31
Aug
10

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Dungeon

Once again, the bloody-handed adventuring party has returned from the dungeon laden with gold and jewels. They spend the next few days carousing in all the local taverns, buying rounds of ale for the house and telling lurid tales of the monsters they slew and the strange magics they unearthed. Then, refreshed and ready for another go, they set out for the dungeon again.

Who else, having heard their tales and seen their gold, is heading into the same dungeon?

Roll 1d20 on the following table each week of game time. Assess an ad hoc penalty to the roll if adventurers have suffered heavy casualties and/or won little treasure of late, or add a bonus if adventurers have brought back a particularly rich haul or if multiple parties have been active in the area.

Roll Result
1-12 No one else dares to enter the dungeon.
13 A band of local peasants ventures into the dungeon. Roll 1d6. (1: None of them are ever heard from again. 2: Too scared to enter the dungeon, they return with false tales of made-up adventures. 3: Finding only empty rooms, they wonder what the fuss was about. 4: After a nasty encounter with monsters, the survivors swear off adventuring. 5: As #4, but one or two survivors are willing to sign on with an adventuring party. 6: Clearing out 1d3 rooms on the first dungeon level, they find they have a knack for adventuring and form an first-level adventuring party.)
14-16 A low-level adventuring party enters the dungeon. Roll 1d6. (1: The party clears out 1d3 rooms before being killed off, leaving their bodies, equipment and wealth in the depths. 2-3: As #1, but some survive to tell the tale. 4-5: The party clears out 1d4 rooms in the upper part of the dungeon. 6: The party clears out 1d3 rooms in the middle part of the dungeon.)
17-18 A mid-level adventuring party enters the dungeon. Roll 1d8. (1: The party clears out 1d6 rooms before being killed off. 2-4: As #1, but some survive to tell the tale. 5: The party clears out 2d4 rooms in the upper part of the dungeon. 6-7: The party clears out 1d6 rooms in the middle part of the dungeon. 8: The party clears out 1d4 rooms in the lower part of the dungeon.)
19 A high-level adventuring party enters the dungeon. Roll 1d10. (1: The party clears out 1d8 rooms before being killed off. 2-4: As #1, but some survive to tell the tale. 5-7: The party clears out 2d6 rooms in the middle part of the dungeon. 8-10: The party clears out 1d6 rooms in the lower part of the dungeon.)
20 Another adventuring party is in the dungeon right now! Roll again, disregarding this result if you roll it a second time.
21+ More than one adventuring party has entered the dungeon! Roll again. Multiple results of 21+ are cumulative.

Give each NPC adventuring party a name and roll them up on the appropriate tables; this way you’re ready in case they get in a fight with the PCs or if the PCs find and loot their corpses in a monster’s lair. When you roll that an adventuring party enters the dungeon, if a party of the appropriate level range has been inside before, there’s a 5 in 6 chance that it’s an existing party and a 1 in 6 chance that it’s a party new to the area.

When determining where the NPC adventurers go, roll randomly or choose as appropriate for the NPC party. Rival parties may stir up trouble with otherwise peaceful monsters, break useful devices and disrupt the dungeon ecology (if any). The PCs may want to ambush rival parties—and vice versa!


22 Responses to “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Dungeon”


  1. 1 Sternum
    August 31, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I like this concept because it adds just enough detail to give the world a sense of being more than a elaborate game board. It also adds a sense of urgency to get back as soon as possible.

    I’m interested in methods parties would take to ward off potential interlopers. I feel that setting traps at the dungeon entrance may be a bit harsh, but leaving Bill the Mule behind and taping tentacles to his face to give him the appearance of a scary mule/mind flayer hybrid might work.

  2. 2 Naked
    August 31, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    A band of local peasants ventures into the dungeon. Roll 1d6… 6: Clearing out 1d3 rooms on the first dungeon level, they find they have a knack for adventuring and form an first-level adventuring party.

    I like how in D&D forming an adventuring party is the analog to putting together a band with your friends.

  3. 3 Charlatan
    August 31, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I like how in D&D forming an adventuring party is the analog to putting together a band with some nearby strangers. Sweet, sweet music there.

  4. 4 Naked
    August 31, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    How about wandering groups of monsters looking for new homes? A homeless band of kobolds or troglodytes or an owlbear sniffing a new an interesting scent of dung…

  5. 5 Sykirobme
    August 31, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    This is great! Swiping this for the B/X pickup game.

  6. August 31, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    @Naked: That would be an entirely different table. I’ll put it on the drawing board.

    @Sykirobme: Please come back later and let us know how it works in actual play!

  7. August 31, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    You know … I was just contemplating the very issue of rival parties for a megadungeon campaign I am hatching. This table is a superb solution. Thanks!

  8. August 31, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    There should probably be a sub-table indicating whether an NPC party stays in the area or goes elsewhere, with ad hoc modifiers based on treasure earned and casualties suffered. That way, not only must the PCs worry about another party snagging the sword of awesomeness +3, but they have to decide quickly whether they want to take it from their rivals, lest said rivals seek out greener pastures on another continent (taking the sword with them).

    Also note that most NPC parties will spend their gold quickly, as per the carousing rules found in many OSR games. Just because the Swordsmen in Paisley looted ten thousand gold pieces from the dungeon doesn’t mean they’ll carry it around with them everywhere. Within days of returning to town, they’ll have blown it all on ale and fancy silk cravats!

  9. August 31, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    “Within days of returning to town, they’ll have blown it all on ____ and fancy _____!”

    But that would also be an entirely different table.

  10. August 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    @Johnstone: I think I’ll write up a Random Carousing Table so that players can randomly determine how their PCs throw away their hard-earned coin.

  11. 11 Lord Bodacious
    August 31, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    “… they have to decide quickly whether they want to take it from their rivals, lest said rivals seek out greener pastures on another continent (taking the sword with them).”

    On top of that you need to make a very quick gut check on whether the NPCs are well connected (socially and politically) to bring down a tide of shit on your head if you murder them in their sleep.

    We encountered this very problem with the wretched Torchbearers! Whenever we left a dungeon half cleared they’s swoop in and we’d hear about all the coin they were spending in town.

    Unfortunately, they reeked of Lawful and seemed to know lots of fancy people in power, so they live… for now…

  12. 12 Naked
    August 31, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    The great thing about the medieval setting is that forensics were horrible. If we can ambush a party in the wilderness it is unlikely to come back to us.

    Then again they could think the same thing…

  13. September 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Not to dampen enthusiasm for random tables, because Gygax knows we need as many as we can get, but “random monsters looking for a home” == dungeon restocking tables.

  14. 14 cr0m
    September 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    (That was me above, accidentally logged in as Johnstone.)

  15. September 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Certainly we have dungeon stocking tables. But do we have dungeon restocking tables?

  16. 16 Naked
    September 2, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    How about the infinitesimal percentage that the party enters the dungeon just as a clan of kobolds has entered and is fighting the neo-otyugh?

  17. September 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Johnstone/cr0m, I am confused (and, I suspect, disappoint). It seems like you are advocating for FEWER tables here? WTF? Adding more tables is ALWAYS a good thing. That’s just science.

    I suggest a dungeon stocking table table, roll 1d6:

    1: Use dungeon stocking table
    3: Use dungeon restocking table
    4-5: Use NPC party table
    6: Roll twice on the previous table

  18. 18 cr0m
    September 3, 2010 at 5:36 am

    I won’t stand here and argue with pure unadulterated science. I retract my earlier statement. While it’s true we have a certain amount of dungeon stocking tables available to us, we certainly don’t have ENOUGH dungeon stocking tables.

    Also, don’t sully the impeccable reputation of Johnstone. I was masquerading as him with his wordpress login. And luxurious beard.

  19. September 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    As an uninvolved party, I’d like to chime in here and agree with your dissertation.

    I find Lord Bodacious to be eminently insightful, well spoken, and very very clever!

  20. September 9, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Dammit cr0m, if you’re not going to give me victory, THEN TO HELL WITH YOU!

    Speaking as the real Johnstone here, science has proven the following is the best course of action for restocking:

    First, determine what dungeon the monsters come from. All monsters come from somewhere, and I’m not talking about your perverted, drug-addled imagination. What dungeon did they emigrate from first?

    Second, use that dungeon’s wandering monster tables or other tables to determine what kind of monster they are. You may need a random table to determine which of that dungeon’s random tables to roll on.

    Third, you need to make up a random table to determine how they get from their original dungeon and into the new dungeon.

    And finally, once you are done you need to publish all your random tables on the intarwebs because using a random table once is called “avoiding responsibility,” sharing is awesome, and having somebody else work for you for free is even more awesome.

  21. November 17, 2010 at 2:26 am

    I think I’m going to have to give this a try!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Past Adventures of the Mule

August 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jul   Sep »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

RPG Bloggers Network

RPG Bloggers Network

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog & get email notification of updates.

Join 1,045 other followers


%d bloggers like this: