Sunday, April 3, 2011

Foray into Dungeon Building, Part 7

So, the map is finished and the monsters are placed. Time to figure out what all is in these rooms besides monsters.

Treasure first, since it's so simple. Treasure goes in rooms 9, 11, 13, 14 and 16. Using Sham's Treasure Tables, but converting gold to silver, as my campaign uses that as its base metal, this is what I roll up:

9: 50 silver
11: 100 silver
13: something worth 60 silver
14: 50 silver
16: something worth 60 silver

So, rooms 13 and 16 need something worth 60 silver. Enter Taichara's Little Treasures, a list of 100 items to stick in treasure. I roll percentile dice and get a carnelian flask with a poppy-based beverage in it and a bronze torc (after re-rolling when the second result seemed too valuable for 60 silver). Unfortunately, it seems that the Little Treasures aren't hosted for download anymore, but it also seems that Taichara is willing to email them to those who ask.

On to traps for rooms 6 and 15. I had originally planned to use OSRIC's trap charts, but just about the time I started this project, Courtney over at Hack & Slash put out a really, really cool resource called Tricks, Empty Rooms and Basic Trap Design that I'm going to use instead. In it, Courtney lays out a format for traps that almost amounts to giving them a stat block. Traps each have triggers, effects (maybe), saves (maybe), duration, resets and ways to be bypassed (maybe). As someone who wants to be a fair-but-deadly referee, I like this a lot because it forces me to make sure that each trap I set is avoidable by player choice; if the players can avoid it, it's fair, no matter how deadly.

So, rolling up two traps on Tricks, Empty Rooms and Basic Trap Design's Appendix I, this is what I get:

Room 6: Scything Blade Trap
Trigger: Magical Proximity
Effects: None
Save: AC
Duration: Instant
Resets: Manual
Bypass: Be Short

Description: Over the western door is a stylized, eye-shaped magical proximity sensor that triggers the trap whenever any being approaches the door. When triggered, a scythe blade swings out from the western side of the door at human neck level. The Kobolds who set this trap avoid it merely be being short and the regular patrols coming and going to the front door reset and maintain it. The trap does 8d8 damage and hits at +10.

Detection/Disarming: The first clue that something is amiss is the eye-shaped proximity sensor above the door. The second is the poorly camouflaged slot that the scythe comes out of. The easiest way to avoid the trap is just to crouch while approaching the door, but it is conceivable that PCs may jam the blade or disable the proximity trigger.

Room 15: Triggered Bear Trap
Trigger: Trigger Wire
Effects: None
Save: None
Duration: Until Reset
Resets: Manual
Bypass: Avoid or Block

Description: In the wall of this room is a hole that any human, humanoid or demihuman could fit their arm into. If light is shined into it, a glinting can be seen; there is a large, worthless, crudely and irregularly cut chunk of quartz at the back of the hole. A trigger wire goes through the middle of the quartz, suspending it between the walls of the hole. When the quartz is moved at all, the wire is triggered and a bear trap slams down on whatever was pulling on the quartz, holding him, her or it in place until a wandering monster or the Kobolds come. To the right of the hole, hidden by moss on the wall, is a small key-hole that will release the bear trap; the Kobolds will release PCs from the trap for a fee of 10 silver if the party is on good terms with them.

Detection/Disarming: A random-looking hole with a glinting a few feet in is pretty clearly a trap and PCs should know that this is best left alone. If the PCs investigate, they can discover that it is a trap by sticking something besides their own arms into the hole, which will be held in place or snapped by the bear trap. If a PC does get trapped, the rest of the party can search for the key-hole and attempt to pick it, or they can attempt to pry the bear trap open. To open the trap enough for the character to escape, they will need a combined strength score of 35 and something thick and metal, like a crow-bar. Wood or even weapons will not work.

And I think I'll end there for now. These posts have been getting really long, and I want to curb that for ease of reading. Next time I'll keep fleshing out the rooms in Level 1 Area 4.


  1. Hi Staples! I enjoy your blog, and just wanted to say hi because I, too, am both an OSR gamer and teacher. Keep up the interesting work!

  2. Great posts! Keep 'em coming.


  3. Thanks, Dylan and Grendelwulf! I really appreciate the encouragement!

  4. Good stuff! Have you seen DM Muse yet? They are just getting started, but there are some good things there and room for plenty more to get developed via contributors.

    Like the Bear Trap. That is wicked...

  5. I actually hadn't seen DM Muse yet. Thanks for the link. That might be a good place to start cutting my teeth making tables.

  6. "I like this a lot because it forces me to make sure that each trap I set is avoidable by player choice; if the players can avoid it, it's fair, no matter how deadly."


    The whole point is to avoid the Ars Ludi 'bad trap', and give maximum agency to players in an encounter format.