Saturday, September 10, 2011

My own dungeon: getting started

In order to take a break from spaceships, I thought I’d mess around some with Dungeons & Dragons and design an underground adventuring locale (a megadungeon as the kids call it).  For purposes of this exercise, I’m going to limit myself to the original Holmes D&D rulebook and my expanded wandering monster tables, supplemented with The Holmes Companion and (maybe) module B2, The Keep on the Borderlands.

I’m not going to start off with any overarching purpose or backstory; just use the dice rolls and the tables as a springboard to see what my imagination comes up with.  I’m not even gonna bother with maps at this point; I just want to see what sort of ideas the dice give me.  To me, it’s a mini-game I can play solo to entertain myself for awhile.

We’ll begin with the first level of the complex, which I will assume has about sixty rooms.  Since Holmes says one out of three rooms will contain some sort of monster, that gives us a score of encounters on this level.

To start out, I roll twenty times on my wandering monster tables, rolling a 12-sider to determine which level table to consult, then rolling another d12 on that table (actually, I just go to to generate the numbers).  Here’s what I get:

First roll (level)  Second roll (monster)   
12   (third)        8   shriekers
11   (second)       7   troglodytes
12   (third)        10  car. crawls
4    (first)        7   gnomes/pixies
2    (first)        5   skeletons
10   (second)       7   troglodytes
  (first)        4   kobolds
10   (second)       10  shadows
1    (first)        3   bandits           
9    (second)       2   elfs
2    (first)        11  fire beetles
9    (second)       2   elfs
4    (first)        10  lg spiders
8    (first)        7   gnomes/pixies
2    (first)        11  fire beetles
  (first)        12  stirges
9    (second)       3   hobgoblins
11   (second)       6   gnolls
10   (second)       1   berserkers
10   (second)       3   hobgoblins 

A lot of relatively tough creatures, but also some potential allies and natural factions.  Next, I’ll rearrange the encounters by frequency and roll for number appearing (breaking out my dice this time):

elfs x 2 (6 total)
fire beetles x 2 (4 total)
gnomes/pixies x 2 (6 gnomes, 2 pixies)
hobgoblins x 2 (5 total)
troglodytes x 2 (10 total)
bandits (3)
berserkers (2)
carrion crawlers (2)
gnolls (5)
kobolds (8)
large spiders (1)
shriekers (4)
shadows (3)
skeletons (3)
stirges (4)

That’s a total of almost 70 potential allies, enemies, and vermin.  Here's what I come up with for living arrangements: The elfs, gnomes & pixies occupy their own area, feuding with the hobgoblins and troglodytes.  The fire beetles seem like a common pest encountered anywhere.  The bandits and berserkers are natural allies, perhaps here to loot the place.  Carrion crawlers have a sort of symbiosis with the shriekers, showing up when they hear noise because that means food is near.  Shadows and skeletons inhabit an isolated area that living creatures shun (and I think I know how I’ll make use of the fact that I rolled the same number for each creature).  The large spider has a lair from which it emerges to hunt.  Since the book says gnolls are strong but dislike work (including mining), they’re there making the kobolds dig for something (the gnolls won’t say what they’re doing here, and the kobolds just don’t know).

Before I come up with a map or even roll for hit points for the monsters on this level, I want to see what lies below.  It may affect how I end up placing things up here.  As an arbitrary limit, I will only detail the first nine levels of this dungeon.  Let's see what's down these stairs ...

1 comment:

Daniel "Theophage" Clark said...

What an awesome way of populating a dungeon. Thank you for this!