Monday, October 13, 2008

The Dim Expanse part V

Today I'm sharing some long overdue insight into my ongoing megadungeon project, Ulin-Uthor aka The Dim Expanse. Below I am simply pasting two passages that were typed 'for my eyes only' while creating this dungeon. The first is the Info portion, and then the level specific Wandering Monsters Table. Aside from a handful of areas, Krawlspace truly was filled using the OD&D method, and my oft-referenced index card system.

I'll be sharing actual room descriptions after I set the table with this post. Everything I offer in these 'behind the scenes' posts are the actual copy and pastes. I'm interested to see what people take from this and if the descriptions make sense at all to other readers. I've found myself grappling over my own notes years later when I didn't write up an encounter well enough...wondering what my intent was years ago and being unable to remember what my notes meant. Hopefully Dim X will prove to be clear and concise so as not to lose those little inspirations for the individual rooms.


The following information is a description of the rooms and features of UU-KS-1E. For information about other encounters and treasure located within, see the index card files.

Krawl’s Pace (aka Krawlspace, and Kraw’s Place) Level 1E

The entire dungeon is filled with Vermin Holes. These holes impinge upon the map in many numerous areas, too many to count, and come in the form of holes in the floor or walls, as well as cracks and slits through the very stone, on any surface. Behind these holes is a vast complex network of vermin tunnels used by centipedes, rats, beetles and any of the other vermin encountered in this dungeon. They are so common, in fact, that to key them is pointless. Suffice to say that they are a part of the construction of Ulin-Uthor as a whole. Whenever a party asks about them, they will in fact see one, or remember having recently seen one and thought nothing of it. If they continue to seek them out, or prod at them, have some vermin emerge to devour the curious adventurers.

Doors in KS. Unless otherwise noted, all doors are standard heavy treated oak, bound with iron and reinforced with iron rivets. Handles are all simple push down latches, which for the most part will open just by pushing (or pulling) upon the door (the latches are rather old) and open ‘out’ into the hall. Doors are thick and heavy, with an interior rod inset to floor and ceiling rather than being hinged. If a door is locked, it will be noted. All doors are counterbalanced and will shut unless blocked or spiked open.

Secret Doors are stone, pivoting types that are counterbalanced and will close unless blocked. Most such doors need to be triggered to open.

Construction is of intermingled shaped stone, stacked and mortared. Ceilings are 10’ high unless otherwise noted. Height of the natural caves/roughed out areas varies from 12’-15’ unless otherwise noted.

Many of the rooms on this level are designed with the author’s intent of using the OD&D dungeon stocking guide in Vol. III, p. 6-8. Nip-Nak and Kraw are old school Bumbles, and prefer a very basic challenge for adventurers in their area of Krawlspace.

Using the guide as presented, it details placing the most important treasures manually, with or without guardians, and then simply dicing for the rest of the rooms. We’ll see how the OD&D system works out here on Level 1E.

2in6 equals a Monster. These will be random from the list of Wandering Monsters I have created for Krawlspace Wandering Monster index cards. Next, roll again for each room, 3in6 means there is treasure in those rooms with Monsters, and 1in6 means there is treasure in those rooms which are empty.

I have fine tuned the OD&D rules, and these new rules are in the Solstice Core Rules, and will be used, probably throughout Ulin-Uthor.

As I restock this level, I will maintain this approach and possibly even dice the empty rooms ‘on the fly’.

The following rooms will not be diced using the random method:

4: Skeletons
18, 19: Swarms
21: Giant Centipedes
40, 41: Sentinels
42, 43: No Wandering Monsters
49-52: Pack Rats

That leaves 41 rooms to dice.

Here's the blurb for the Activity and Wandering Monsters Tables:


Activity Table and Wandering Monsters (adjust # encountered based on party size)

The Activity Table is used as a guide to randomly determine exactly what monsters encountered within the dungeon are doing at the time the group approaches. It is to be used as an optional guide, and as a handy tool when a character is perhaps sneaking ahead of the group in order to scout, or even as a method to determine what noise might be heard from behind a dungeon door.

Activity Table (roll d12)
1 - Sleeping (fast asleep)
2-3 - Resting (not asleep, but taking a break and silent)
4-5 - Eating (another Wandering Monster maybe)
6-7 - Making Noise (doing some noisy activity, talking, gambling, etc)
8-10 - Ambushing (lying in wait for dinner)
11 - Fighting (each other if more than one)
12 - Combat (engaged with another Wandering Monster)

Wandering Monsters: Once every other Turn, check with 1d6. A roll of ‘6’ indicates a Wandering Monster. There is a 1in10 chance that the monsters have been stumbled upon by the adventurers. In which case this should be treated as a standard encounter, with sighting distance of 2d4x10 feet, and both sides roll for surprise. The rest of the time, the monsters are pursuing the adventurers, and only the adventurers need to check for surprise. If not surprised, sighting distance is 2d4x10 feet, if surprised (2in6 chance) sighting distance is 1d3x10 feet.

Krawlspace (roll d12)
1: Swarm, 1@1HD
2: Pack Rats, 1
3: Giant Centipedes, 3d6
4: Giant Beetles, 2d4
5: Giant Spider, 1
6: Skeletons, 2d6
7: Zombies, 1d6
8-9: Kobolds, 2d6: 1d6x5 SP, 1d6 GP each.
10: Bandits, 1d6+1 Leader: 1d6x5 SP, 1d6 GP each.
11: Goblins, 1d6+1, 1d6x5 SP, 1d6x5 GP each. Random Red, Yellow or Orange.
12: Special (either NPC or Visitor from Hundred Pits)

Next up, as promised, I'll paste some rooms that have seen actual live play, then it's onto some of the rooms not yet used (so if you're a player in Of Fortunes & Fools, this info is subject to change 'on the fly').

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

Post Script: I just realized that the current group is actually on UU-KS-1F, not 1E. The rooms I'm featuring in the upcoming posts are actually found on 1F!

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