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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Clone Project: Stocking Rolls

It occurs to me that I should skip the rest of the magic items for now and jump to Vol. III material for the potential clone. Why? Because I told someone recently I'd try to have a reference sheet available in a week or two. I was hoping to get all the charts and a couple notes onto a single sheet; barring that, I want to fit the charts and notes needed for immediate play on one sheet and move reference material that is less likely to be used during play to another sheet. Magic item tables clearly would belong on a second sheet, rather than the main sheet, since it would mostly be used when stocking a dungeon.

One of the first things covered in Vol. III is how to stock a dungeon. Most of the charts for this material should be on a different sheet, but the core wandering monster table should be on the main sheet, so I thought I'd cover stocking rolls in general. There are only a few:
  • start by manually placing special items or areas, 1 to 3 per level, occasionally more;
  • stock the rooms, most of which will be unoccupied (note that the rules do not say "empty", just "uninhabited" or "unoccupied".)
    • one-third of the rooms will have inhabitants (monsters);
    • half the inhabited rooms will have treasure;
    • one-sixth of the unoccupied rooms will have hidden treasure.
It might be reasonable to change these rules in one spot to simplify the treasure roll while simultaneously introducing a little bit of distinctiveness. Treasure in unoccupied rooms is all supposed to be hidden or trapped in some way. If we say "one-third of all unoccupied rooms have traps or concealed areas", we can then just have one rule for treasure: "half of all inhabited, trapped, or concealed areas have treasure."

The treasure table for stocking dungeons has already been covered, but I'm thinking of ways to simplify it. For many of the entries, the units for gold are 1/5th the units for silver; for example, treasure caches on levels 4 and 5 are 1d6 x 1000 silver, 1d6 x 200 gold. It might be worth it to change the outliers to make the table uniform:
  • double the value for silver and change gold to 40 x 1d6 on level 1;
  • change silver on levels 2-3 to 500 x 1d6;
  • change gold on level 6-7 to 400 x 1d6;
  • double the values for silver on levels 10-12;
  • double the values for silver and change gold to 4k x 1d6 on levels 13+.
This makes a "2/5/10" pattern for values of silver as you delve deeper into the dungeon, by which I mean that base quantity for silver on level 1 is now 200, which becomes 500 on levels 2-3, 1000 on levels 4-5, 2000 on levels 6-7, 5000 on levels 8-9, 10k on levels 10-12, and 20k on levels 13+; gold is in a "4/10/20" pattern. It gives us the option to have a very compact table, if we want.

The actual wandering monster tables should be designed specifically for each campaign, although for a distribution version of the potential clone there should be 2-3 sample tables and discussion on how to build your own. The core wandering monster table, however, is standard; it's the table that tells you what monster levels are available on each dungeon level. There are a couple patterns that can be gleaned from the charts:
  • divide dungeon level 5+ by 2 and add 1;
  • the lowest monster level equals (adjusted) dungeon level -1 (min monster level = 1);
  • the highest monster level equals dungeon level +3 (max monster level = 6).
A roll of 1 on a d6 always indicates the lowest monster level, and a roll of 6 always indicates the highest monster level. A roll of 2 always equals a monster of the same level as the adjusted dungeon level; let's call that the base monster level. Die rolls 3 to 5 move around a bit, so I'm tempted to make the rolls regular:
  • die roll 3-4 = base monster level +1
  • die roll 5 = base monster level +2
This does mean that there's a somewhat higher chance of more dangerous monsters on dungeon level 4 or deeper, but it means the table can be compressed to a short list.

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