Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Balticon Saturday Geomorphs 1

I completed a total of 24 geomorphs over the course of Balticon, half on Friday and Saturday, and half on Sunday and Monday. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing them 2 at a time, pretty much in the order that I drew them in. They aren't nearly as pretty as those by Stonewerks and Dyson. I'm not sure what post-production work they do, but these are simply scanned in and cropped.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Balticon 45

Balticon is over by only a couple of hours, but I'm dead tired. It was a really good con, even if I didn't get much gaming in. There was a lot of really informative panels, and the masquerade and the short film festival were both solidly entertaining. Unfortunately I couldn't spend all my time at the Con

I didn't take too many pictures, and I already showed you the space monkey man. You've also gotten a preview of the geomorphs I drew. You can expect to be seeing them over the next couple of weeks starting tomorrow. During that time I'll also be putting together PDFs of my posts.

Speaking of, there are only 5 hours to go before the poll closes, and there is currently a tie! Dogs and Magic Items each have 7 votes! Monsters isn't far behind with 5 votes, so there is still time to swing the balance.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Balticon doodling

Geomorphing while enjoying the con.

Sunday Inspirational Image - Space Ape

This weekend is Balticon 45, ans so far I'm having a blast!

First off I managed to stock up on a bunch of AD&D 2e Birthright stuff for cheap. I also bought the 2 Erfworld graphic novels directly from Rob.

Second the programing this year has all been really solid, and mostly well timed.

I played a quick card game yesterday called Queen's Ransom. While the mechanics are pretty solid I wasn't a huge fan of the way it plays. The game setup felt excessive conpared to the game's duration.

Anyway, for today's inspirational image, here's a weird science Space Ape.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Megadungeon Binder

In a recent post Il Male™ talked about about feeling unorganized with his own megadungeon project - The Tower of Zordaz (which isn't any worse a name than my own The Ruins of Seteh Zandana). I commented that I keep it all in a binder, and he asked to see some pics. Well, pics without commentary is for inspirational posts, and today isn't Sunday! Here is how I organize my Megadungeon. Please note it usually doesn't look quite this organized. I cleaned it up a bit for the pictures.

I am not the most organized of people. My natural state is to have a large number of piles that contain a large mix of items. I usually can put my hand on whatever it is I’m looking for, but often enough I lose things. This isn’t really a conducive strategy for long term projects, and so when I seriously began working on my Megadungeon I started a binder. It was fairly unorganized to start with, but as it’s grown I’ve managed to get it into a semblance of order.

The cover. I wanted something old school, and kind of fun.

The inside pocket currently contains pictures I’ve drawn. Not maps, but doodles mostly. Opposit is a pocket folder folded inside out and hole-punched. In this pocket are my megadungeon maps.

Flipping the pocket folder over we come to the pocket with all of the handwritten megadungeon notes, and the intro page to my early and now abandoned megadungeon maps.

At the very end of this section is the original Mobius Dungeon map and notes.

We now come to another pocket folder. The first section contains random maps that aren’t megadungeon related.

The flip side contains other peoples dungeons. The facing page brings us to the inspiration section. To start with are several list of interesting things that I came up with to insert into my megadungeon. Next is the list by Alex Schroeder of the aspects that make for a Quality Dungeon.
This is followed by:
Megadungeon Random Area Name Generator
Tricks, Empty Rooms, and Basic Trap Design by -C
OSRIC rule book pages 155-161 (Random Dungeon Generation)
Advanced Heroquest pages 32-36 (Random Dungeon Generation)
Classic Dungeon Design Series #3 Old School Dungeon Geomorphs
Tunnels and Trolls Generic Dungeon Generation

The next section is Stocking the Megadungeon. This is a smaller section, but includes the following:
Little Treasures by Tiachara
Random Magic Items by Pete Mohney from Dragon Magazine #57 (January 1982)
100 Book Titles

This brings us to the back of my binder. A couple of page protectors hold some prewrinkeld brown paper in case the urge to work on distressed map strikes. There are also several sheets of blank white paper for whatever I may need it for. The inside back pocket of the binder contains notes for other blog related content, including my original notes on the Witch of the Deep, and the Magical Skull Series.

So that’s how I keep my megadungeon binder. The PDFs, spreadsheets, word docs, and other files are kept on my Google Documents account.

If you can think of something else that should go in here, please let me know about it! If you have any questions, just ask!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Things you shouldn't miss

Feeling a bit drained at the moment, so I’m going to share some links to cool things.

The Legion of Super-Groomsmen! This is just cool and a wonderful way to bring a little geeky fun into a wedding without going crazy.

Sky Full of Dust gives us The Man on the Corner. This is a table to explain who that guy on the corner is. It’s really useful for any RPG system or genre.

Digital Orc did some Xenomorphs for Labyrinth Lord. Not anything I'd ever want to run into in a dungeon!

Well of the Lonely Man from Sky full of Dust is a wonderfully creepy adventure idea!

Megadungeon Links

Sky Full Of Dust shared DungeonCrawl rules based on the Urbancrawl rules written by Zac.

Hack & Slash has some interesting thoughts on random random encounters vs random planned encounters.

Paladin in Citadel did some musing about bricked up dungeon doorways. More of these should be included in dungeons and Discourses and Dragons shows us how to do it.

If you’re curious, there are some planned, but as yet unwritten posts.
They include:
My Megadungeon Binder - How I organize my inherently unorganized thoughts, doodles, and inspirations.
Morrowind, and why I hated it
Pirate Games (it's not the post you think it is matey...)

Also, Dyson thinks I should Blog Out with My Dog Out! I can get behind that sentiment!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lucy the Corgi

The orcs were stomping through the woods, heading directly for the village. With so many out to help with harvest it was an easy target. Lucy, defender of the realm, would not stand for it. They were still about an hour from the village, moving slow as orcs are wont to do even in times of war. Lucy paralleled their track, making her way to the head of the column. There were about 4 dozen of them, and the head of the party was decked out with some extremely overdone armor. He was the target.

She got ahead of the column, close to the path, and waited for them to catch up. Soon enough the head of the column was in sight. The target was not right in front - she would have to deal with the guards. As they came parallel to her, Lucy shot, and both were on the ground before they could even cry out. The next pair of guards did have a chance to cry out, but it did them no good.

The orc chief rose before her. His armor was layered with trophies of his previous victories. Bones, hair, jewels, and even ears dangled off of him. Lucy's focus was on his cruel spear, held at the ready.

Lucy's ears folded back, her lip curled, and she charged at him. The blade of his spear came close, but she dodged it as she moved under his guard, jumped up onto him, and with one perfectly timed bite, ripped out his throat. She rode his body to the ground.

The orcs stood frozen at the sight of their chief so easily brought low. With a single bark, they turned and ran. The village was safe today. Lucy followed the orcs, ensuring the village would be safe tomorrow.

Lucymonster the Terrible - Corgi Level 4
Lawful      XP: 9,550 (+10% bonus to all earned XP)

Str 14      +1 to attack & damage
Int 13       Read + Speak Common, Canine
Wis 9
Dex 16     +2 to AC
Con 9
Cha 13     +1 to reaction rolls (“so pretty!”)

HP: 14
AC: 5 (base 7 + Dex bonus)
Attack: 1 bite or slam
Damage 1d6+1

Today is Lucy's 5th birthday, and in honor of that I offer this post. If she could be, Lucy would be a paladin, and one of the unforgiving type. Lucy is absolutely convinced that she is right 100% of the time. She's willing to listen to your argument, she'll consider it, and then she'll reject it! She is more reserved around strangers than her sister, and more suspicious, yet she shares the same curiosity.

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sunday Inspirational Image - End

This post is being written ahead of time, so that just in case I'm a victim of the Raptor that is supposed to occur this evening, this post will still go live. I'm also setting it to go up on Saturday afternoon, figuring that if the Raptor does occur, those left behind will need a little inspiration.

I hope you enjoy whichever version of Armageddon you're looking forward to!


The sun was only cresting the horizon as the adventurers made their way along the trail.

“And where do you think you’re going?” A booming voice called out to the adventurers from the woods to their side. Turning to see who called out they viewed a fat, slightly sweaty, centaur. His cheeks and nose had a rosy hue that confirmed that his drinking horn held more than water.

“We’re off to Agodoa.” Allianora replied.

“Bah! You don’t want to go there! Agodoans don’t know how to have a good time. Come! Follow me, and I shall how to really let your party manimal out!” He laughed before continuing. “Hop on my back blond and beautiful! I’ll show you and your friends the way. I was just heading there myself!

“And where would that be?” Nimble asked.

“To the races! The winner of the big one gets a jeweled crown, but everyone has a good time. Ha! Well, maybe not the losers, but everyone else!”

“We really aren’t in a hurry...” Nimble offered to his companions.

“I’ve got some spare coin that I could put down on a race or three...” Rathgar said.

Allianora looked skeptical, and they all turned to Feris. “Well, it is a nice day.”

“That settles it then!” The centaur cried out.

“What shall we call you?” Allianora asked.

“I am Kegasus, Lord of the Infield Fest and Prince of Preakness! Come hop up.” He patted his back.

As she dubiously approached he said “I’ll help you get your Preak on!” and he waggled his eyebrows at her.

Kegasus is a centaur of base pleasures, and is the mascot of the Preakness Stakes which is running today. He would use the usual centaur stats, and he would carry an ever-full horn of ale as his badge of office.

For those who don’t know, the Preakness is the second of the Triple Crown of horse racing, the other two being the Belmont and the Kentucky Derby.

And yes, the Kegaus really is this year’s mascot, and last year’s catch phrase really was “get your Preak on.”

He even has a theme song...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Poll and PDF

There is a new poll asking what PDFs you would like to see first. Monsters? Dog related posts? Magic Items? Vote off to the right!

Also, the PDF of the complete Sample Dungeon has now been uploaded. It's purely the adventure, not any of my commentary. Let me know if you check it out! You can either click here, or on the downloads page.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Black Finger Bandits

With dramatically appropriate timing, the inn door slammed open, just as a flash of lightning, followed immediately be a crash of thunder lit the sky. Jeriel, owner of the local curiosity and specialty shop, stood in the doorway, dripping wet. “I’ve been robbed!”

The adventurers in the back corner of the taproom looked at each other. “What? It wasn’t me!” Nimble says quietly to his companions.

Someone had escorted Jeriel in, closed the door, and handed him an ale. An off duty city guard asked him what happened. “I was in the back room reading, and I heard a noise coming from the shop. I know I locked up, so I went out to see what it was. When I opened the door to the shop there was someone stuffing my wares into a sack. I don’t know how he saw anything, since the only light came from the back room. When he saw me, he just grinned, walked into a shadow, and disappeared!”

“What did he look like?” the guard asked.

“I couldn’t see much, he had on a dark cloak, which was wet. It left puddles in the shop. What I could see was... ghastly. His face was very pale, but his eyes and his mouth were dark... even his teeth!”

“Crap” Rathgar swore quietly before draining his tankard. “We can either deal with this, or get out of town.”

“Can’t it wait till morning?” Feris asked. “I’m bushed”

“Nope.” Rathgar said. “I can’t sleep in a bright room, and any room with shadows isn’t even remotely safe right now.” He stood up and called out to the guard “Where can we find the bandits?”

One of the distinctive properties of Dark Honey is that repeated use permanently stains the fingers and teeth of the user, thereby marking anyone with those stains as someone not to be trusted. Recently a band of ruffians has been spotted with the distinctive stains raiding caravans, pillaging locked shops, and even kidnapping and assassinating those that would oppose them.

Of late, their tactics seem designed more to terrorize than to simply gather wealth. This is due to the influence of a cleric that has begun to minister to them. Sendoc, Prophet of the Sleeper, is a tall, slightly pudgy follower of the Lord of Nightmares, a demonic entity that feeds on the fear of things that lurk just out of sight. His gray eyes peer out from behind heavy lids. Like his new flock, his fingers, lips, and teeth are stained black because of his use of Dark Honey. His hair and beard are both long and unkempt. He disdains combat and will generally spend his time directing the bandits or cursing his opponents with his nightmarish liturgy. He is however armed with a mace and wears chain mail under his midnight blue robes, and willingly uses his powers to defeat his opponents.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 36-39

Room 36 is empty. I decided to make use of Tricks, Empty Rooms, and Basic Trap Design for this one, and I rolled a cell. That’ll work. You can never have too many cells in a dungeon! I’m going to stick a dead wererat in there, in hybrid form. The kobolds caught it alone, and brought it here and starved it to death.

Room 37 is a special. Using Hack & Slash’s Endless Bag of Tricks I came up with some hanging plants that burn. I’m picturing something that looks like ivy, but orange instead of green, and hanging down to about 4’ above the floor.

Room 38 is a monster. My random chart tells me it’s some kobolds. 11 of them to be precise, and they’ve got 3,000 cp. These kobolds will be related to the ones in room 3. As the bandits don’t really know how many of them there are, they probably swap out, and the coins are the payment they’ve collected from the bandits.

Room 39 is a monster. I decided to go off book for this one, and not roll on my dungeon stocking chart. Ever since I read about the Stair Stalker, I knew I had to have one in my megadungeon. These stairs will go down to map 2D stairs B.

The Rooms:

36. Trapped Like A...
This room is divided into 3 cells. Each cell includes a wooden bed-frame, a stool and a copper pot. The cell in the southeastern corner of the room is occupied by the body of a wererat. It is fairly fresh, and a close examination will reveal numerous self-inflicted bite wounds and a highly emaciated form. The bed in the middle cell (in the SW corner) hides a small doorway that will be found automatically by anyone searching the room

37. Is It Hot In Here?
A system of roots supports a strange hanging vine that covers the ceiling and the north and east walls. The plant hangs down to about 4’ from the floor, and seems to undulate ever so slightly. It’s bright orange leaves are veined in yellow, and flutter at the slightest disturbance. The room is warm and somewhat humid. Anyone touching the vines must make a saving throw vs poison or suffer 1d4+1 points of chemical burns. Behind the vines on the northern corner of the east wall is a hole leading to 36.

38. More Fun Than...
This round chamber, hidden behind a secret door, is decorated with rugs, tapestries, and surprisingly plush pillows. It is currently inhabited by 11 kobolds who are in the process of planning a raid on the goblins. Behind one of the tapestries on the wall is a fairly accurate map of rooms 24-39. There is also a hidden stash of 3,000 cp which they will use to bargain with either for assistance with the goblins, or as a bribe to prevent being attacked.

39. What’s Green and Shaggy and Goes Up and Down?
Anyone approaching this area will hear the slow shuffle of the stair stalker reaching the top of the stairs, and the gentle clink of the 41gp it carries in a leather sack. If presented with a single gold for every person, it will allow them to pass. Otherwise they will have to follow behind. Attacking or trying to barge past without paying will result in a violent reply. Anyone tossed down the stairs will take 4d4 points of damage before coming to a rest at one of the many platforms of the stairs down to map 2D stairs B.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stonehell 2: A Review

Last week Michael Curtis of the eminent Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope released to those members of the Facebook Stonehell fan page a preview of Stonehell 2. Yesterday he made it available to all. I downloaded it a couple of days ago, printed it out, and read through it, and I have to say that after reading it over a couple of times I want Stonehell Book 2 ASAP!!

The preview is a single section of level 6 called the Sepulture of Kron. Right away you know it's something new and different, as it's listed as section E! No other level of Stonehell thus far has gone past section D! The map of the section shows connections to levels 5C, 6C, and 7E, and it has 28 keyed rooms. It follows the standard 2 page format of the previous Stonehell levels, complete with a wandering monster chart, keyed features, and notes.

In addition, there are 4 pages of notes that include the history of this section, an overview of the population of the Sepulture of Kron, section notes that include a great "cryptic column writings" chart, and detailed notes on different locations in this section. It also includes 3 new monsters, 2 modified monsters, and 2 new powerful if limited* magical items.

It is an unfinished product, not as polished as the finished sections that were published in the first books. The map is hand drawn, and there are a couple of minor spelling/grammatical errors that I noticed. However this is only a preview, and I have no doubt it'll all be cleaned up in the finished book**.

This is a tantalizing preview of Stonehell Dungeon 2: Under Stonehell Dungeon 1*** and well worth the download. If nothing else, it's a great inspiration for your own megadungeon projects!

* They use charges
** To be honest, I wish my finished sections looked this good!
*** Not the actual title, as far as I know.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stair Stalker

Greg over at Gorgonmilk a while back was sharing various monsters from the Fiend Factory articles that appeared in White Dwarf. This was way back before it became a $10 advertisement for whatever overpriced miniature they released. In this series was the Stair Stalker, a creature I keep wanting to call the Stair Creeper.

The Stair Stalker is a rather tough monster with an AC of 0, 3d8+1 HP, and 2 attacks that do d6 damage each. I see him high up in the dungeon because he is so tough, and lower down where higher level adventurers go it’ll be much less of an interesting encounter for the players. While it is a wonderfully creepy monster, I find myself imagining that its actually person cursed to endlessly climb and descend its stairs until it can collect enough gold to break the curse, the sort of thing a witch or fae or petty god would do.

So here he is in the Rules Cyclopedia style.

Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 3+1
Move: 30 (90)
Attacks: 2
Damage: 1d6
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: F4
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: S*10
Intelligence: 6
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 50
Monster Type: Humanoid

Sometimes known alternately as a Stair Creeper, this shaggy green humanoid prowls up and down the dark, dank stairs of dungeons. It is never found anywhere but the stairs of a dungeon, and attempts to lead it away, even by magical coercion result in violence. Attempts to push past this creature, or to take it’s sack of treasure will also result in violence.Otherwise it generally ignores everything around it. If dealt with peacefully and with a positive reaction roll, it will stretch out its yellow clawed mitt desiring gold to add to it’s sack. While capable of moving with the speed of a man, it tends to move more slowly as it traverses the stairs.

In combat the stair stalker will use its natural habitat to it’s advantage. If the stair stalker manages to strike the same target with both attacks, it will instead grab the victim and toss them down the stairs. It will also sprint up or down the stairs to string out those attacking it, before turning around and taking on fewer opponents.

The Shaggy Stair Creeper
David The Archmage

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Inspirational Image - Blood Moon

Last night my wife and I went and saw Priest. It was pretty good, and I really enjoyed Karl Urban as Black Hat and Paul Bettany as Priest. My one big complaint is that it was too short at 87 minutes. At the end of the movie I was totally ready for the next part of the story.

In honor of a vampire movie that didn't involve angst filled sparkly fairies, I offer this inspirational image.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 33-35

Room 33 is another unguarded treasure with 100 silver pieces. Ok, I did the weird coin stacking thing in room 32... Here’s a variation. 10 stacks of 10 laid out in a perfect circle.... and red and yellow pigments used to form a pair of overlapping pentagrams. One pentagram wont hold David Bowie!

Room 34 is a monster. 8 Giant Rats! Awesome! Everyone loves rodents of unusual size (even if they don’t think they really exist). Also since I have an excess of wererats in lower levels, these guys are probably the pack they get their guard rats from.

Room 35 is empty. However it is a fantastic area, and is going to need some really wonderful stuff even if there aren’t any monsters, treasures, traps, or specials to be found. Lots and lots of skeletons, and faint whisperings...

The Rooms:

33. The High Cost of Summoning
The door to this chamber has been marked with a wide variety of warnings, hexes, and ghastly “keep out” tokens. The Goblin Shaman has prepped this chamber for the summoning ritual, and wants no one to disturb his preparations. The walls of the chamber are covered completely with various magical wards and writings. The floor is marked with a pair of overlapping pentagrams in red and yellow. At every point is a stack of 10 silver pieces.

34. I Smell A Rat!
This chamber reeks of musky excrement, and is full of debris and detritus, causing everyone to move at half speed. Moving too far into the room will attract the notice of the 8 giant rats that call this mess home. They are well fed, but highly aggressive. There is a 5% chance that a wererat will be visiting the pack.

35. Those Who Sleep
The twisting passages and dead ends of this area are full of niches, alcoves, and shelves all full of funerary urns, shrouded skeletons, and other ghastly tokens. All are old, dry and brittle, and many have been disturbed in their everlasting slumber by those searching for treasure. Some seem to have been returned to their original positions after having been disturbed. A nearly constant and barely audible whispering can be heard.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger issues

Note to self - back up blog.

As we wait for Google to get things fixed I'm going to take the opportunity to show you this stag-snail from a local parking garage. Interesting, isn't it?

Sample Dungeon Rooms 30-32

Room 30 is empty, and has a set of downward stairs. It looks like double stairs, which I'm going to take to mean 2 levels down, so these stairs go down to level 3. I haven't drawn the map they go to yet, so I'll just say they go to level 3.

Room 31 is a monster with treasure. It turns out there are 11 goblins in this suddenly very crowded room! Along with 20,000sp!! Holy crap these guys are rich. Ok, we're going to make one goblin special... a goblin king? Naa, don't want to include David Bowie right now. A goblin shaman could work... who is trying to summon David Bowie!

Room 32 is an unguarded treasure. 100 silver and 10 gold. We’re gonna freak the players out with this one. All 110 coins are in a single stack in the middle of the room with one gold on top of every 10 silver. Bwahaha!

Ok, I really need to make a cross referenced list of what stairs go to what room. I’m at the point where it’s becoming difficult to remember.

The Rooms:

30. A Long Dark Walk
These stairs descend to Level 3. A faint sweet odor rises up the stairs, and a variety of goblin graffiti decorate the walls.

31. A Gathering of Goblins
A goblin shaman (lvl 3 - Light, Protection from Evil, Curse) has gathered these 10 goblins together to perform a summoning ritual. The shaman wishes to gain domination of the upper levels of the dungeon, and plans to make a deal with a devil. He has collected 20,000sp as a down payment. The goblins are in the process of applying orange body paint and the Rooms 32 and 33 have already been prepared. The shaman has the key to the ritual rooms.

32. Money at Attention
This locked chamber is inscribed with magical runes in red, black, and yellow paints. Standing in the center of the room is a stack of 110 coins, alternating 10sp for every 1gp.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sample Dungeon Rooms 27-29

Room 27 is a special, right next to the strange winds of 25... The effects of the strange winds should therefore continue through 27, extinguishing any non-magical light sources. In addition, the archway on the north wall leading to the corridor going NW will be on Fire! Heck, lets make it the walls and ceiling of the hallway too! Now as this is a special and not a trap, we can have the flames only cause a point of damage per round that anyone spends in the hall. Falling against the walls would do 1d6+1 we’ll say.

Room 28 is empty. It’ll have the toasty remains of a couple of long charred goblins reaching toward the secret door. The walls, floor and ceiling of the room will all be soot covered. The room will be warm, but not too burning. It’s a dry heat, and everyone knows that isn’t as bad!

Room 29 has a monster with treasure. I came up with yet another stirge, but only one this time. It built itself a little nest at the top of the stairs, and has 1d6 servings of Dark Honey.1d2 if collected poorly.

The Rooms:

27. Tunnel of Fire
Strange Winds flow into this room and through the far hall. The noise of the wind is joined by the sounds of the windblown flames that start by encircling the doorway, and continuing down the hall in a swirling vortex of fire. The way is passable, and the floor is generally clear of flame, but anyone traversing the hall will take 1point of damage for every round they spend in the flames. Should anyone fall against the walls the damage will increase to 1d6+1 points of damage, and a saving throw must be made or flammable objects the character is carrying will ignite.

28. Long Slow Bake
At the end of the flaming corridor is a very sooty room, hot and dry. Two goblin corpses that have been baked and undisturbed for a very long time press against the wall at the secret door where they died trying to open it.

29. Cool and Refreshing
This chamber is welcoming and cool. It is also inhabited by a hungry stirge. It has built a small nest with 1d6 servings of Dark Honey if collected properly. 1d2 if removed in haste or without the proper tools.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vertical Geomorphs

I’ve tried my hand at geomorphs a couple of times, with nothing that I think of as success, especially when compared to the amazing efforts of Dyson and Stonewerks. This is why you’ve not seen any of them before. However there was a recent call by Jeff Rients for some vertical geomorphs, and the aforementioned Dyson and Stonewerks danced like the map-making monkeys they say they aren’t.

Today stonewerks posted a nifty dungeon with a tentacle monster on it, and I was inspired.

If you can’t tell, this was drawn on a yellow post it note.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sample Dungeon Rooms 24-26

Ok, first up, the numbering on this map is just a little nuts. First there were the combined rooms. Fine, dealt with that. Now we go from room 23 to room 24... and they’re no where near each other! It doesn’t flow at all! 24 should be at the end of the long hall running from the secret door to room 3. Weird. Also several of the room numbers don’t seem to be very well defined. Because of this oddity, I’m going to mark out which area goes with which room number. This is purely for the sake of my own sanity... I’m tempted to just redraw the map, but I think that might go against the basic concept. So instead I’ll use the magic power of the highlighter.

Ok, that’s a little clearer.

Room 24 contains both a trap and a treasure. 300 silver and 60 gold. Now 24 is a large area, so where to stick the trap? My inclination is the western dead end. I’ve already include a capture trap (21), a pit trap (17) a couple of trapped doors, and this will be the last trap of the dungeon. Maybe a pocket of explosive gas? Or a weakness poison!

Room 25 is a special, and I’ve been inspired by ChicagoWiz mentioning Strange Winds from Ultima III. I’ve never actually played that one, but the idea of a room that blows out torches? Love it!

Room 26 is a monster. A single Darkmantle hides at the top of the 20 foot ceiling in the dark. It’s also managed to accumulate 4,000sp!

The Rooms!

24. Branching Paths
These corridors contain a higher amount of detritus and debris then previously explored sections. A musty smell permeates the area, stronger the closer to 34 you get. Anyone exploring the dead end to the northwest will be confronted with a large pile of goblin and kobold refuse. Anyone willing to spend 2d6 turns digging through it will discover a small heavy chest stashed here by a kobold shaman. Written on it, in common, goblin, and low draconic, is “Death or Do not touch!” The locked chest itself contains 2 traps. The first is a poison needle trap, which if triggered will cause the victim to suffer 1d8 points of strength damage (recoverable at a rate of 1 per day). The second is a bladder full of explosive gas that will rip when the chest is opened. If there is a flame near the chest when it happens it will cause 1d10 points of damage to anyone within 10’ of the chest. The chest contains 300sp and 60gp.

25. Strange Winds
A strong wind blows from the northeastern section of this area, which has kept it mostly clear of debris. Any non-magical light brought into the corridor will cause the wind to briefly gust, extinguishing it automatically. The wind seems to funnel into 27. The hall running from room 3 is oddly undisturbed by the wind.

26 Like another hole in the head
This area contains the nearly skeletal remains of several kobolds, all of whom have odd puncture wounds on their skulls. Hiding in the shadows above along the center line of the 20’ tall ceiling is a darkmantle. It will avoid attacking anyone wearing a helm or in a group larger than 3. Tipped on it’s side is a chest with carrying poles that contains 4,000sp.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 21-23

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 21-23

Rolls and Thoughts:

Room 21 - This room indicated a trapped treasure. I started by rolling up the treasure itself. 500sp and 20gp. It was rolling this one up that I realized that the gold in room 19 was off by a factor of 10! Whoops! I’ve got to go fix that. Back to 21; the shape of this room is interesting, and lends itself to being more permanently divided. Another pressure plate could work... One that causes a wall to drop sealing off the east and west sides of the room, and causes the door on the north wall of the eastern side to lock. Maybe then have the room fill with water? No... Gas! Causes a point of damage every turn.

Room 22 - The dungeon stocking roll indicated a monster with treasure, and the monster result is 8 stirges! (which was mentioned back in room 16). The treasure in this case is a 500gp gem. However, I am swapping this out for a nest full of Dark Honey!  Arbitrarily I’ve decided that there will be 3d12 portions that are recoverable, 21 by the dice.

Room 23 - This room indicated another monster with treasure. Once again we get a group of bandits, 6 of them in this little room. What are they doing in this little room with the 200sp I rolled for them? They can gamble in room 9... Perhaps they’re trying to get to the dark honey? Do they have black teeth? Maybe they’re feeding the stirges to get the honey? Or using some sort of smoke bomb to make them dormant?

As I progress through the dungeon I’m discovering things that need to be adjusted, and not just the mistake with the total gold from room 19. I know have an understanding of who the bandits are, and I should tweak some of the previous rooms to reflect that fact. However, that will have to wait for another day!

Final Descriptions:

21. Treasure Trap
This divided chamber contains the usual detritus along the edges and corners of the room. In the center of the eastern chamber is an obvious pressure plate. Unlike the plate in 19, this one is actually trapped. Triggering the plate will cause a wall to drop, separating the two chambers, and cause the door on the north wall of the eastern chamber to slam shut and lock. The room will then begin to fill with a poisonous gas. Anyone in the room while it is thus sealed will take 1hp damage every turn as the gas poisons them. Opening the room will disperse the gas, ending the ongoing damage. Under the pressure plate is small chest with 500sp and 20gp. The gold is mostly on top, making it appear more valuable than it is.

22. Sticky Stirges
A large papery mass fills the eastern corner of the northern end of the room. 8 stirges have built this nest, and have loaded it up with Dark Honey. 21 servings of it may be harvested if done carefully. If care is not taken only 3d6 servings are recovered.

23. Honey-do List
The 6 bandits in this room have donned thick stiff leather and plate outfits (AC4, -50% movement, -1 to hit) with full helms. Also in this room is a barrel of odd looking torches, an assortment of . When lit the torches will emit a foul smelling purple smoke. The smoke will reduce visibility to 10’ in a well lit area, but more importantly, will cause stirges to become sluggish and docile. The effect lasts as long as the smoke persists plus 1d6 turns. The bandits also carry a total of 200sp among them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sample Dungeon Project Rooms 18-20

I haven’t been sharing how I’ve been stocking this sample dungeon, and I feel like I should. Carter Soles over at the Lands of Ara is doing a really good job of it, so I’m going to emulate his style somewhat in order to show my thought process.

Room 18 - Now, when we left off I wrote that I had figured out the issue with rooms 17 and 18. Well, room 18 is the room at the bottom of the pit, and it’ll be a 30’x30’ room. The pit drops anyone unfortunate enough to fall down it into the middle of the room. I rolled a monster for the room, and the result was zombies! One toss of 2d4 results in 4 zombies, and zombies have no treasure.

Room 19 - The dungeon stocking roll for this small room indicates treasure. Rolling on the chart for unguarded treasure on page 261 of the Rules Cyclopedia I came up with a haul of 300sp and 600gp! Who would just leave treasure lying about? No one! It’s hidden... probably by the bandits that inhabit this section.

Room 20 - The roll for this room called for a Special. I want to tie it into the waterfall dividing rooms 14 and 16, so there will be a column of water flowing from the floor to the ceiling, not contained by anything, but still flowing he wrong direction. If the players disrupt the water, it will interrupt the flow between room 14 and 16, allowing free passage.

So that results in the following:

18. Zombie Trap
This 30x30 room is only accessible via the pit trap in room 17. Standing at the bottom of the pit trap are 4 musty, dusty zombies waiting for their next meal. Due to landing on the waiting zombies the falling damage is reduced to 1d6. However the character is automatically entangled. The remains of previous victims can be found scattered around the edges of the chamber.

19. Stash
This small chamber has a single flagstone outlined in chalk, and a warning message saying “danger” upon it. Anyone checking for traps will immediately notice that the outlined stone appears to be a pressure plate.The former bandits’ leader, the trusting souls he was, stashed away a sizable fortune under this untrapped loose stone on the floor.

20. Water Column
In the northwest corner of the room is a 1 foot diameter column of water flowing from the floor to the ceiling. Disrupting the flow of water to the ceiling will cause this room to flood and cut off the curtain of water between 14 and 16. Barring major magics, the flow will eventually be restored, usually by the time the adventurers next return to either this room or 14/16.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A to Z Challenge Review

What a month! A hearty Congratulations!! to those who made it all the way through. I thought I had a decent mix of topics, and while some were clearly better posts than others, that can be said for any month. I do feel like I cheated a little bit with R, but that was a really rough week, school-wise, plus I think it ended up being a little funny.

Below is the list of the posts, and a description of what actual content can be found within.
A is for Adventurers
B is for Bards
C is for Chaotic Neutrals
D is for Derring-do
E is for Elevators
F is for Flotsam and jetsam - Chart of random flotsam and jetsam
G is for Games Workshop - Pictures of my GW minis
H is for High-level campaigns
I is for Immolation - Chart - results of attacking with flaming object
J is for Jinn
K is for Khorne - pictures of my Khorne 40k army
L is for Loot - Treasure Rumors chart
M is for Maps - Scans of some new maps!
N is for Necropolis
O is for Orphan - What type of orphan are you chart
P is for Portals - Random portal appearance chart
Q is for Quest Giver
R is for Rest
S is for Shadows
T is for Thuol - Reimagined monster Hoq-Goblin
U is for Underdark - New Magic Lantern
V is for Virginia's Style
W is for Walking Cactus - New Monster
X is for X marks the spot! - Map appearance
Y is for Ygg - New Magic Item - Eye of Odin
Z is for Zombie - Random Zombie Variants

Looking back, these the ones I feel were the 5 strongest posts of the challenge (in no particular order).
T is for Thoul
Y is for Ygg
Z is for Zombie
F is for Flotsam and jetsam
O is for Orphan

And these were the weakest (also in no particular order).
J is for Jinn - I meant to do a chart for bottle styles and just couldn’t get to it.
K is for Khorne - Picture post
G is for GW - Picture post
Q is for Quest Giver - Meant to add some examples or a random chart
C is for Chaotic Neutral - Ah, naval gazing...

R was going to be Rakasta, but I ran out of time, and actually, really, needed the day off. I plan on revisiting that topic later, but who knows when.

My general feeling is that I’m not such a hot Dungeon Master or Blogger that I can get away with advice/editorial posts frequently. Besides that, I don’t really enjoy them as much. I’d much rather create new dungeons, monster, and treasures.

I’ve created a PDF file of all 26 entries, and you can download it here! I think it's my best looking PDF to date! If you check it out, let me know!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bits and Bobs III

I read the various blogs that I follow via Google Reader. I don’t know how many of you do the same, but there is one minor annoyance I’ve found and it’s blogs where only the first couple lines of each entry are shown. Well, now there is a solution that doesn’t involve skipping past or clicking through.


I’ve been using it for a couple of days now, and it’s great! You just enter the blog into the link above, and then subscribe to the link it gives you. Definitely worth doing!

Sandbox debate

There’s been some great posts on this subject, and it seems that unlike previous cross-blog debates, this one isn’t spinning itself into one of those dreaded teapot tempests!

I get JB’s line of thought, and the Old Guy’s too, and between them and the other commenters there has been some great and lively discussion. I don’t really have anything to add to it except to say that my games have tended to stand somewhere between both ends of the spectrum.

I’ve adjusted the design of my blog somewhat. There is now an option to follow the blog via e-mail, should anyone be interested.

There is also a new poll! I’m considering putting together PDFs of my blog posts, as sorted by themes. For instance all my dog related posts, or the various magic keys, or the monsters, etc. They wont be particularly pretty, but I’ll try to do some formatting beyond simple copy/paste, and they will of course be free.

I get  -C’s thoughts on PDF pricing. I really do. I sympathize. For all that I put out, I really get very few hits, and pitifully few comments. I’m ok with that. Sure, I’d love more followers who all leave lots of comments on every post, but I don’t do all that I do here that. I do it because I enjoy it, and you get the benefit! Besides, I'm not sure I'd pay for my own PDFs, such as they are, so why would anyone else?

Oh, and if you haven’t checked out -C’s awesome PDFs, you need to. I haven’t checked out all of them yet, but the Tricks and Traps PDF should be required downloading.



And while you’re there, remember to say “thanks!”