Saturday, April 2, 2011

Foray into Dungeon Building, Part 6

So, now I've got the map for Level 1, Area 4. Time to work on filling it, I think.  If I switch back and forth between mapping new areas and filling them, that will probably help with the dreaded Gamer ADD.

Before I even mess with choosing what monsters to include, I can create a room contents table. Labyrinth Lord has a good, simple table to start with, I think (page 124).

I want a dungeon that is a bit emptier, though, and one that has "tricks" as well as traps, and one where I don't have to come up with (or steal) "unique" encounters for a quarter of the rooms.  I've come up with this:

01-50 Empty    15%
51-80 Monster 50%
81-90 Trap       30%
91-97 Trick      30%
98-00 Unique   Varies

The range of numbers on the left is, obviously, the percentile dice rolls and the percentage on the right is the chance that there will be treasure. Now I roll on this table for each room of Area 4.

Rooms 1 and 12 have monsters. Room 5 has a unique encounter. Room 6 and 15 have traps. Rooms 9, 11, 14 and 16 have monsters and treasure. Room 13 is empty but has treasure in it. The other eight rooms are empty. Not bad.

I kind of hit a wall here. The problem was probably that there were so many resources out there that supply monsters! I had been planning on creating a separate monster table for each area of each level, and choosing which monsters to include was daunting! I also wasn't sure how many monsters of different difficulties should be on each level.

Recently, though, I commented on one of Sham's posts about stocking dungeons, and he then posted this in reply. Instead of creating a separate monster table for different levels or areas, Sham sorts his monsters according to hit dice and then rolls to see how many hit dice a monster will have and then rolls on that hit dice table to see which monster shows up! Cool! (Also, really cool to have a big-time blogger take the time to answer my question with a blog post! Thanks, Sham!)

So, with that in mind, all I need to do to be able to randomly place monsters is have a handful of 1 HD and 2 HD monsters that I can roll between. I can counter choice overload by starting with just a few monsters and slowly building my monster lists as I find monsters I like; I just need to add monsters in intervals that correspond to number ranges I can get from my dice.

I do plan on using two types of random monster tables for my dungeon: stationary monsters (for stocking my dungeon) and wandering monsters. I only need to work on the stationary monsters for now.

So, I need a few 1 HD (and less) and 2 HD monsters.

1 HD (or less) monsters:

2 HD monsters:

That should do the trick for now, though I definitely expect these tables to grow as I continue to look for awesome monsters, the majority of which my players won't be familiar with.

I've created a permanent stationary monster table page for my own convenience and so anyone who is interested can keep up with my monster tables. I'll create another one for wandering monsters. I'm also going to have to create stationary and wondering monster tables for water as well.

OK, so now I quickly roll up the monsters for rooms 1, 9, 11, 12, 14 and 16:

Room 1: Saucer Fungi
Room 9: Giant Centipedes
Room 11: Giant Centipedes
Room 12: Pemblings
Room 14: Jekti
Room 16: Winged Viper Snake

Next time I'll work on treasure, contents of the other rooms and dungeon dressing. We're getting closer to a one-page PDF of Level 1 Area 4! I think that after I've done this process once I'll get the hang of it more and more, so I should be able to make progress on my megadungeon much more quickly.