Monday, July 28, 2014

Megadungeon Idea - Scripted Changes

This idea is in its infancy.  I haven't playtested it at all.  Hell, I'm just making up the example now.  I had this thought last week on vacation (sitting by the pool has its perks...) but I'm just getting around to writing it up.

The idea is based on the premise that megadungeons should change over time.  The players enter a room, maybe they kill a monster there, take its stuff, etc.  Something should be different the next time.

Coming up with those "differents" is sometimes very hard.  The idea that I had was a kind of flow chart or checklist that DMs could use as the room evolves through the exploration of the megadungeon.  When a "state" is used, you check it off  (maybe date it) and move to the next state next time.

Here's an example (very crude)

[ ] Room has 2 orcs (AC 6, HD 1, HPs 5,4, AT: 1 club, 1d6)  The orcs have 21 sp between them.  There is a crude table, two piles of straw for beds, 2 dirty blankets.
[ ] The room is strangely empty and very, very clean.  Not even any dust.  No furniture.  Nothing.
[ ] A pentagram has been scribed on the floor in pink chalk.  Stubs of red and black candles remain at each point.
[ ] There is a bloody pentagram on the floor of the room.  Deep gouges have been made in the stone.  A single elvish shoe (dainty and expensive) badly torn and bloody lies on the floor.
[ ]...

So, the GM immediately has a narrative in the room.  Things can change.  Of course, not every room would have a "timeline" or narrative.  Just enough to keep the megadungeon "alive" in the minds of the players.

Additionally, if the players impact the development of the events, the DM will need to improvise.  In the example above, perhaps the PCs damage the pentagram deliberately during their 3rd visit to the room.  If so, then the 4th visit makes total sense.  If they completely obliterate the pentagram, maybe the wizard does a poor job re-doing it.  If they just scratch a line, well that makes sense too.

Anyway, I can see myself writing up some "narratives" for certain rooms if I ever get around to making my megadungeon.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Dice Can Kill You

Cool article about 1st Ed AD&D.  Here's my favorite bit --


It’s late. We had been playing for roughly 28 hours. There are two empty cases of Mountain Dew on the table. I’m so tired I’m beginning to hallucinate goblins. We’ve smoked a carton of cigarettes between four people.  At one point a girlfriend enters the room, coughs with disgust, and swiftly exits. The die rolls continue.
My character sheet looks like an ashtray and I think — although I cannot be sure — that we were playing Queen of the Demonweb Pits. In short, it was the best of times, It was the worst of times.
The entire party except for our mage was literally dead. He was unfortunate enough to be facing Lolth. She was a demigoddess: 95% magic resistance, saves on a 2 or higher, etc. Our guy had exhausted most of his spells except disintegrate, so he casts it, knowing the magic resistance was probably going to stop the spell and he was going to die a horrible death.
Except Winters failed the magic resistance roll first, and then blew the save. Our guy disintegrated the demigoddess. His finger became "the finger that disintegrated a god."
It was awesome, and it was awesome because stories happen when you follow the brutal ethos of the game and Things had a price and a value. Experience felt earned. The game was arbitrary and sometimes random, but this made for more dynamic scenarios.
Modern systems are certainly swinging back in this direction. It’s not like third edition and later didn’t offer the "hardcore" alternatives. The roguelike wave that Dark Soulsinspired, in part anyway, is definitely a hearkening back to these early D&D principles, that drama comes out of consequence, and that consequence can come from a roll of the dice.
I guess it’s time to dust off the Player’s Handbook.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gaming Crafts (Pic Heavy)

I've been making a bunch of stuff for my games during my time off.  Here are some pictures.  If you have questions about anything, please ask in the comments.  :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Queston Globe

My good friend DB just gave me a fantastic gift last night, a globe of my game world Queston!

I've never conceived of Queston as a globe; its always been a sheet of paper (since 1983!)

There has always been a desert pole to the north and a frozen pole to the south, but there's something about seeing them as a sphere that is very impressive.

Thanks DB!  This is amazing!

This is the Fyrkingdom, heart of most of my Queston campaigns.  Many landmarks and adventuring sites are located within this picture.

The desert north, populated by the nomadic Dragynne and the dark towers of the dark elves, githki and psiaki.

The southern reaches of the Fyrkingdom.  You can see South Hold and the wastes ruled by the Frozynne.  To the east you can see the Dropoff and the edge of the Trollands.

The island country of Whair, home to my CotMA game.  Ravenport (not on the globe) is in the bay to the right of the picture.  CotMA is nearby.