Monday, February 2, 2009
Restocking The Dismal Depths
I really enjoy using six-siders for randomly determining monster and treasure distribution. I normally tailor the contents of major rooms, and then let Destiny by Dice determine the rest.
I have no issues sorting out the hows and whys of certain unusual combinations of the die rolls, such as why there are Morlocks in a room right next to an area with a pack of Broodlings. The results can often be thought of as a snap-shot in time. This is what is encountered when and if the party happens across the areas. Perhaps the two have not yet detected one another, perhaps the Morlocks have sensed the Broodlings and are either hiding or preparing to attack by surprise, perhaps the two groups of monsters are about to engage in melee or attempt to parley with one another. Oftimes, such closely located groups of monsters will draw one to the other if melee is undertaken by the characters. The possibilities are limited only to the referee's imagination.
The point is, there's not always a need to worry about explaining exactly why such a situation exists. Neither are located in a lair, rather being on the prowl or setting up an ambush, or taking a breather from their stalking and hunting.
I use a reworked method of the original guide from The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures for not only filling minor areas, but also as a quick restocking method. The percentages in this Restock table replicate the OD&D method, but remove one die rolling step, ending up with a single table rather than sentences of text describing these steps.
I realized I could further alter the Restock table, and I came up with a pair of options which still maintain those percent chances located in the original method.
The current Dismal Depths Restock table:
1 - Monster
2 - Monster & Treasure
3 to 6 - Empty (1in6 chance of hidden treasure)
I realized I can replicate the 11% chance of an empty room with hidden treasure, and require a second d6 roll only 25% as often, as follows:
1 - Monster
2 - Monster & Treasure
3 to 5 - Empty
6 - Empty (4in6 chance of hidden treasure)
As an alternative, I came up with a Restock table using 2d6 instead, thus requiring no second rolls whatsoever:
2 to 4 - Monster & Treasure
5 - Empty with hidden treasure
6 to 9 - Empty
10 to 12 - Monster
No second rolls, but I feel it lacks the elegance of the single d6 tables.
The rounded percent chances of the four possible results are as follows:
Monster & Treasure 17%
Empty with hidden treasure 11%
One could easily contruct a d00 table for this, but I dig the OD&D d6 vibe.
I'll probably use the revised 1d6 Restock table. It's a simple change, but I feel it creates a nearly perfect restocking or filling method.
Another thing I have enjoyed thus far is the synergy between the Restock table and the tailor made Wandering Monsters tables. Looking at the four level one maps for The Dismal Depths, you will see that 33.2% of all monsters either encountered randomly or prefilled using the Restock table, will be the inhabitants of that particular region. It gives a nice feel to those areas, as it ensures that the natives will maintain a strong presence despite the overall random methods used to fill out the details therein. I could probably hash out a better Wandering Monsters table, and dispense with the 2in6 native check before the actual roll, now that I think about it.
A topic for another day, perhaps.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee