underground maze of tunnels and caverns inhabited by monsters terrorising the nearby town, and end with a mound of treasure, don't they? A plot hook or two draws the heroes to the dungeon adventure, and after a pitched battle or two, they emerge victorious with a new magical item or two to their name.


Of course, not all adventures are like this, it is perfectly possible to create an adventure that doesn't begin in a tavern and doesn't feature a dungeon dive. In the next few blogs I'm going to offer a range of alternative setting ideas and adventure concepts, and today we're starting with D&D temples and some adventure hooks to go with them. In most D&D settings where there are sentient creatures, it can be expected that some form or religion or faith exists. This could include worshiping a monotheistic god, a pantheon, or ancestor spirits. It might involve mortals who have been duped by a demon or another powerful entity into seeing them as gods.


Temples are where the gods and their various factions live; some are vast centers of wealth and knowledge in bustling metropolises, while others are remote shrines in the mountains or dark and foreboding monoliths where evil forces are trapped. All temples serve as a bridge between the mortal world and the world of the divine (or diabolical), and the role of the priesthood is to bridge that gap; either to connect the mortal world with the power and wisdom of the gods, or to carry out the agenda of the gods in the mortal world (no matter how dubious that might be).


With this in mind, in a world where the gods exist and play their hand in mortal affairs, temples might be their fortresses and their front line in mortal affairs. Temples are a great way to incorporate the PCs into an ongoing campaign where divine characters and divine PCs have a special significance as party members. The use of temples in the adventure should offer your game a particular tone as the PCs are meddling in the affairs of the gods and therefore it is important to differentiate the temple from other sites the PCs might visit like fortresses or palaces. Whilst one dungeon dive might seem like another, on closer inspection the temple is a different site altogether.


Temples are places of silent worship or contemplation, they are sometimes training sites for monks or paladins to prepare for a life of service. They are places of ritual and even blood sacrifice in your game world, they are places where magical items are consecrated and seats of power for great spiritual leaders, often having more importance in the land than the royal court itself.


Therefore, consider the site and sound, the feel and even the smell of a temple as your players sneak past its guards and defy the gods it was built to worship. Below are a bunch of temple ideas and, for the sake of brevity I've left them as simple outlines/archetypes, each with a quick adventure hook. Please take and adapt them, do what you will with them and make them work for you.


26 temples and adventure hooks


1. Temple of the Raven Queen

This temple is a mausoleum built into a cliffside, adorned with black banners and wrought-iron gates. Dedicated to the goddess of death and fate, it serves as a resting place for the dead and a haven for mourners.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are tasked with recovering a powerful artefact that was stolen from the temple by a group of cultists who seek to bring a powerful lich back to life.


2. Temple of the Storm Lord:

This temple is a towering structure of marble and gold, surrounded by storm clouds and lightning bolts. Dedicated to the god of thunder and lightning, it serves as a centre for weather magic and storm worship.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by the high priest of the temple to retrieve a magical gem that has been stolen by a rival temple of fire-worshippers, who plan to use it to summon a fire elemental that could devastate the surrounding countryside.


3. Temple of the Sun

This temple is a gleaming palace of white stone and golden domes, surrounded by a desert oasis filled with exotic plants and animals. Dedicated to the god of the sun, it serves as a centre for healing and enlightenment.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players must find a lost caravan that was headed to the temple with a valuable artifact - a book of ancient sun-magic that could be used to heal any injury or illness.


4. Temple of the Moon


This temple is a silver-hued grove of tall trees, filled with winding paths and hidden glades. Dedicated to the goddess of the moon, it serves as a center for divination and lunar magic.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to investigate strange occurrences in the forest that are believed to be caused by a curse from the moon goddess - animals acting strangely, people disappearing under the light of the full moon, and a creeping sense of unease that pervades the area.


5. Temple of the Sea


This temple is a towering lighthouse built on a rocky island, surrounded by crashing waves and hidden coves. Dedicated to the god of the sea, it serves as a centre for navigation and protection.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by the high priest to investigate a series of shipwrecks that have been occurring near the island, possibly caused by a sea monster or rival sea-worshippers who seek to disrupt the temple's influence.


6. Temple of the Hunt


This temple is a sprawling game reserve, filled with forests, plains, and mountains teeming with wild beasts. Dedicated to the god of the hunt, it serves as a center for tracking and survival skills.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are tasked with tracking down and stopping a group of poachers that have been hunting endangered animals in the reserve, driven by a rival temple's demand for rare ingredients for their rituals.


7. Temple of the Dragon


This temple is a hidden cave system filled with fiery caverns and ancient tunnels, guarded by dragons of all colors and sizes. Dedicated to the god of dragons, it serves as a center for dragon-worship and draconic magic.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players must retrieve a powerful artifact that has been stolen by a dragon that resides in the area, possibly a hoard of powerful dragon runes that could grant immense power to those who possess them.



8. Temple of the Trickster


This temple is a maze-like structure filled with illusions and traps, dedicated to the god of mischief and trickery. It serves as a center for rogue training and thievery.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a wealthy merchant to retrieve a valuable artifact that was stolen by a group of thieves who are believed to have hidden it within the temple's walls.


9. Temple of the Mountain


This temple is a towering fortress built into the side of a mountain, surrounded by steep cliffs and treacherous terrain. Dedicated to the god of the earth and the dwarven race, it serves as a centre for mining and stone craft.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by the temple's high priest to investigate a series of mysterious cave-ins that have been occurring in the mountain, possibly caused by a rival temple or a dangerous monster that lurks beneath the surface.





10. Temple of the Wild


This temple is a natural sanctuary filled with lush vegetation and magical creatures, dedicated to the goddess of nature and the cycle of life. It serves as a center for druidic training and wilderness survival.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are tasked with stopping a group of loggers who are destroying the forest and disrupting the natural balance, possibly under the influence of a rival temple or dark magic.


11. Temple of the Underworld


This temple is a dark and foreboding cavern filled with glowing mushrooms and subterranean lakes, dedicated to the god of death and the afterlife. It serves as a centre for necromancy and the study of the undead.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a group of grieving families to retrieve the remains of their loved ones that were stolen from their graves and brought to the temple for use in dark rituals.


12. Temple of the Phoenix


This temple is a majestic palace built of ruby and gold, surrounded by flames that never die. Dedicated to the goddess of rebirth and renewal, it serves as a centre for fire magic and transformation.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players must retrieve a powerful artefact that has been stolen from the temple, possibly a magical flame that could grant eternal life or the ability to resurrect the dead.


13. Temple of the Oracle


This temple is a sprawling complex filled with crystal balls and ancient texts, dedicated to the god of prophecy and fate. It serves as a centre for divination and fortune-telling.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to consult the temple's high priest about a series of strange dreams or visions that have been plaguing them, possibly related to a larger prophecy or event that could shape the fate of the world.


14. Temple of the Void


This temple is a shadowy nexus filled with mysterious portals and dark magic, dedicated to the god of the void and the unknown. It serves as a centre for planar travel and forbidden knowledge.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players must enter the temple to retrieve a powerful artefact that has been stolen by a cult that seeks to open a portal to a dangerous plane of existence.


15. Temple of the Serpent


This temple is a hidden ruin deep in the jungle, adorned with carvings of serpents and other reptiles. Dedicated to the goddess of the hunt and the serpent, it serves as a center for poison magic and snake worship.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a local tribe to investigate a series of strange disappearances and sightings of giant snakes, possibly caused by a rival temple or a powerful snake deity that seeks to expand its influence.


16. Temple of the Moon


This temple is a circular tower that seems to glow with silver light, dedicated to the goddess of the moon and the night sky. It serves as a centre for magic that harnesses the power of the lunar cycles.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are summoned to the temple by a mysterious figure who claims to have information about a secret society that seeks to harness the power of a rare lunar eclipse to achieve their nefarious goals.


17. Temple of the Storm


This temple is a grand hall filled with crackling lightning and thunder, dedicated to the god of the storm and the elements. It serves as a centre for weather magic and the study of meteorology.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a group of farmers whose crops have been devastated by a powerful storm that seems to have been summoned by a rival temple or a powerful weather mage.


18. Temple of the Sun


This temple is a towering pyramid that gleams with golden light, dedicated to the god of the sun and the dawn. It serves as a centre for healing magic and the study of celestial bodies.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to help escort a valuable shipment of magical artefacts from the temple to a nearby city, but they soon realize that they are being pursued by a group of bandits who seek to steal the artefacts and use them for their own purposes.


19. Temple of the Sea


This temple is a vast complex of coral and shells, located beneath the waves and dedicated to the goddess of the sea and the creatures that dwell within it. It serves as a center for water magic and the study of aquatic life.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a group of sailors whose ship has been attacked by a sea monster that seems to have been summoned by a rival temple or a powerful sea mage.


20. Temple of the Hunt


This temple is a grand lodge filled with trophies and weapons, dedicated to the god of the hunt and the thrill of the chase. It serves as a centre for archery and tracking skills.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are invited to participate in a grand hunt hosted by the temple, but they soon realize that they are not the only ones being hunted, and they must fight to survive against a dangerous prey or a rival hunting party.


21. Temple of the Mind


This temple is a peaceful garden filled with meditation pools and mental exercises, dedicated to the goddess of the mind and the power of thought. It serves as a centre for psionic magic and the study of mental abilities.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to help protect the temple from a group of rogue psionic masters who seek to use their powers to control the minds of the temple's inhabitants and seize control.


22. Temple of the Muse


This temple is a grand theatre filled with music and art, dedicated to the goddess of inspiration and creativity. It serves as a centre for bards and other performers.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to help retrieve a stolen musical instrument that was taken from the temple's treasure room, possibly by a rival temple or a group of thieves who seek to use its magical powers for their own purposes.


23. Temple of the Forge


This temple is a massive foundry filled with glowing furnaces and hammers, dedicated to the god of smithing and craftsmanship. It serves as a centre for metalworking and the creation of magical weapons and armour.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a wealthy noble to commission a powerful magic item from the temple, but they soon realize that the item is being sought after by a rival temple or a group of dangerous mercenaries who seek to use its power for their own gain.


24. Temple of the Spider


This temple is a dark and creepy cave filled with webs and spiders, dedicated to the goddess of the spider and the craft of weaving. It serves as a centre for poison magic and the creation of magical silk items.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are hired by a group of villagers whose town has been overrun by giant spiders that seem to have been summoned by a rival temple or a powerful spider deity that seeks to expand its influence.


25. Temple of the Tree


This temple is a massive tree that seems to stretch up to the sky, dedicated to the goddess of growth and nature. It serves as a centre for herbalism and the study of plant life.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to help protect the temple from a group of loggers who seek to chop down the sacred tree and use its wood for their own purposes.


26. Temple of the Phoenix


This temple is a massive aviary filled with exotic birds and magical flames, dedicated to the goddess of rebirth and renewal. It serves as a centre for air magic and the study of avian life.


Hook:

The adventure hook is that the players are asked to help protect the temple from a group of hunters who seek to capture the rarest bird in the aviary and use its magical feathers for their own purposes.