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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Fantasy Miniatures Campaign full deck

 In 2014 I did a blog post about my late 70s fantasy miniatures campaign. At the time I could only find half the deck of cards at the core of it, since I had bagged it in two small bags, and lost one of them. Well, yesterday, I was poking around a bookshelf, and spotted some telltale red in a small plastic bag, deep on a different shelf than the one where I had just seen that half-deck of cards. Dug in past the stuff in front, and YES! the missing baggie of cards. So now I'm going to fill out that deck list started in that previous post. 

Then I will go hunt for the campaign notes and rules folder, and when I find it, reproduce the map, rosters, and miniatures rules, and see if I can resurrect that game. When I have the full list entered, I plan to look into having the list printed as deck by one of those online custom card printers that support game designers.

As I type these in, it brings back the memory of sitting in the high school library writing some of them up. They are all in black felt tip on red construction paper that I must have cut out to card size with a sheet cutter. When I have the full list entered, I plan to look into having a set of real cards printed from the list.

This is a now-old school system (then new-fangled) intended for fair minded interpretation as cards are played in a friendly campaign game as a scenario generator. It is not suitable for a seriously competitive game. At the time, I remember we switched sides as we met for subsequent sessions, and maybe even between battles on the same night, so did not have an interest in arguing vague points for advantage. I'd recommend playing it the same way.

A note on resource abbreviations: 

  • GT - Gold Talent, think of it as about 100 Gold Pieces in old D&D. 
  • GTJ - one Gold Talent's worth of Jewelry, 
  • ST -Silver Talent, about 100 Silver Pieces. 
  • CG - Common Goods, maybe 100 GP worth of food, beer, ordinary furnishings like sturdy but unadorned furniture, farming or crafting tools, militia armaments, etc. Bulk cargo requiring wagons, boats, or a pack train to transport
  • PG - 100 GP worth of Precious Goods, a mix of things like gems, jewelry, arms and armor for the nobility, artworks, alchemical tools and ingredients, fine wine, and spices, much more compact to carry than common goods

We never actually played a scenario from a dungeon expedition card, but I did draw up maps, and the idea was to try a hybrid dungeon crawl using the skirmish minis rules for combat and pulling in what was needed from original D&D to flesh out exploration mechanisms, with the opposing player stocking a map that had one to three dungeon levels with reasonable contents to give the dungeon crawling group both opposition and treasures if they succeeded, if I hadn't already gotten to fully stocking first. It would play somewhere between original D&D and something like Heroquest in terms of detail level. The skirmish system was basically scaled like Chainmail with 1 to 2 OD&D hit dice per hit that a model could take. It would have either been one player running the whole expedition while the other DMs it, or roping in some other friends and dividing up the expedition among them for a session.

The Deck

Tithes B 1
Tithes must be sent by the Temple of the Goat to the City of the Gods to the amount of 50 GT. 10 GT may be collected from each allied force to pay part. One raid may be conducted to pay the tithes. 1/2 force, plus 1/3 of allies called by Summon Allies.

Tithes B 2
Tithes must be sent by the Priests of Godseye to the City of the Gods to the amount of 50 GT. 10 GT may be collected from each allied force to pay part. One raid may be conducted to pay part. 
1/2 force, plus 1/3 of allies called by Summon Allies.

Royal Entourage B 3
The Great King and twenty knights and their retainers will travel through on a pilgrimage to the City of The Gods. The Lord of Orly Castle must protect them and house them at the expense of 20 GT.

Ambush E 4
The Orcs of the Wild Wood may ambush one party on the High Road with up to 1/3 of their force. Allies may be called, up to 1/4 of each may help if a Summon Allies card is played.

Ambush E 5
The Great Orcs may ambush one party on the High Road with up to 1/3 of their force. Allies may be called, up to 1/4 of each may help if a Summon Allies card is played.

Ambush E 6
The Badlands Goblins may ambush one party entering the Pass of Skulls or Carrion Gulch or traveling on the Holy Road with up to 1/2 of their force. Up to 1/3 of the Hillmen or the undead may be called if allied and a Summon Allies card is played.

Ambush 
B 7
The Undead may ambush one party on the High Road or the Path of the Dead. Up to 1/2 of each kind of undead may be attacking. The Undead Lord will not be present.

Treaty B 8
The High King will invoke peace on all warring armies. Having determined the war to be the fault of Lawful forces, they must pay the Evil ones 10 to 60 GT in tribute. All prisoners must be returned. Ransom of 5 per Hit may be demanded.

Treaty B 9
One war will be settled by negotiation. No tribute will be paid by either side.

Ransom:

  • 1-6 per warrior
  • 2-12 per monster
  • 5-30 per leader

Treaty B 10
Due to pressure from his Queen, the High King has invoked peace on all wars. She has him declare that evil armies must pay lawful ones they are at war with 10 GT each in damages.

Ransom: 3 per warrior, 10 per monster,  20 per leader

Truce L 11
Any Lawful army may demand a truce with one enemy for one week. Prisoners may be exchanged.

Ransom: 3 per warrior, 10 per monster,  20 per leader

Truce E 12
Any Evil army may demand a truce with one enemy for one week for prisoner exchange.

Ransom: 3 per warrior, 8 per monster, 16 per leader

Truce B 13
A one month truce is imposed in honor of the High King's Birthday. All prisoners must be exchanged at no ransom. 

Mercenaries B 14
All mercenaries leave to accept a higher offer from a warlord to the north.

Mercenaries B 15
All mercenaries are inducted into royal service and immediately leave for the Great Kingdom.

Invaders L 16
Army of conquest(30 LF, 12 HF, 12 archers, 3 2H Knights and 1 warlock) enters from the east and attacks the evil forces. It will attempt to capture one evil stronghold to dwell there.

Invaders E 17
A band of nomad raiders from the Dry Wastes swings down from the N.E> and attacks Demsley.
Nomads: 18 M. Horse, 4 M. Horsebow, 1 3H M. Horse Hero

Weather B 18
Week-long rainfall stops all fights, reduces movement to 1/3 normal. Rivers are flooded and impassible except at bridges.

Weather B 19
Battle prevented by terrible storm.
Either side may withdraw. If neither does, the fight will commence the next day.

Weather B 20
Air elementals revolt. High winds prevent all missile fire and make all spell-casting -2 on success. Any air elemental summoned will become double strength and hostile. (duration was not specified, but probably intended to be somewhere between one battle and one week).

Disease B 21
Plague strikes one stronghold. Roll die for each occupant.
1-3 no effect
4-5 ill for one month
6+ killed
If besieged, add one to the die. Presence of Bishop or Patriarch will subtract one from the die.

Disease B 22
One army is struck by a strange, magical malady. Roll for each member.
1-3 no effect
4-5 ill for one month
6+ killed

Famine L 23
The Vulture Badlands are struck by a famine.30 CG must be expended by the Goblins and 10 by each Hillmen tribe for food. For each CG short, one starves. One raid may be initiated to gain funds or food. Up to 1/2 may go. 

Famine E 24
Demsley and Bannock's Freehold are struck by a famine. One CG per fighter must be expended for food relief. Any shorted will die. One raid may be attempted by each in order to capture enough food. Up to 1/2 may go.

Holy War B 25
One third of all lawful knights and men-at-arms must travel to the Great Kingdom to fight in a crusade. After two months roll one die for each.

  • 1-2 slain in war
  • 3-6 returns with 1-6 CG, 1-4 PG, 1-10 GT and 1 additional hit. Any leader going will also gain 1 magic weapon.

Quest E 26
One lawful warrior or leader will be summoned to the City of the Gods to perform a Holy Quest. After 1 month roll a die.
1-3 slain
4-6 returns with +1 Hit, 3-30 GT and a magic weapon.

Quest L 27
One Evil warrior, monster, or leader will be summoned to the City of the Gods to perform an Unholy Quest. After 1 month roll a die.
1-3 slain
4-6 returns with +1 Hit, 3-30 GT and a magic weapon.

Travelers L 28
A band of 1-6 adventurers of 1-4 hits each comes up the High Road to the Last Chance Inn and will join the lawful force there. Each will possess 1-6 GT, 1-10 GTJ, and have a 1/3 chance per hit of possessing a magic item. Roll for each:

  • 1-2 Fighter
  • 3 M-U
  • 4 Cleric
  • 5 Elf (1-2 F, 3-4 M-U, 5-6 Both)
  • 6 Dwarf or Hobbit


Travelers B 29
A company of 3-30 pilgrims (1-3 are clerics, 1-3 are multihit fighters) will come from the Great Kingdom headed for the City of the Gods. The lawful side must see to their safety. If all survive, reward is 30 GT. If some survive, no reward. If party wiped out pay 50 GT penalty to the High King.

Travelers E 30
A band of evil adventurers comes from Seaspray to join the Wizard in the Wood. 1-6 adventurers of 1-4H. 1. Fighter, 2. M-U, 3. Ogre, 4 Cleric, 5 Troll, 6 Were beast or Gargoyle. Each will possess 1-6 GT, 1-10 Street, 1-3 PG and have a 1/3 chance per hit of possessing a magic item

Summons E 31
The Lord of Orly Castle and at least 3 retainers must journey to the Great Kingdom to appear at the wedding of one of the High King's sons. Each will return with 1-6 GT and 1-3 PG as guesting gifts.

Undead L 32
The Undead will assist the lawful side in one battle. 1/2 of each type will appear. The Undead Lord will come on a 1 or a 2.   (slightly rephrased for clarity to match E 33)

Undead E 33
The Undead will assist the evil side in one battle. 1/2 of each type will appear. The Undead Lord will come on a 1 or a 2.    

Rebellion B 34
One captured stronghold will rebel against the garrison with one half their original strength but without a leader.

Rebellion B 35
One captured stronghold will rebel against the garrison with 2/3 their original strength and a leader equal to the one who originally led them if that one is dead or not present.

Tribute E 36
must be sent by the lawful forces to Sea Spray in the amount of 50 GT to the Great Kingdom. If it is captured, it must be sent until one shipment gets through.

Tribute L 37
must be sent by the evil forces to Sea Spray in the amount of 30 GT. If it is captured by someone en route, more must be sent until one shipment gets through.

Taxes L 38
Taxes may be collected by the lord of Orly Castle from tributary territories to the north to the amount of 12 GT, 30 ST, 40 CG, and 10 PG.

Taxes E 39
Taxes may be collected by the Wizard in the Wood from subject towns to the east. The amount will be 8 GT, 40 ST, 30 CG, and 15 PG.

Dungeon Expedition L 40
One party may go from any lawful group to the Dark Citadel. This may include 1/4 of its force plus 1/4 of any ally called by the Summon Allies card plus ALL lawful adventurers if any.

Dungeon Expedition E 41
One party may go from any evil group to the Dark Citadel. This may include 1/4 of its force plus 1/4 of any ally called by the Summon Allies card plus ALL evil adventurers if any.

 Dungeon Expedition E 42
One party may be sent from any evil group to the Great Stone Mountain. This may consist of 1/3 of its force plus any evil adventurers.

Dungeon Expedition L 43
One party may be sent from any lawful force to the Great Stone Mountain. This may consist of 1/3 of its force plus any lawful adventurers.

Dungeon Expedition E 44
Any evil adventurers may go to either dungeon.

Dungeon Expedition L 45
Any lawful adventurers may go to either dungeon.

Reinforcements L 46
4 knights, 6 men at arms and 6 crossbowmen come from the Great Kingdom to enlist at Orly Castle.

Reinforcements E 47
12 Heavy foot and 2 Evil Vicars come from the City of the Gods to join the troops at the Temple of the Goat.

Reinforcements L 48
6 heavy Foot and 1-6 Adventurers join Demsley or Bannock. They come from Sea Spray. Adventurers:
1 Fighter
2 MU
3 Cleric
4 Elf (1-2 F, 3-4 M, 5-6 T)
5 Dwarf (1-4 F, 5-6 T)
6 Hobbit (1-3 F, 4-6 T)
1-3 Hits each, Each possessed 1-6 GT, 1-3 GTJ and has a 1/3 chance for each hit of having a magic item.

Reinforcements E 49
1-2 8 Goblins and a Bugbear join the Badlands Goblins from the East.
3-4 6 Orcs and an ogre join the orcs in the Wildwood.

and 1-6 adventurers join the Wizard in the Wood. (See card 30 for specs.)

Summon Allies B 50

Summon Allies B 51

Summon Allies B 52

Summon Allies B 53 

Summon Allies B 54

Summon Allies B 55

Magic! L 56
The Lord of Orly Castle searches his armory and finds the Sword of the Mists. It is +2, does double hits to ogres, and casts spells as a seer. (If the Sword of the Mists has been found already, roll for another magic item.)

Magic! E 57
The Goat God bestows on his High Priest the Staff of Kings. It strikes as a flail +1, finds secret doors and casts spells as a lawful vicar.( If the Staff of Kings is already in play, roll for another magic item.)

Magic! L 58
A wandering gnome digs a well for the town of Demsley which once did him a good turn. The Goodly Well crates a magical elixir which can be drawn forth once a week and acts as a potion of healing. If it goes unconsumed for a month, its magic dissipates.

Magic! E 59
The Wizard in the Wood perfects a ring which summons one gargoyle per month.

Mercenaries L 60
A mercenary company 0f 12 H.F. and a 2H leader heads to Orly Castle from the Great Kingdom. They will offer their services for 20 GT a year plus support.

Mercenaries E 61
A mercenary company from the City of the Gods heads to the Temple of the Goat for employment at a rate of 20 GT a year plus support.

Mercenaries: 12 Heavy Foot and a 2H heavy horse hero.

Mercenaries L 62
12 mercenary dwarves and a 2H hero dwarf come down to the Last Chance Inn from Seaspray. They will hire on for 6 GT per month plus board.

Mercenaries E 63
A company of 18 mercenary orcs come from Seaspray to the Wizard in the Wood for service at a rate of 20 GT per year plus board.

Caravan B 64
A caravan loaded with 80 CG and 12 PG travels from the City of the Gods to the Great Kingdom.
It will leave 5 CG at each stronghold along the way in payment for services. Its guard force consists of 8 longbowmen, 12 heavy foot, 6 medium horse, and 1 Magician with 8 wagons.
(Note, both are offmap locations, so this is crossing the map.)

Caravan B 65
The Sorcerer Bortus is taking his magic wagon from the Great Kingdom to Seaspray loaded with 60 GTJ. It is self-propelled, 18" move, 4 lances mounted on the front. It is magically invulnerable to fore and spells. Bortus and his 6 elven helpers add +2 to their defense and +1 to attack when fighting from the top.

Caravan B 66
A caravan loaded with 30 PG and 40 ST is going from Panjud to the City of the Gods. The guards are 6 Elf light horsebow and 6 Elf heavy foot.

Spy B 67
For 5 GT a spy can be hired. When he is sent into an enemy camp roll a die. On a 1-3 he is captured and slain. On a 4-6 roll again. A 1-5 indicates the number of cards that the hirer can examine from the opponent's hand. On a six, he was too inquisitive and caughtCards to be examined should be determined randomly.

Spy B 68
For 10 GT a spy can be hired. When he is sent into an enemy camp roll a die. On a 1-2 he is captured and slain. On a 3-6 roll again. A 1-5 indicates the number of cards that the hirer can examine from the opponent's hand. On a six, he was caught. Determined which cards randomly. If he survives he can check again the following month for an additional 5 GT. In later months, he can try again until caught.

Assassin B 69 
For 20 GT an assassin can be hired to slay one enemy leader.
On a 1 or 2 he will be successful. A 1 to the roll if the target is a spellcaster. Subtract 1 if the assassin is aided by a spellcaster.

Raid E 70
Raid by Badlands Goblins on Bannock's Freehold to capture Bannock's daughter. Up  to 1/3 of Goblins plus up to 1/4 of card-called allies.

Raid E 71
Raid by the forces of the Wizard in the Wood up target of choice to capture treasure and slaves for experiments. Up to 1/2 of Wizard's force plus up to 1/3 of any allies called by cards.

Raid E 72
Raid by up to 1/3 of any evil force plus up to 1/4 of any card-called allies up any lawful force.

Raid L 73
A raid by up to 1/3 of any lawful force plus up to 1/4 of any card-called allies up any evil force.

Raid L 74
A raid by up to 1/2 of the force at Godseye may be made against the Temple of the Goat to capture the High Priest. Up to 1/3 of an card-called allies may help.

Raid L 75
A raid by the army of Orly Castle on the Hillmen tribes. Up to 1/3 of the force plus up to 1/4 of an card-called allies may attack. 

War B 76
Any force may declare war on any opposing force.

Break Alliance B 77
Break one enemy alliance.

Break Alliance B 78
Break one enemy alliance.

Break Alliance B 79
Break all alliances of one enemy force.

Break Alliance B 80
Break all alliances of one enemy force.

Alliance E 81
Any evil force may form an alliance with any other evil force.

Alliance E 82
Any evil force may form an alliance with any other evil force.

Alliance E 83
Any evil force may form an alliance with any other evil force.

Alliance E 84
Any two non-allied evil forces may form an alliance.

Alliance L 85
Any lawful force may form an alliance with any other lawful force.

Alliance L 86
Any lawful force may form an alliance with any other lawful force.

Alliance L 87
Any lawful force may form an alliance with any non-allied lawful force.

Alliance L 88
Any two non-allied lawful forces may form an alliance.

Attack E 89
Any evil force may attack one lawful force with up to 2/3 its strength plus up to 1/2 of all card-called allied forces, if it has declared war on that force using a War card.

Attack E 90
Any evil force may attack any lawful force with up to 3/4 of its strength plus up to 2/3 of all card-called allies, if war has been declared by one force upon the other by use of a War card.

Attack L 91
Any lawful force may attack any evil force with up to 2/3 of its strength plus up to 1/2 of all card-called allies, if it has a declared war on that force by either one or the other playing a War card.

Attack L 92
Any lawful force may attack any evil force with up to 3/4 of its strength plus up to 2/3 of all card-called allies, if war has been declared by one force upon the other by use of a War card.

War B 93
Any force may declare war on any opposing force.

War B 94
Any force may declare war on any opposing force.

War L 95
Any lawful force may declare on any evil force.

War E 96
Any evil force may declare war on any lawful force


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Thinking out loud about Procedural Generation

DunGen has been around awhile now. The theming tags are a success in making the kind of rooms & monsters used make sense together when applied, but the random placement is still lacking for what I'd like it to be. I think they need at least one more level of tagging that would help organize usage, maybe "inner" versus "outer" for each room label, and a clumping algorithm that tends to make rooms from the same theme clump together adjacently more often, with "outer" room labels being used more around the edges of clumps and inner labels more where they don't border labels from other themes. Still make it all biases and not absolute so there can be serendipitous adjacencies to spice things up. Then do something that creates explicit bosses and groups them and the bigger treasures more in "inner" rooms. Entrances could be made explicit, and be "outer" rooms. I'll need to think about algorithms to get this effect. I'd also like some sort of explicit locks and keys mechanism where some rooms have elements that are made accessible by bringing some item from another room. I'd like to have something of the vibe of the computer game "Unexplored" in that feature. Another pass through adding an attribute to every label doesn't sound like much fun to do, but I think it might be worth it for this effect. It probably would be a good idea to clump creature types somewhat as well.

 So maybe the room count is established, then the graph gets linked up. Then instead of the random rolls for each room, roll up separate lists of room labels, retaining the whole object for each, and a list of monsters (or blanks) and traps (or blanks) and quirks (or blanks) and hooks (or blanks). Sort the lists by monster theme tags and level total, or room theme and inner or outer. Then draw off of these as decks, starting by placing the entrance and several edges away the boss room or boss rooms, which should also be spread apart if of different factions. Then deal out inner room labels in rooms adjacent to boss rooms and outer labels for the entrance and adjacent rooms, and then remaining inner rooms around similar theme inner rooms and outers to fill in the gaps. Some sort of shuffle and draw might place creatures, traps etc, as objects, only rendering out to strings at the end, so the final result is editable by the DM using the tool.

 This is still more ideas than implementation, but I think something along these lines could move DunGen the next step along towards making coherent, useful procedurally generated dungeons with less tweaking needed between generation and worthwhile playability. It's concrete enough for me to start thinking more clearly about implementing it.

Another, back of the mind thing I've been thinking about is doing classic multi-level dungeons, from midi to mega size, with built in side views,  themes for different levels, and linking entrances/exits that jump you from one level map to another. This would probably make more sense to do after a rebuild along the lines above, but keeping it in mind, while working up what goes into a level.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Warding Undead - adding partial effect to the Turn Undead roll

The cleric's Turn Undead effect in OD&D is an awfully binary affair. Even in the rolled range, the result is T or nothing.  Some drama could be added by having a close miss on the roll have partial effect. Here's a possible rule: A turn roll missed by one or two points give the effect W, Warded. The cleric's holy power is having some effect on the undead but it is still contested. While the Warded condition is in effect, undead attacks that just do conventional damage have it halved, round up and undead attacks that do drains have it downgraded to dice of damage. A shadow's strength drain or a wight's single level of life drain becomes a die of damage, a spectre's two level drain adds two dice of damage while warded. So there is still a fight on, but the party is protected temporarily from the scariest effect of powerful undead, their life drain. The warding effect emanates in a 30' radius around the cleric.

So, how long does warding last? That depends on how strong you want it to be and how much mechanics are worth keeping track of. The simplest answer is one combat round. Next might be 1D6 rounds, or a round plus at the cleric's next action, there is a new roll, that either resolves the condition or continues the ward. There could be rolls against WIS or CHA to maintain concentration each round, or when damaged by an undead, or other finer grained mechanics.

I think I would go with this: the cleric can maintain the ward until choosing to reroll for resolution or damaged by one of the warded undead. While maintaining the ward, the cleric can attack but not cast spells.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Temple of Zozer

This is an example of starting from a run of DunGen, and digging in and editing the results until a usable scenario emerged. It was a basic run, so makes a midsize, unthemed dungeon for a low level party, approximately 1st-3rd in OD&D. I put in about an hour and a half making edits and figuring out what it is about. And another hour and a half making it into the blog post and revising some more. I relabeled edges, added more description & elements to rooms, moved some linking edges, customized the entrance rooms on the map to make them stand out, tweaked names, moved some items to rooms they fit better, renamed monsters, etc, to adjust it from being a hodgepodge to what it is now.

Most of the spiderkin started out as "spiders" but when I looked at it, they needed sentient agency, so the spiderkin were born. Zozer and his religion started out by rationalizing and expanding on some vague hooks. The hooks got religious themed because the preponderance of random rooms that weren't caverns happened to be religious theme rooms. 

On the tip of a peninsula stands the crumbling ruin of a lighthouse and in the caverns beneath, an ancient temple of the god Zozer who traveled the sky in his skyship. The temple is desecrated and overtaken by a Spiderkin cult (think lesser ettercaps, mostly level 1, led by a mad science inclined wizard). Some unlucky mushroom men got captured by the Spiderkin and a few who escaped and are trying to get out completely are on the wandering monster table. They might talk the PCs into rescuing their comrades from the wicked experiments of Vvixx. There are a couple of ways here to draw Zozer's attention and one way to make a distant magical travel to another place for a sequel scenario.


Location Descriptions 
1: Spiral staircase down Tp: Filled with magical darkness,
This trap can be disarmed by concealed lever in the shape of a ship's bow, 
projecting from the wall, just inside the darkness at the head of the stairs.

An incautious person might stumble and fall when stepping onto the first stair in the dark or fall if out into the open space in the middle. The drop is 30 feet.

2: Bridge in cavern A ten foot oar leaning in the corner
A ghostly scene of priests boarding a ship that flies into the sky plays out and repeats hourly.
Ts: 100 silver, Jewelled brooch worth 10 GP
Mg: Necklace of Accents

3: Fane There is a small, empty basin projecting from one wall, 
and an empty oil lamp on another. 
A healing aura will fill the room if holy water is poured 
in the basin and sacred oil lit in the lamp.

4: Cave crossed by stream
M: 3 sick zombies lurking in ambush beneath the water
Ts: Bracelet worth 480 GP

5: Fane
Empty, but for a broken basin and ugly marking scratched into the walls. 
There is are niches that used to hold oil lamps near head height on the walls.

Loose bones, about half a human skeleton, 
are around and some under, the fallen part of the stone basin.

6: Fortified cavern M: 7 spiderkin, 1 is Sivvik, a 3HD monstrous boss who wears a necklace roughly set with the four blue sacred gems (@1000GP as treasure) that fit and activate the altar in the Curtained Cavern (7)
Ts: Torc worth 20 GP, 10 silver, 4 electrum
7: Curtained cavern Hook: Stone altar shaped like a ship, 
stripped of 4 sacred gemstones.
If activated by their replacement, it will heal, cure of conditions, and emit a 30' radius Protection from Evil aura.
This will also draw the attention of the diminished god of the Sky Ark, Zozer.

8: Pentagonal room
Ts: Illuminated Hymnal of Zozer worth 550 GP
Mg: Potion of Levitation
Hook: Rare imported spices in small jars, 
would be very valuable sold to nobles or rich merchants. 
Enough to spice about 100 meals richly, 
200 GP is the maximum value they might sell for.

9: Chapel
Tp: leg breaker pit near entrance
M: 2 spiderkin hiding behind statues
Ts: 20 gold
Mg: Mace +1, +2 vs undead held by statue of Zozer
The mace, Zozer's Fury, will draw the attention of Zozer,
and give its wielder dreams of restoring his power

10: Chamber M: 4 spiderkin pacing, one is poisonous and 2HD

11: Laboratory M: Vvixx, spiderkin wizard 2 and 2 spiderkin assistants performing weird experiments on a mushroom man wired to a strange machine, 
with two more horrified mushroom men in a cage.
Vvixx wears the Ring of Protection +1, with a crown shaped like a winged golden ship.
Ts: 500 silver, Jewelled box worth 120 GP, 40 electrum
Mg: Strong healing potion that can cure spider poison

12: Stream Torchlit by ghostly torches
A skittering voice in the dark
Tp: spiked pit, triggered by opening door
M: 2 unquiet spirits, incorporeal, drain 1D4 constitution (recovered at 1 point per hour) on a hit, 1 HD, AC 0, vulnerable to holy water, turn as 1HD undead
M: 1 water spider
Ts: Ring worth 878 GP beneath the water
Mg: Healing potion lodged amongst some detritus along the bank

13: Stockroom Remains of food stored in amphorae, 
4 red jars of sacred oils (fire plus holy water effect if set alight), 
and moth eaten vestments.
Hook: inscribed pillar
The pillar remains from previous use as a temple. 
The inscription, if deciphered, is in the ancient tongue of the Primacy of the Sky Ark, 
effectively a scroll of a spell that when spoken will transport all in the room to the Sacred Sky Ark, 
a place of holy power, now desecrated and occupied by unholy enemies.

14: Cave with pool Tp: slippery oil trap on sloped floor, 
triggered by tiny earth elemental that looks like a rock, 
would make victims slide into pool and risk drowning
Ts: 5 x 10 GP gem

15: Lair A crumbled lighthouse tower. It shows signs of a sea bear having laired here. 
The sea bear is out on a hunt and won't be back for 4D12 hours. 
A corridor leads away into the remains of the curtain wall.

Links
blocked tunnel 7: Curtained cavern to 3: Fane
channel 1: Spiral staircase down to 3: Fane
rope climb 8: Pentagonal room to 3: Fane
crawlway 2: Bridge in cavern to 7: Curtained cavern
archway 13: Stockroom to 3: Fane
narrow hallway 6: Fortified cavern to 8: Pentagonal room
empty room 12: Stream to 2: Bridge in cavern
barrel vault 5: Fane to 2: Bridge in cavern
secret tunnel 4: Cave crossed by stream to 1: Spiral staircase down
subterranean river 11: Laboratory to 3: Fane
subterranean river 14: Cave with pool to 2: Bridge in cavern
long tunnel 10: Chamber to 6: Fortified cavern
corridor with collar of spikes trap to deter the seabear 15: Lair to 1: Spiral staircase down
passage blocked by huge corpse 9: Chapel to 4: Cave crossed by stream
door 6: Fortified cavern to 7: Curtained cavern
stream 14: Cave with pool to 4: Cave crossed by stream
winding subterranean river 2: Bridge in cavern to 3: Fane
spiked door 10: Chamber to 14: Cave with pool

Wandering Monsters
1: 2 least demonspawn, one is malicious, both have a spiderlike aspect
2: 1 Yellow Slave cultist waiting for orders:
Othoix Boneshaver: charismatic fighter 2, charmed by the Spiderkin wizard Vvixx
3: 5 mushroom men evading capture, one is ribald
4: 3 giant spiders guarding, one is infectious
5: 4 spiderkin


Notes
Possible hook: The wizard Whaltis hired the party to retrieve the Ring of Protection from Zozer Caverns. 

Basic spiderkin are 1HD, look like a cross between people and spiders, and have chitinous hide equivalent to leather armor.  The spiderkin have a poisonous bite they can employ in the round following a successful grapple. Each spiderkin can use this bite once per day.

Organizations involved:
The Sky Dancers - descendants of the cult of Zozer
The Yellow Slaves - Spiderkin cult

Settlements nearby:
Henoxcross, population: 41, middling, half a day's sail to the northwest. Dark Jarfer, population: 126, wealthy, four days walk to the southeast. Chael, population: 50, middling, two days sail to the southwest.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

More Cohesive NPC Groups in DunGen and DunMap

One thing that bothered me a bit is how much of a grab bag each group of  NPCs was, with a completely random selection there was no implied story there. So now there is an experiment towards remedying that.

Here's what I put in this morning.

When generating a group of NPCs, build a virtual hand of cards.
Start with one Fighter card, since simple combatants are the baseline in old school D&D.
Roll a D8 and draw that number of virtual class cards to match rolls on the old random NPC class collection. This makes up the hand of class cards for this group, a subset of the whole class collection, biased towards fighter, and possibly biased towards another class or classes.

For each NPC, the class is a random draw from the hand of classes.  So now it is more likely to make groups that are a wizard and guards or some clerics, a bard, and guards, and similar groups with more than one of the same class, rather than all looking like balanced random PC parties.

Let me know what you think.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

DunGen & DunMap content update

With the new theme tag system in place for details, I spent a couple hours this morning adding to the details list, so there are more to choose from when a theme or two is selected. I'm also experimenting with doubling up on details. Currently one room in six has a detail, and now one in three with a detail gets a second one. I may have to do some sort of weighting system though, so when I add variations, like more kinds of books or corpses, they don't imbalance the table too much in favor of books or corpses.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Updating my Dungeon Generation Tools

In the past month I have put in a lot of time on DunGen, DunMap, and Hiring Hall.

Hiring Hall got extended to have an option to do hirelings for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Though it needs another pass to round out the occasional classed NPCs, particularly bringing up their abilities to the minima for their classes.

DunGen and DunMap got a major lift in the handling of notes, with separate editable fields for things that were all being lumped in the notes field. This is the first step in a UI rebuild that should make it a lot better for the case of saving, editing, and running dungeons.

DunMap got an important bug fix to allow it to load the map images of imported dungeons, so it can properly work like DunGen and allow at least some movement from one computer to another. This is also a first step towards allowing some sort of remote save, maybe by storing your dungeons in your Google Drive or Dropbox, so you can access them from other devices, without making them dependent on a server run by me.

Today I finally finished a long planned feature to extend the theme to the little descriptive details for things found in rooms. Now these are tagged like room types, so if you choose the fort and palace theme, you won't get the weird, horrible stuff tagged with the creepy theme. I'll start adding more again, now that I have them all tagged.

Then I did a few passes at squashing bugs that had snuck in while I was making the UI and content changes mentioned above. Maybe fixed half the outstanding bugs?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Barbarians of Genebackis

This morning I woke early (been doing too much of that lately) and mulled over the idea of running a campaign using Barbarians of Lemuria set in the Erikson and Esslemont's Malazan world. It's a lighter set of mechanics than GURPS that they originally used, better suited to the amount of time and energy that I could invest in campaign creation. The magic system would have to be morphed to fit the world, or replaced. The boons, and flaws would have to be adapted, and a suitable set of regional backgrounds worked up, but the fit would be pretty good. The rate of character advancement would not care about the Conanesque treasure wastage at the end of a session, and be more about "How deep did the character have to dig to survive?". If I actually go with it, I'll post more here.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stressed Spell Casting

I am working on houserules for my Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerors of Hyperborea campaign this morning. The main topic of the moment is variation from straight old school Vancian magic. Back in my 80s OD&D campaign I addressed making magic less predictable and a bit more epic, by including a D20 roll at every spell cast to get a spell off, with fumble and crit effects, spell level, caster level, and casting attribute bonuses involved, and allowed overcasting beyond spell slots at a penalty to the roll and taking HP damage based on the level of the spell and how the roll went. So casting was pretty reliable until spell slots were used up, then less so, and costing damage to self to overstrain. It worked pretty well, but was not really high on story flavor.
The primary concept is that magic is chimerical and capricious. A sorceror can manage the inherent riskiness of magic by preparation and not overtaxing himself. Vancian "finals cramming, with memory wipeout" style has always seemed odd to me, especially with multiple copies of the same spell being memorized into slots. So I will use each spell slot two ways. It is a spell that the sorceror has prepared enough that day to be as safe as possible and a packet in a sorcerous energy buffer to allow spells to be cast without undue strain. So a caster has two first and one second level slots can have two first and one second level spells prepared, and could cast either first level spell with each first level slot and either one or the prepared second level spell with the second level slot. That's all pretty straightforward and pretty similar to a 3rd Ed or 5th Ed sorcerer.

Various circumstances will add STRESS to a spell casting, and with Stress things are more likely to go wrong and in unpredictable ways. Stress will be a sort of currency, casting a spell with more Stress will likely make it go more spectacularly wrong. Casting with even one level of Stress should be dangerous. More should be really scary. Casting a spell over your level is a deeply desperate measure. This mechanic might replace various printed mechanics relating to armor, scrolls, interruption by damage, etc.

Stress causes I am considering using:
Cause of StressAmount of Stress
Not having the spell prepared1 (2 if spell level > 3 )
Not having the spell slot for itspell level/2
Cast a spell from your list and level range that you have seen but do not have in your book/preparable repertoire2
Each armor step beyond sorcerer's Armor Allowed1
Being struck for damage during the cast and not aborting1
Casting anything besides touch attack/melee escape spells in melee contact1
Cast a spell over your highest spell slot level 2 + 2/level over
Ritual casting - extended time and materials-1
Using a scroll from outside of your school, for a spell shared by your school1
Using a scroll from outside of your school, for a spell not shared by your school2
Casting using a scroll beyond your level1+

Each point of Stress will cause one roll on the table below. For each result, I plan to offer the choice of the rolled result and the next one farther down in the list. Followup rolls will be AFTER the choice. Each point after the first will modify all rolls by +5. Dungeon Crawl Classics has some nice tables in the right direction, so some of these results refer to those tables, which might take some results reinterpretation to fit in.
RollEffect
01-20Escaped without harm
21-30Spell fizzles
31-35Add a level of Stress to all casting until well rested
36-40Wipe out preparation of one spell (the attempted one first, if prepared).
41-45Wipe out energy of one spell slot(the attempted one first, if slot was used, else highest available).
46-49Knocked down
46-49Destruction of minor or consumable magic item on caster (1st) or friend
52-55Attract the unwanted attention of a nearby magically sensitive creature
56-58knocked back 10 feet per level of spell
59-61Destruction of an item in hand
62-64Stunned for one round
65-67DCC Generic Spell Misfire (5-6, pg 120)
68-70Attract the unwanted attention of all nearby magically sensitive creatures
71-73Save vs or Stunned for one turn
74-76Experience point loss - 1D4 x 5% of highest level
77-79DCC Minor Corruption (5-3, pg 116)
80-82Take 1D6 psychic damage per level of spell
83-84Attract the unwanted attention of a powerful but potentially remote magically sensitive being
85-86Roll on the madness table, effect lasts 1D6 days
87-89Take 1D6 damage to a random attribute
91-94DCC Major Corruption (5-4, pg 118) if arcane or Deity Disapproval 5-7 if divine (chaotic or evil divine could be either)
95-97Destruction of a significant magic item on caster or friend
98-100The spell gains/replaces a Mercurial Magic effect (DCC 5-2, pg 111)
101-102Gate in an inimical demon of level equal or up to 2 higher than caster, within 30' of the caster
103-105Destruction of a most significant magic item on caster or friend within 30 feet
106-109DCC Greater Corruption (5-5, pg 119) arcane; deity disapproval, worse of two rolls, if L/G/N divine; C/E divine could be either
110+Attract the (potentially ongoing) attention of an inimical divine being. In this campaign that might mean Cthulhu awakens, and starts disturbing the caster's dreams, sending minions, and eventually showing up itself.

So, Bilzor the Magician, at first level, has cast his one prepared sleep spell for the day, and his party is being overrun by bandits. He tries to save the day by casting another sleep spell, but his only spell slot is drained. He rolls a 47 and has the choice of loss of a minor magic item or attracting the attention of a nearby magically sensitive creature. He picks the item, and since he has a Potion of healing and a level 1 spell scroll, the GM dices and the potion bottle shatters. Had he picked the attention, he gets a creepy being watched feeling, and the DM consults his notes and decides the Ixian witch a level deeper in the dungeon feels the emanations of the reckless spell, and gets a glimspe of Bilzor in her mind's eye, and a general sense of where he is, and might come hunting for him or is at least alerted, can make preparations, like dispatching a minion to spy, and is not surprised by the party for the next day.

Later in the fight, the party's fighter goes down, Bilzor is beset by a pair of bandits, casts a further sleep spell, and is struck by one of them before he gets it off. This time, he'll have 3 Stress, for overcasting beyond his slots, melee, and being injured while casting, and will be adding 10 to each of three rolls. With a 16 first roll that would have succeeded without backfire in the first instance, he now has a 26 result, and the sleep spell fizzles or he has additional Stress for any further casts until he can rest for the day. He chooses the Stress so his spell might go off. The second stress roll of 77 becomes 87 and he declines the permanence of DCC major corruption and takes a 3 point hit to his CHA after followup rolls, the DM decides these points will recover at one per week. The third roll of 52 becomes 62 and he is stunned for a round, declining the DCC misfire table. Bilzor might survive to recover that CHA if the spell puts all his enemies to sleep.

I'll probably tweak this some more, but it gets pretty close to what I want in letting low level casters not be one trick ponies, but with significant risks, and letting higher level casters get themselves into deep trouble when they attempt great feats of magic.