Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Megadungeon Stocking

I've made a lot of progress on my megadungeon - Felltower aka Grak Yorl aka the Boneyards.

- As I mentioned before, I whipped up a rough "stocking table" based on the broad DF power categories outlined in DF2 - boss (individually tough monster, a threat one-on-many), worthy (tough as group, a threat many-on-many), and fodder (weak, a threat many-on-one). It's not perfect, not yet, but it's not bad so far. It's done well giving me interesting results in terms of monster spreads across the three and a half levels I used it on. Since DF doesn't actually label monsters with boss, worthy, or fodder (generally), I need to use judgement on what is what. But that's easy enough. If my notes say Worthy, I plunk down tough enough critters to make a challenging fight for the players, and I don't need a table to tell me which ones. I'd only re-roll on it anyway, because I'm like that.
I did find a way to ensure I get to use Bruno's prefixing table though, because it's awesome and uses stuff I helped write up and want to use extensively in this game.

- I wrote down my results directly on my maps. Like I've mentioned before, I make a master sheet and then photocopy it. I took one more copy and called it a Stocking Sheet, and I write the die roll results from my random stocking table, monster power levels, trap locations, etc. onto this map. I can mark the hell out of it and then make a "neat" copy for actual play.

- I then started to circle natural groupings. Maybe this Worthy monster surrounded by Fodder is their leader - or maybe they've just cornered it after a long hunt. Maybe these Worthies are near the Boss because they're protecting the guys up the hall from its predations. Maybe these lone fodder are looting a room, either having come from the surface, the same level, or the depths to find loot. I haven't yet defined the "what" of these monsters, but where I have an idea I wrote it on the map. The circles let me visually see where and how things interact.
A few traps, randomly placed with the B/X or DMG methods, suddenly became connected to monsters - these were placed my those monsters as "border" protections, those to pen in that critter in the room, and this one is a hunting trap meant to gather up food.

- Speaking of traps, I've got a rough idea for a random trap table, too (for GURPS, naturally), and I'm going to give that a spin on my levels next. It should be easier than mulling over what's appropriate. I'm very inspired by Zak S.'s idea that instead of statting up one location/encounter/whatever, you make a table that'll do that any time you need to. I do spent more time on the table, balancing it out, than might be strictly necessary, but I'm an author and maybe I'll find a way to publish it. Then it needs to be great - so I treat every table generation as writing rules for publication and playtest.

- I also made a quick list of minis I have and want to use, and monsters from many sources (DF2, Lands Out of Time, DFA1, DFM1, AD&D books, my Rolemaster books) that I'd like to use. It's not complete, and I write on it just as notes, not a definitive pick list.

- Finally, I've started to write down all of the details on the map and jot them into some kind of organized form suitable for play. The monsters will go into a spreadsheet, army man marshalling style (something I've used very successfully in the past with large groups of PCs and NPCs), and also into a printed group of sheets so I can flip to them easily for additional details.
The actual dungeon will ultimately be digital.

So far so good!

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