Sunday, June 16, 2013

June Megadungeon Musings

Just my latest . . .

Megadungeon Musings!

Here's the status of my dungeon.

Mapping - I've mapped 11 levels or major sub-levels fully. I've stocked most of them.

Depth - I realized I don't need that deep of a dungeon. 17 levels? Nah. Not in a go-and-return-the-same-session game like I run. If it takes more than half the session to get there, they aren't likely to go. So a game like I run argues for a flatter, shallower dungeon (like the Black City) instead of a deep, deep dungeon. Easy access to multiple levels is a way around this, though.

Stocking - I've settled on using the Moldvay/Cook room stocking rolls. I think they work well enough. Especially for a first-pass "what's in the dungeon" kind of thing. It's also easy to remember so I don't need to consult some chart to see what my die rolls mean.

Monsters - I still pick monsters by hand, but sometimes generate prefixes randomly.

Treasure - I'm still futzing around with my treasure generator. As I've mentioned before, it's based on depth below the surface and modified by monster strength. The disconnect between monster and treasure is both good (you can find poor strong monsters and wealthy weak ones) and bad (same thing - a dragon with $5K in treasure and some fodder types with $100K). I think I need to tweak it some more but I haven't quite decided how.

I like this one at Dungeon of the Three Fools but it's got issues, like how to set the level (Is it monsters? Depth?) and the clear tie to D&D/AD&D valuing, which isn't how I play. Still it's something I would like. My still-in-alpha system generates a hoard value, but not hoard components. I'd love one of these for GURPS so I could just stock a dungeon level in minutes instead of hours.
(BTW, Dungeon of the Three Fools is a great name for an old-school megadungeon. You get what you deserve, going into a place like that.)

I'm thinking of giving bigger bonuses to Boss monsters on the result (since I determine the monster toughness and then its treasure) and bigger penalties to Fodder types, still normalizing at "Worthy."

I'm also thinking of some tweaks based on level depth. Right now it directly scales to level, which means rolling up treasure on level 6+ means there is usually quite a lot. This isn't necessarily bad, but it does mean "depth below" is critical and maybe it should be "challenge level of the area."

I know this is all pretty vague since I haven't shown the system, but once it's up for beta I may show a bit more. I'm hoping to make something publishable and SJG doesn't like to re-publish stuff that's up for free on some blog somewhere.

Traps - I'm still a big fan of traps. Here is a nice look back at Grimtooth's Traps (I have most of these, and I started with Too - and e23 has them.) But I'm plumbing some more reasonable sources for traps, like Traps & Treachery and the trap charts from Undermountain II.

I think my player's discovery of the use of Create Servant to create trap-trippers gives me a chance to really let go with some nastiness, because they're getting better at dealing with traps. I can level up the challenge, basically, to keep up with their cleverness.

All in all, I find drawing and stocking my dungeon a combo of fun, work, and relaxation. Coming up with the systems to make it more fun than work is more work than fun, though. Still, all in all, it's amusing stuff.


  1. Since your system generates a value for a hoard, but not the components, you might consider looking at the system in Swords & Wizardry, which starts with a value (in that game, set as a multiple of the XP values of the monsters nearby), and then goes through a process of checking to see if portions of that value are exchanged for other stuff (magic items, gems, whatever). While the specifics probably wouldn't work well for you, the general ideas could possibly help you in working out your system.

    1. I'll check it out. I have my Reaper Bones copy of S&W queued up to read, so maybe I'll move up towards the top of the list.

  2. Interesting that Moldvay won out compared to all those other systems you were experimenting with....

    1. The thing about Moldvay is that it's broad enough (monster, trap, special, empty, plus treasure or not), takes only a couple of rolls, and it's easy to remember. It's neither too big for the job nor too complex (both of them are problems with the AD&D system), overly specific (LL, AD&D), or too simple (white box). It's easy to remember, too.

  3. I could readily see a system which encoded Dungeon Fantasy 8 into a random generator. It would be a little more sophisticated than a generic random table system, because it would take CF into account to give a final price... but that ought to be well within my abilities to write.

    Not sure what SJG would think of a web page that made their supplement obsolete, mind.

    1. Probably. Unless it just spat out results but no details, like the gemstone generator and spice generator.

      Or was a purchasable add-on.


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