Ancient temples (synonyms: shrine, holy house, sanctuary; example toponyms: Lost Temple of Durin) are temples from a long past age and may have been constructed by an ancient civilization. They are likely in ruins. They may have been built to serve a long-forgotten god, religion, or other purpose. There may be traps, beasts, collapsing chambers, flooded chambers, or other dangers. Ancient temples may relate to a prophecy. They may contain altars, crypts, secret chambers, and burial chambers. They are home to temple guards, forgotten beasts, and the remains of long-dead explorers.
In postapocalyptic worlds, locations like movie theatres, malls, and capital buildings may be mistaken for ancient temples.
Designing Fictional Ancient Temples
When designing ancient temples consider their general region and how they are situated within the local terrain. They may be built into a cliffside, be partially buried by desert, be hidden deep within a jungle, be entrapped within an arctic region, or reside on a holy island. There may be waterfalls surrounding the ruins, giant trees or vines that have grown through them, or they may be slowly sinking into the surrounding marsh.
Structure and Layout
The architecture of the temple is another important aspect and may reflect an old religion or an ancient civilization. The entrance into the temple, or into deeper chambers within it, may require a key or may involve a hidden doorway. The ancient temples of fantastic worlds often hold secret chambers within them.
Ancient temples in fictional worlds may contain traps or terrain hazards. Consider pitfall traps, blade traps, and boulder traps as options. There may be ancient automated systems that are triggered when adventurers enter or when a ritual is completed.
Ancient temples are often dungeons in game worlds.