Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How to Host a Dungeon

Thursday night my wife and I played the free version of How to Host a Dungeon, and I kept a visual record of our dungeon as it evolved.

Our little part of the world started with the Great Wyrm Ralph (whose name is nearly unpronounceable to dwarves was translated into dwarven and then into the common tongue of men, and means in the original dragon something akin to sleeping earth digger in a fancy sweater), a Cave of Fate, a random cave, a Cave of Gems, and a Disaster!  The disaster ended up being an earthquake, which split the earth down  near the bottom of the page and sent several tunnels reaching up toward the surface.

The age of Dwarves arrived, and was relatively quiet.  A vein of gold formed about halfway down the page, and the dwarves dug to reach it.  Their civilization grew and eventually encountered Ralph, who took some of the dwarven gold in order to keep from eating them.  Eventually the dwarves dug too deep...  Actually they were well away from digging too deep, but the lack of interesting things caused us to speed up the end of their golden age.

The end came in a fiery inferno from the earth.  Volcanic fumes seeped through the rocks, ending the Age of Dwarves, and after a time the Age of Monsters arrived.  A surface realm was founded, and a set of monsters moved into under-realm.  A hobgoblin mining company moved into the western dwarven mine, and continued the work the dwarves were forced to abandon.  Goblin breeders took over some dwarven barracks, and a xorn burrowed into the easternmost dwarven mine.   The goblins were wiped out by ghosts lurking in the dwarven halls, while the hobgoblins mined too far and reached the cave of fate.  Whatever it was they encountered caused them to disappear, leaving significant wealth in their caves.  Ralph the Great Wyrm awoke from his slumber and attempted to take the treasure guarded by the ghosts.  They scared him deeper into the dwarven halls.  The xorn gathered treasure.

A portent, the meaning of which would be argued for years to come, arrived in the guise of a fallen star. 

The surface civilization continued to grow, and a banished mage found his way down into ruins of the Dwarven City Greater Awesomeville.  He was followed by an ogre who settled himself down at the bottom of the dwarven mining shaft.  The mage while looking for magical treasure found the orge instead, and was squashed.  A year later an evil cult moved into ruins of Greater Awesomeville.  They also encountered the orge, formed an alliance, and set up a shrine in his cave.

We rolled yet another happening, rather than something fun like wandering monsters, and this time got a disaster, and we rolled another earthquake.  We decided another earthquake would be boring, so added some wandering monsters.  Slimey giant slugs moved in near the xorn.  It turns out that slug meat isn't very tasty.  While the slug died, it did give the xorn indigestion (a tie).  The surface dwellers, having finally equipped their kingdom with appropriate farms (giant venus flytraps, bear ranch, flying hamster aviary) sent an explorer group into the dwarven tunnels.  They didn't encounter anyone of note, but did find a whole bunch of dwarven loot, and they then attracted a wizard of some note, and built him a tower near the volcano and meteor crater.

The Age of Monsters is about to come to an end. The surface dwellers have 5 treasures, and are likely to get another if they can survive the ghosts!  Buy by this point we'd been playing for about 2 hours, and were both ready for bed.

While we haven't finished the game I think we both enjoyed it.  Our priorities were different.  I was looking for a good naturally developed dungeon ecosystem, and maybe even a back story for the megadungeon.  Virginia's priorities leaned more toward having a fun excuse to draw things like worms in sweaters, flying hamsters, and dwarven ghosts!  All in all I think this is a really fun game, and 'd love to have a computer program that would do the rolling and In the future I'd like to have smaller tokens.  Coins were the only thing I had on hand, but even using legal sized paper it was getting really crowded by the end.

I also found myself hunting around for the encounter rules.  They are listed on page 8 under the heading "Monster Groups", while I would have found "Encounters" a better heading.

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