Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick Dungeon Cheat Sheet

Make a dungeon in ten minutes, using this grid and two dice:

1. Fill in a name for each of the following roles:

Level Boss:
Major Minions:
Minor Minions 1:
Minor Minions 2:
Potential Ally:
Impassable 1:
Impassable 2:
Impassable 3:
Dangerous Passage 1:
Weapon Resource:
Water Resource:
Boss Resource:
Boss's Bane:

For example:
Entrance: Pit descending from surface
Level Boss: Ogre Mage
Major Minions: Gnolls
Minor Minions 1: Human wizards
Minor Minions 2: Dwarf mercenaries
Scavenger: Carrion crawlers
Undead: Wraiths
Vermin: Centipedes
Interloper: Party of were rat thieves
Ambusher: Huge spider
Potential Ally: Naga
Refuge: Room with lockable door
Trap: Collapsing ceiling
Impassable 1: Solid Rock
Impassable 2: Collapsed Tunnel
Impassable 3: Coal Fire with Sinkhole
Dangerous Passage 1: Swing rope over stalagmite-filled chasm
Dangerous Passage 2: Wooden walkway over hot mud pits
Weapon Resource: Quiver of arrows
Water Resource: Old well room
Boss Resource: Magic font of clairaudience/clairvoyance
Boss's Bane: The oracular head of his old master, whom he betrayed

2. Use the 6 x 6 grid to represent the dungeon or draw it for yourself.
Roll 2 dice and use one die for the tens column and one die for the ones column to get random values between 11 and 66 that correspond to the numbered squares. Roll once for each monster on the list and place it in that square. So if you roll a 3 and a 4 for the level boss, the level boss will live in square 34. If the same result comes up twice, bump that feature to the next empty square, going clockwise starting from the square above.

3. Add a random impassable boundary between two squares by rolling a d6 and a d6 once more. Draw a heavy line along the top edge of the resulting square. Roll again, except this time, the boundary is along the right side of the square. Keep going until you have four impassable boundaries. Ignore if the result is along the outside border of the grid.

Here's one actual result.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Thief (Pencil Illustration)

Here's a sketch I made today, trying to channel some of my favorite 70s illustrators, especially Greg Irons and Dave Trampier.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Saving Charisma from being the Dump Stat in OSR-style Games

Last night I was browsing through my 2nd Ed. AD&D PHB and came across a fix I forgot I'd made for Charisma. It was pasted over a ghastly full-page illustration on page 18 that has driven many to the brink of insanity. I'm hardly alone in thinking that CHA got the shaft in early iterations of the game, and I imagine that lots of DMs had handcrafted fixes for it, because, well, we were encouraged to tinker with the rules back then.

1. Extra Proficiency Slots
Characters with high CHA scores receive additional initial non-weapon proficiency slots, which may only be spent on proficiencies that would be helped by having a high CHA:

CHA 13 = 1 extra slot
CHA 14 = 2 extra slots
CHA 15 = 3 extra slots
CHA 16 = 4 extra slots
CHA 17 = 5 extra slots
CHA 18 = 6 extra slots

Allowed Proficiencies:
General: Animal Training, Artistic Ability, Dancing, Etiquette, Heraldry, Singing
Priest: Local History
Rogue: Disguise
Warrior: Gaming

Characters with low CHA scores buy the above proficiencies at a higher rate:
CHA 3 = 5 slots
CHA 4 = 4 slots
CHA 5 = 3 slots
CHA 6 = 2 slots

2. Earn Followers Early
Characters with a high CHA score get their followers at lower levels of experience than other characters, while characters with low CHA must wait longer

(There follows a complex table which I won't reproduce). You could probably do it this way:

CHA 3 = get followers 3 levels late
CHA 4 = get followers 2 levels late
CHA 5 - get followers 1 level late
CHA 16 = get followers 1 level early
CHA 17 = get followers 2 levels early
CHA 18 = get followers 3 levels early

I remember that it made having a low CHA somewhat more annoying and gave you at least some incentive to make CHA a high stat. I should say we used Method V for character generation at the time (4d6, dump low die, arrange stats in desired order).

Hope you find it useful.