Showing posts from 2011

Dormant Ooze

Often, an ooze can go for a very long time between meals. When faced with prospects of starvation, some oozes adapted a dormant stage – and of those, a better survival trait was a mimicing dormant stage.

The ooze goes dormant and assumes the characteristics of the surface it is on. Like a bacteria spore, it can last nearly indefinitely in this state. How long has it been since anyone has disturbed this tomb?

But once disturbed by movement near or upon it, the ooze begins to awake from its dormant state. Allow 1-3 rounds of disturbance to rouse the ooze. Then in a progression of 4 rounds, the ooze returns to its normal state.

So, it goes like this:

The dormant ooze at the bottom of the pit appears to be the same material as the stone floor beneath.

Landing on it, the ooze is as hard as the stone the players were expecting. But then it wakes up.

In the first round, one character or two (the dwarf's stonecraft in this example) may notice that the the floor shifted beneath them…

Spomenik: Inspirational Images

First, check this out as an inspirational image for your next hex crawl location:

(Click to embiggen of course)

For all the coolness that this is, I would be remiss in not informing you that it is one of many monuments to World War II veterans erected in what was then Yugoslavia under a program by Marshal Tito. There is a website devoted to those veterans.

Now for another image:

You can find more by a google image search

I could go on about their abstract majesty and how their neglect adds to their appeal and mystery, but a random table would be more useful, don't you think? Here's one for you to riff off of for the "purpose" of your spomenik.

Roll d20 Temple of Tharizdun (or a local equivalent if you prefer.) Is it active? Abandoned? Waiting for the PCs to be sacrificed?Confluence of ley lines. Use another table for how magic is f'd with here.Portal to another plane. I'm sure there's a table for random planes somewhere.Another entrance to your megad…
A lot of folks have done some wonderful crazy shit with sketchup. I'm not one of them. At present, I'm using it only to do easy mapping for 3D dungeons. But to followup, I have links to show what cool things others are doing and a few tools so that you could at least use sketchup for the simpler mapping I'm doing.

Here are some examples of cool things that folks have done with sketchup:
Outdoor map of the Temple of Elemental Evil
Collection of 3D dungeon pieces.
A whole DDC dungeon done up with sketchup. This one shows the full potential of sketchup, with cut views and the like.

But before you could ever create anything like the examples above, here are some essential tools. These are tools to get after you've watched and played with the instructional videos.
The Ruby Library Depot Ruby scripts are macros (and more) that will automate some of the drawing process. The other links are some of the tools I found useful.
Numb E. This macro numbers rooms sequentially …

Jaquaying your dungeon with sketchup

So you're hot to make a new dungeon, or possibly your megadungeon. You've read the forum posts about non-linear dungeons, and you want to blow your player's minds with some 3-dimensional Jaquaying. What tools do you use?

Your handy graph paper is 2d. That's certainly how it's been done, and for some that alone is reason to stick with it. But consider what Jaquay himself has used to create maps - various 3d programs. They're complex and often costly.

You do have a free, relatively simple, alternative - google sketch up. There are even video tutorials.

So I set out to do this thing. You can see the results below - click to embiggen.

The origin of these levels was a dwarven mine with a main entrance at the bottom of a cliff on a river. From that entrance, I've got passages to two different wings and a canal the dwarves used to ferry goods in and out - making a shortcut to the far end of the map. There's also a surface entrance, and soon connec…

The Trouble With Lairs

Lairs are distinguished from megadungeons in that they are the abode of one singular organized body.

Key thing here is that many players aren't used to fighting something organized. Many of the PCs around my version of Yggsburgh have had their worst runs when invading lairs. Whether the lair was the Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom or my own 'Kobolds of Ever Winter', they've had runs against lairs that should have ended adventuring careers, even for those that survived. Many of these runs were losing propositions, where they used up in supplies and expendables many times what they were able to pull out of the dungeon. Sometimes you 'eat the barr' and sometimes...

It's the kinda thing that aught to drive them to find megadungeon type environments where there is more exploitable chaos. And that's why I run sandboxes, so they can choose their preferred level of risk and reward.

I shouldn't be too harsh on my players in this post. As a player, I've …

What Would Cugel Do? Why worry about the cost of Continual Light?

"What would Cugel do?" is the one of the better questions to ask if you're wondering what your players will do on any given session. If you haven't read Jack Vance's Dying Earth, then go do so because it's better than anything you'll read on the internet today. This blog will still be here, unless I sign up with google+ or something.

So, imagine if Cugel the irredeemable rogue was somehow able to cast the 2nd or 3rd level spell, Continual Light. In Dying Earth, no doubt he'd still find a way to hang himself. Conversely, "what would happen to Cugel" is not a bad question to ask if you're the DM facing some Cugel-minded players (the best kind.)

As I understand the standard old school frame that I use in the games I run, the player characters are a sieve through which gold flows. The PCs risk life, limb and soul for wealth and power only to lose it trying to gain more or via training, carousing, and a insatiable need to upgrade or replac…

Faction Connections in a Megadungeon

Yes, I do indeed have a blog and have content to post! I spend more time running games and playing them than I do blogging and commenting, though I have wasted time on that recently. To make amends, I offer something constructive to the blogosphere: a blatant rip of Zak's NPC connection diagram from his excellent Vornheim the Complete City Kit.

It's a common trope that the population of megadungeons are divided into factions involved in a byzantine web of interconnected rivalries and alliances. This is necessary since otherwise the megadungeon inhabitants would react to the external threat of the PCs with united force, and there would be no rational for open by-ways allowing freedom of movement necessary for player choice. The PCs explore the megadungeon and are primed to take advantage of the splits to divide and conquer. Giving these relations substance allows for roleplaying and negotiation as a player choice.

The tribes in Caverns of Thracia, the factions within t…