Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dungeon Generation Pt3 - "I'm rich! I'm wealthy. Yahoo! I'm comfortably well off!"

Part 1
Part 2

Treasure time.
So, treasure tables are pretty fun. Lots of things to roll. Big numbers of coins. Glittering jewels.

Buuuuuut the treasure tables make little sense to me. How did they come up with all the treasure categories, and why are the values the way they are? I'm sure there are reasons for all of it, and I'm sure if you looked up which monsters carry which treasure type you could probably figure out the gist. But on the surface the tables are an enigma. And when you dig below the surface, it just gets more confusing.
When you roll on the table to determine treasure on anything that isn't a monster lair, you're asked to pick the type yourself. There is a rough guide as to how much most of the categories are worth on average, so you can pick based on that I suppose. Just kind of weird to me and makes me have to think more about pixel bitching to balance the dungeon out.

I'm a PC in a game of ACKS at the moment and while I have a lot of issues with how it plays, I think they did a great job on the economics side. ACKS explains their treasure table based roughly on the idea that gp in treasure should be about 4x the amount of xp from monsters.

Now that, I can get my head around.


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dungeon Generation Pt2 - Monster Mash Pun.

Each one of these is a 3HD creature
with multiple attacks, regeneration,
and tasty snacks.
Part 1
Part 3 

Monsters. Horrible things. Lots of HP. Not much xp. And unless you happen across a lair - not much gp either. Only thing worse than monsters? Math. Let's do some monster math.


1 - DL-2 HD  - DL HD
2 - DL-1 HD  - DL HD
3 - DL-1 HD  - DL+1 HD
4 - DL HD 10 - DL+1 HD
5 - DL HD 11 - DL+2 HD
6 - DL HD 12 - DL+2 HD
(DL = Dungeon Level)

We're told (in Mentzer Basic) that in general, a dungeon should work like this: monsters are encountered mostly on the level of the dungeon equal to their Hit Dice. And the difference between the dungeon level and HD is usually no more than 2. So that is what the above table means. Slightly skewed in favour of higher level over lower level, because, hey, players don't complain enough about dying horribly and repeatedly.

How to use this table? Fill in each entry with an individual critter of the indicated hit dice. Special abilities are ignored, so a 2HD** creature is still 2HD. If you want a creature to be more common, fill in multiple slots with the same creature. You're welcome (and instructed in the rules) to hand place monsters outside those ranges however you wish. But for purposes of generating a random dungeon, the core stable of monsters should follow the guidelines above.

If you wanted random monsters too...well I'm sure you're clever enough to find or make a table of monsters sorted by hit dice to roll on.

This table is for the specific placement of monsters as indicated on table 4, but can double as a wandering monster/random encounter table.

Next up is treasure, in which I hope to use the above table to help generate it in such a way as it all nicely scales no matter what dungeon level you're on.

Side note: How many individual monster types do you like to put in your dungeons? I feel that 12 is a good number. It has room for a couple of factions, some incidental wild beasts and one or two surprises. More than that and it can become cumbersome to figure out how they all interact within that dungeon environment.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dungeon Generation

Doom's E1M1 as an isometric dungeon
map because I needed a picture of
a dungeon.
Part 2
Part 3

I've just finished reading the B in BECMI. The last four pages of the Dungeon Master's Rulebook have been probably the most helpful. This would be the "Creating Dungeons" chapter. A few bits at the beginning about common plots/hooks to use as an excuse to draw on graph paper, roll dice, kill monsters, take their stuff. A short section on what makes a good or bad dungeon, but it is pretty vague and not at all practically useful.

Then you get a step-by-step guide on how to build a dungeon from scratch. Lists and methods and numbers and tables and succinct idea springboards. It is all for simple dungeons that we've played a hundred times...but it is still good and useful stuff.

So I've gone and put it in to random D12 tables so that I can poop out a dungeon and ignore all the advice about how you should carefully place everything in the name of good game design. Whatever, Mentzer. I thought this was oldschool. Stop trying to Dragonlance my Emergent Gameplay.



So, I decided one day that I was a horrible DM and didn't have a clue what I was doing. I have begun re-reading BECMI as a sort of way to teach myself how to play again. It was the system I learned on as a little fella and is my flavorite (favorite flavor) of official Deeandee to this day.

These days I run LotFP, which I see as a more streamlined, balanced and no-frills version of BECMI. But DCC threatens to dethrone it as the game of choice. I'll probably just mash the two together.

Anyway. In my attempt to Become A Better DM, I've been paying attention to a lot of the rules in the Mentzer edition. Noting stuff down, copying tables, etc. I will compile this and make a little DM screen for myself or something like that. When I next run a game, I will be attempting to follow the rules as closely as possible (at least the rules I like). Not because I think the game would fall apart if I didn't; I've been playing this game for over 20 years and had very few train-wreck campaigns. But I'm interested in seeing how the game is supposed to work as written. A part of me feels like I'm missing out on an untapped source of fun by glossing over the RAW. In other words: You need to master the rules before you can break them.

This blog will be partly made up of this analysis. It'll also be full of crap I make myself that hopefully other people can use.

OR I will make a couple of posts, get bored and forget this place exists. We shall see.