Sunday, May 26, 2013

Here Be Dragons and Other Doodles

I've been spending some time working up monsters and other dungeon denizens for my OSH dungeon crawls and printing out more cards. This has involved some research, in the form of searching various RPG sources for monsters and monster skills, traits, abilities, tactics, and other characteristics (I could use some monster manual books! Not sure which ones to get though. I would only be using them for inspiration and to get ideas about the monsters and other creatures so I can convert for OSH), as well as checking primary sources in some cases (such as Alice in Wonderland). Also, some doodling to get some idea of general appearance and sizes, for my own use.

Here are a few examples of various monsters and minions I have written up for Old School Hack.
1. Basic Goblin Minion (minions are 1 hit point creatures in OSH. They only roll 1 die to hit, so it usually takes more than one to combine their attacks to get a hit on a character). AC 8-10. HP 1.
o Run Away! Add up HP of monsters. If equal or less than the number of party members the goblins automatically slip away. Add them to the next encounter.
o They try to gang up with at least 2-3 per opponent.
o Hatred of dwarves. If they have to choose targets dwarves will be the priority.

2. Hobgoblin Fighter (Guard level, which means they have 2 HP and roll 2 die for attacks. They will give characters a bit more trouble). AC 8-10. HP 2.
o All out attack. They can roll an extra D10 to hit, taking the top 2 die, but are then eliminated.
o Hatred of elves. If they have to choose targets elves will be the priority.

3. Bandersnatch (Monster, larger or tougher creatures that can give a character a tough time one on one). AC 12. HP 1D4+2. Reach weapon. Frumious.
o Fuming (Savage). 3 AP. Once per Combat. If it scores any hits double the damage. 
o  Furious (Fast). Constant. +2 on Initiative test and can move 2 arenas or move 1 and act in each round.

4. Kobold Shaman (Boss level creatures, usually have minions and guards along with them, additional skills, and tougher overall; well, kobolds might not be the best example of the latter!). AC8. HP 1D4+2. Light weapon, 1 hit.
o Dark Gods. 2 AP. Focus. The creature summons the dark energies of the gods it worships. After a frenzied chant dark orbs surround the target.
Attack: Ranged; Hit: 1 damage.
Effect: The target takes a -2 penalty to all attacks on their next turn.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jellies, Gelatinous Cubes, and Blobs, Oh My!

I was reading about comb jellies, actual sea creatures, not closely related to the other jellies commonly known as jellyfish. They sound pretty cool and some of the information got me to thinking about gelatinous cubes, so here are a few notes and ideas for "spicing" up those iconic dungeon beasties.

Comb jellies come in a good variety of species. Some kinds have long tentacle-like extensions that they use to grab prey and pull it into the jellies to be eaten. Some chase down their prey. Some glow. Some light up with an electric blue color when they are startled. If they are cut in half the two halves can each regenerate over time into 2 individuals. They don't have eyes, but they can detect light.

Some of this already applies to gelatinous cubes (and their amorphous cousins, "blobs"?) in various rpg bestiaries, I believe. But one could "enhance" the gelatinous cubes and blobs by giving some of them tentacles, maybe spread out into a room or hallway to grab unwary beings and try to pull them in to be consumed. Some types could glow, lighting up a room. Some could light up with blue (or other colors) when some danger is near; maybe to be taken as a warning by savvy party members and/or dungeon denizens. Gelatinous critters could target prey that is carrying light (or be led astray by a magic user sending floating lights in a different direction, for example). I didn't see if comb jellies use any kind of toxins, but some of the other jellies do; so maybe some gelatinous cubes/blobs use toxins to put prey to sleep or to stun, paralyze, kill, etc., to make their prey easier to deal with.

How do adventurers deal with gelatinous blobs? Cutting weapons may only split them into 2 monsters, but might be useful against tentacles. Stabbing and piercing weapons, like daggers, arrows, spears, etc, likely would have little effect if any. Smashing weapons might be one of the few non-magical weapons that could harm them. Other things, like fire, freezing, maybe lots of salt, magic spells and magic weapons, could be the weapons of choice. Like the wonderful old game, Awful Green Things From Outer Space, maybe the things that affect particular types of gelatinous blobs varies and you may not know which ones will work until you try them, unless you have prior experience or specific knowledge (Shmucker's Big Book of Jellies, Gelatinous Cubes, Blobs, and Their Kin?).

So, that's a little look at being inspired by nature.

Going off in that direction I also thought, how about something along the lines of sea sponges? Terrestrial or amphibious cave sponges? These could be large less mobile creatures, known to lie in wait at the bottom of pits, for example. Anyone who falls down the pit will have their fall cushioned, only to find they are being swallowed by some big soft sponge creature. Toxins or soporifics could also be part of the sponge's arsenal.

Food for thought, eh?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Old School Hack, Dungeon Delve 2

I made some modifications, mostly to my encounter cards to make the encounters tougher (more minions per encounter, for example). I also wrote up some additional monster types and variations, with a special ability or tactic for many of them, including minions. For example, I give orcs 1 free Charge per combat. That means, at any point during the combat (usually right off the bat) the orcs charge their opponents, giving them +2 to hit and +1 damage if they hit. Some of the abilities, like Charge, are ones described in the OSH rules. Others I made up. An example of the latter is I give hobgoblins an All Out Attack. This allows them to roll 2D10 to hit, rather than the 1D10 minions usually get, but they are eliminated in the process. I tried to give the various monsters abilities and tactics that fit how I think of them.

I ran the same party as the previous test run, 1 fighter, 1 magic user, 1 thief, and 1 dwarf, with the same skills and stats. This time was less of a cake walk for the party.

Here is the map that arose during this playtest. The numbers are the sequence the delve followed. The lowercase letters are the arena types, t = tight, d = dense, h = hazardous, o = open (or would've done if I had had any), and n = neutral. Doors are represented by the colors; no color = no door, green = open, yellow = closed, red = locked.

1. The party enters the dungeon through a Tight tunnel that leads straight ahead. There are puddles of water, making the floor slippery and Hazardous.
2. They come to a T intersection , branching off left and right. This tunnel is dense with various odds and ends strewn about. 6 kobolds spring a trap that drops a net down on the party, but they all manage to avoid it (the dwarf barely dodged out of the way). Then they kill 4 of the kobolds before the last 2 flee.
3. Taking the left branch of the tunnel, heading west, the party comes to right turn. This section of tunnel is Hazardous, with lots of scattered rocks and broken debris.
4. The tunnel turns right again and narrows into a Tight space. Here they encounter 4 gnoll guards with heavy weapons. The magic user tries to blast one with his staff, but misses. The thief wounds one. The fighter kills one. And the dwarf attacks, but also misses. One gnoll hits the fighter, spending 1 AP to increase the damage to 3. The fighter spends 4 AP to reduce the damage to 1.
The magic user wounds one gnoll. The thief wounds another. One gnoll attacks the thief and another attacks the fighter, but neither lands a hit. The dwarf kills one, and the fighter lops the head off the last one.
5. The party goes through the closed door into a small Tight room. Here they encounter 2 more gnoll guards. One is larger than usual (+1 HP). A wild melee ensues, in which the thief lands a wound on the smaller gnoll. The magic user is unable to land any hits. The fighter wounds the larger gnoll. And the dwarf finishes off both gnolls in the end.
They search the room and the gnolls and find one healing potion.
6. The party exits the room through the closed door to the east, and enter a straight but hazardous tunnel. There are various bits of debris scattered about, with some possibly useful odds and ends, like rope, a pole, candles (Although it didn't come into play this time I would have this allow the party to have one minor needed item later on.)
7. Following the tunnel a but farther, they come to a dead end. Hazardous and full of sand.
8. The party backtracks to the straight tunnel where they encounter a group of 6 gnome warriors. After exchanging pleasantries they part ways. (Where did these gnomes come from and where are they going? Since they are heading in the opposite direction to the party that means they're heading off towards the dead end, but they shrugged off the party's warnings. More than meets the eye there?
9. The party returns back to the small room (at 5) and encounters a party of skilled kobold slingers (+1 to hit). The magic user kills one, and the fighter and dwarf each kill two. The remaining 3 gang up on the thief but fail to hit. The thief kills one and the dwarf kills the remaining 2.
Searching the bodies they find 3 GP.
10. They arrive back in the tight bend in the tunnel and encounter 4 bugbears. 2 bugbears attack the thief and land 1 hit, but the spends 2 SP and avoids the hit. The other 2 bugbears attack the dwarf, but fail to get through his armor. Combat ensues, with several misses, the fighter kills 2 bugbears, the thief and dwarf each kill 1.
11. Back around the second bend, the party encounters 6 skeletons. The fighter gets in a mighty swing and kills 3 of them and the dwarf kills 2 more. At this point 8 goblins show up and join in the attack on the party. The magic user kills the last skeleton. The thief kills one goblin, the fighter kills 3, and the dwarf kills 2 more. The last 2 goblins run away.
12. The party arrives back at the T intersection, where they encounter 4 orc guards with heavy weapons and good armor. The thief wounds one, and the fighter and dwarf each kill one. The orc fighting the thief deals out 2 points of damage. The thief spends 4 AP to avoid the wounds. The last orc charges the dwarf and hits for points of damage. The dwarf spends 1 AP to reduce the damage to 2. The dwarf then kills the orc.
The dwarf drinks the healing potion they found earlier to cure 1 hit point.
13. At the end of the tunnel an open door leads into a long room extending eastward. about 2/4 of the way in there is a Hazardous area. At the far end the room closes down to a Tight space. The rest of the room is Neutral. To the right there is a closed door. Farther down the are doors on either side of the room, the one on the north side is closed but the one to the south is open. The entry area to the room has a pit that can only be crossed by a narrow bridge. As the party moves across the bridge it tilts and the thief gets dumped off into the pit. 4 skeletons attack the other 3 party members as they reach the other side. The fighter kills 2 and the dwarf kills 2. After getting the thief out of the pit they search the room and find 2 GP.
14. They go through the open door on the south side of the room, entering into a small Dense room, looks like a storage room. Here they encounter 12 goblins (6 plus 6 reinforcements). The magic user kills one. Then 3 each attack the dwarf, getting 1 hit in which he avoids by spending 2 AP, 1 hit on the thief and 1 hit on the magic user. The last 2 goblins attack the fighter, but fail to cause any damage. In turn the dwarf and fighter each kill 2 and the thief kills one more.
Another round of combat ensues, with the fighter and dwarf each killing 2 more and the thief killing 1. The last goblin runs away.
They find another healing potion. The magic user drinks it and heals i wound. Everyone else has 1 point of damage on them.
15. They leave the storeroom and return the the large room, where 6 goblins armed with bows shoot at them from a distance, but the arrows fall harmlessly around the party. The magic user fires a bolt from his staff killing 1, and the thief kills another with thrown daggers. The dwarf and fighter move to get close enough to attack the goblins.
The thief kills another goblin, the dwarf kills 2 and the fighter kills the last one.
16. The party opens the door on the north side of the room and enters another small room, full of hazards this time. Here they encounter 4 ratmen guards armed with pole weapons.The theif wounds one, and that ratman fights back, hitting the thief. The thief spends 2 AP to avoid the wound. The fighter kills one and the dwarf kills another. The fourth ratman hits the magic user who spends 2 more AP to avoid the wound.
The ratman fighting the thief lands another blow, but the thief spends more AP and dodges that hit, too. The the thief kills the ratman. The last ratman gets one wound on the magic user before being killed by the fighter.
The party finds a helmet that add 1 to the wearer's Armor Class.
17. The party returns to the large room where they encounter 8 orcs. armed with bows. The magic user blasts one and the thief strikes down another with a thrown dagger. 2 orcs fire at the thief causing 1 wound. 2 more hit the magic user for one wound. The last 2 fire at the fighter, but miss. The fighter and dwarf move towards the orcs.
The magic user blasts another orc, and the thief also kills another one. 2 orcs charge the fighter, dealing 2 points of damage. 2 more charge the thief, but fail to cause any damage. The fighter kills 2 orcs, and the dwarf finishes off the last 2.
18. They try to open the last door, but it's locked. The thief quickly picks the lock and the party exits into a 
tunnel that branches left and right. They find orc footprints heading east, so they try following the other branch.
19. They enter a Hazardous tunnel heading south. As they move into the tunnel a trap is sprung spreading sleeping vapors into the tunnel. The thief succumbs and falls asleep. Before the others can do anything else an orc shaman appears, along with 8 hobgoblin minions. The shaman hits the magic user with a bolt, dealing 2 points of damage. The magic user strikes back for 1 point of damage. The fighter also attacks the shaman, dealing 2 more points of damage. And the dwarf cleaves through the shaman with a mighty blow of his axe, finishing the shaman off.
The hobgoblins gang up, 2 per each party member. They miss the fighter, but hit everyone else, doing 1 point of damage each. The magic user spends 2 AP to cancel his hit. The attack on the thief wakes him, but he's probably still a little disoriented as his attack misses.
The fighter kills 3 hobgoblins with a mighty swing of his sword. The dwarf kills 2 more. The remaining 2 hobgoblins go for all out attacks, hitting the magic user, who is now down to zero HP, and missing the dwarf. The magic user was just knocked out though, and after some quick first aid recovers back to 1 HP.
20. With all of the damage they have taken and nightfall coming soon the party decides it's high time to head back to the dungeon entrance. They return to the previous section of tunnel where they are attacked by 6 bugbears. The magic user focuses his energy to increase his AC. The thief kills 1 bugbear, but the fighter and dwarf each fail to land any hits. The bugbears fight back, landing 1 hit on the thief.
Rallying a bit the magic user and thief each kill a bugbear. The dwarf kills 2 more. And the fighter finishes off the last one.
21. Back to the large room. For a change nothing happens here.
22. Back to the T intersection nearing the exit. Another respite.
Night is falling fast outside now.
23. The party reaches the last section of tunnel leading out of the dungeon. But here they run into 10 more hobgoblins! The thief kills 1, and the dwarf and fighter each kill 2, while the magic user tries to Focus his energy. 2 hobgoblins attack the fighter, but fail to hit. 1 goes for an all out attack on the magic user for 1 hit, but the magic user cancels that by spending 2 AP. Another hobgoblin tries the same against the thief, with similar results, 1 hit canceled by spending 2 AP. And 1 hobgoblin tries against the dwarf, but fails to hit. The 2 remaining hobgoblins continue to battle the fighter, but the fighter manages to do them in.

Finally the party exits the dungeon, bruised and bloodied, with 3 hits on the fighter, 4 each on the magic user and the thief, and 2 on the dwarf. The party spent a total of 26 AP, all to avoid or cancel wounds. They found 2 healing potions, which they used. 1 helmet, and 5 GP.

This was quite a bit tougher than my first playtest, and not a lot to show for their efforts. On the other hand, at this rate they will have spent enough awesome points in another session to "level up", which in OSH lets them gain skills or increase attributes. OSH talks about levels, but I don't know if levels mean much in these rules. It seems like it's more about smaller incremental increases in character's abilities.

This game was fun and I feel like I'm getting "dialed in" to where I want the games to be. I don't know if this sort of report is of any use or interest to anyone else, but at least it gives me a record of the sessions, and thoughts about future sessions. If anyone has any thoughts about these reports, their structure or content, feel free to leave comments. I'd be interested to read them. Thanks!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Old School Hack Test Run

Today I printed out my cards and ran a test run dungeon delve using Old School Hack. Yes, a solo dungeon delve, using OSH! I think it worked pretty well, but I did learn some lessons from this test.

I first created a party of 4, 1 fighter, 1 magic user, 1 thief, and 1 dwarf. I won't bore anyone with the character details, as this was a playtest and those details are not very important in the grand scheme.

The procedure I used was to select a rooms/hallways (or tunnels) card, which have various geomorphs as posted previously. I drew a map as I went, placing the rooms and tunnels in whatever way made sense to me at the time, connecting with known openings and fitting into spaces that didn't already have a room or hallway. If the card I drew was a room I rolled for the door the party would be entering through. On 1D6 a 1 = Open Doorway (no door), 2 = Open Door, 3-4 = Closed Door, 5-6 = Locked Door. I may amend that so 3-6 = Closed, and then only test for locked/not locked when the party tries to open the door, where maybe 1-3 = Not Locked, 5-6 = Locked.

After I drew a hallway or after the party opened the door into a room I rolled 1D12 for OSH "arena" type for each 5-square block.
1         tight
2-3     dense
4-8     neutral
9-10   hazardous
11-12 open

1-5      tight
6-7      dense
8-10    neutral
11-12  hazardous

Next I rolled for any room openings the party could see from the first space of a room., 1-3 = No Opening (solid wall), 4-6 = Doorway. Then rolled as above for whether the door was open, locked, etc.

When the party entered a room I pulled an encounter card (monsters, stuff like debris or hazards or traps, etc.). At first I tried not pulling an encounter when entering a hallway, but later changed it to pull cards each and every time the party entered a room or a hallway, even when backtracking through previously explored rooms and hallways. I also gave the party or the DM (played by me in both cases) the option to pull "extras" cards (these could modify encounters, adding reinforcements, enhancements, other special effects, etc.). 2 "awesome points" went into the "bowl" any time extras cards were drawn.

Then I played out the encounter. And finally, if the encounter took place in a room I drew a treasure card. I made some judgement calls as I played. For example, giving some monsters a chance to flee if outnumbered.

Here is the map that arose during this playtest. The numbers are the sequence the delve followed. The lowercase letters are the arena types, t = tight, d = dense, h = hazardous, o = open (or would've done if I had had any), and n = neutral. Doors are represented by the colors; no color = no door, green = open, yellow = closed, red = locked.

1. The party enters the dungeon through a restricted tunnelway, branching off east and west.
2. The party goes right. The tunnel goes on straight with a side branch heading northwards.
3. The party follows the side tunnel, which takes a turn to the left. So far I wasn't pulling encounter cards for tunnels/hallways, so I gave the party the option to pull one and gain 2 awesome points (hereafter referred to as AP). They got 2 goblin minions with melee weapons. The terrified goblins tried to flee, but the thief took one out with a dagger and the magic user took the other out with a quick bolt from his staff. (hmmm, might need to beef up the encounters)
4. The party comes to a locked door. The thief quickly picks the lock and the party enters a room that extends a bit and turns right. At the far end are 5 goblins with bows. The party draws an "extras" card, but nothing happens.
The magic user sends off a bolt from his staff and kills 2 goblins (rolled 10 on both dice!)
The thief throws a dagger, killing another goblin.
5. The fighter and dwarf move to the far end of the room, but the remaining 2 goblins escape through the open door to the south.
6. Searching the room the party finds "1 weapon, player's choice" (I would choose what weapon type this is and it could be used by one of the members of the party or possibly sold back in town.)
7. The party goes through the open door on the north side of the room section with the number 4.
In the 4-way tunnel they encounter 2 orc minions.
The thief kills one in the first round of combat. The dwarf kills the other in the second round of combat.
8. The party moves forward into another 4-way intersection. Going right they find a set of stairs heading down.
9. Not ready to go that way yet they turn back and follow the northward branch of the 4-way intersection. They enter another hallway that turns left ahead. There they encounter 5 orc minions.
The thief kills 1. 2 of the orcs attack the thief back, but miss. The other 2 orcs attack the magic user and cause one hit. The magic user spends 2 SP and heals/avoids the damage. The fighter and the dwarf each kill 2 orcs.
10. The party continues down the tunnel, only to find it dead ends. They encounter 4 gnome warriors. The dwarf talks to them and the party and gnomes go their separate ways.
11. The party backtracks into the tunnel with the bend. Nothing happens.
12. Backtracking farther, to the 4-way intersection. nothing happens.
13. The party goes through the closed door and encounters 3 orcs ("DM" pays 2 AP to the "bowl" to double the number to 6 orcs).
The thief kills one with a thrown dagger. The magic user kills 2 with a bolt from his staff. The dwarf kills 2 more, but the fighter misses. The last orc fails to flee, so he strikes out at the magic user for 1 hit. The magic user heals/avoids the hit (for a cost of 2 AP)
The party finds a "reach" weapon in the room.
14. The party continues through the open door to the west into a hallway that turns northwards. They encounter a single orc guard in the dimly lit tunnel. The orc flees (he will be added to the next encounter).
15. The party enters a straight, but hazardous tunnel. there are footprints in the dust on the floor. I pull cards from the unused encounter deck until I get one with monsters, some kobolds. These will be added to the next encounter.
16. The party comes to a locked door. The thief picks the lock and they enter into a room the extends to the north and then turns right. They encounter a large spider, the orc guard and 2 kobold minion slingers. The thief quickly tosses some daggers, killing the 2 kobolds. The spider attacks the thief, and hits, but the thief spends 2 AP to avoid the wound. The fighter attacks the spider, but misses. The dwarf kills the orc. In the second round of combat the thief does 1 point of damage to the spider, and then the magic user finishes it off.
The party searches the room and finds a healing potion (heals 1 point of damage).
17. The party goes around the corner of the room and finds an open door into the room to the south. The room is strewn with large stone blocks and rubble, making it a tight arena. As the party moves into the room they spring a trap, a trapdoor opens in the floor. Thief and the magic user manage to avoid the trap, but the fighter and the dwarf fall into a 10 foot deep pit. No damage, but they can't fight from there. Before anything else can be done 3 skeletons with melee weapons come into the room. The thief kills one and the magic user kills another. The last skeleton tries to attack the magic user, but misses. The thief kills the skeleton.
The thief and magic user help the fighter and dwarf out of the pit. They find 1 gold piece in the room (1 lousy gold piece! ha ha)
18. The thief attempts to pick the lock in the locked door to the east, but fails. 2 wolves enter the room (DM doubles that to 4, for a cost of 2 AP).
The magic user kills 1 wolf. (I ruled the thief was busy with the lock so I didn't give him an attack this round) The other 3 attack the thief, getting 1 hit, which the thief avoids for a cost of 2 AP. The fighter kills 2 wolves and the dwarf kills the last one.
19. The thief tries to pick the lock again and this time he succeeds.
20. The door opens into a dead-end tunnel, with lots of loose dirt and hazards.
21. The party returns to the last room and finds it empty (aside from the pit and rocks and broken skeletons and wolf carcasses. This uses up the last of the encounter cards I dealt out at the start, so the "day" ends.

Not too bad for a first playtest. I think the cards are working well, although I need to make some adjustments to their content, especially to the encounters and to the treasures. Clearly the encounters need to be beefed up, with shields issued to those who can use them, more guards and larger numbers of minions, and more higher HP monsters. Either that or a smaller party. Because ranged weapons go first and can hit into adjacent arenas the thief (with the "skill" of "unlimited daggers", which can be thrown as ranged weapons), and the magic user (with a staff rated as a ranged weapon, firing off bolts of magic) were very effective. But being more lightly armored (or not armored at all in the case of the magic user) they were also more susceptible to receiving damage.

I'm still getting a feel for the rules, and probably made some mistakes, but still had fun. I think this can work out. More playtests to come...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dungeon Geomorph Basic Building Blocks

I was playing around with my dungeon geomorphs some more and broke them down into the basic 5 by 5 shapes that can be combined to create all sorts of rooms, tunnels, etc. Here are the building blocks, with a few additional ones added, and a few rooms made from them.

Also, a couple of quick examples of how the shapes could easily be redrawn to depict rough caves, which could be mixed in with the more refined blocks.
Of course, these will result in 2-dimensional, orthogonal dungeons, but I could always add in a few special rooms and tunnels as desired. Even pre-populated ones, rooms pulled from other dungeons, etc., to add some extra spice to a dungeon crawl.
I've also been thinking about visibility. For example, maybe I only check for doorways when they are within visible range (line of sight and lighting). For example, if the party enters that L-shaped room above from either end, they won't be able to see if the other end has any openings or not, until they get into the middle area. They may find it's a dead-end, but they may not even discover that until they've completed any encounter in the area first. Maybe light sources could affect what's visible as well. Creatures and characters with abilities to see in the dark wouldn't be affected, but others would only be able to see as far as light sources allowed. This is where candles, torches, lanterns, magic lighting, ambient or carried by the party, or even floating lights that can be sent around by a magic-user could all play a role. Still, I would want to keep it simple. Maybe something like, candles can light 1 "arena" (as they are called in OSH; and which basically correspond to one 5 by 5 tile in my geomorphs), torches 2 arenas, lanterns 3, magic - depends on the magic. I found some simple templates for tracking how many turns/rounds/what have you a torch or light source lasts. Some things can douse the light, temporarily or more long term. Torches and other light sources may also be found in the dungeon. For now I don't expect a dungeon adventure to last so long in game time to make food or water much of a concern, but in the event it could be I would lean towards simple rules for that as well. These kinds of resources do provide opportunities for things to go wrong or right, stuff gets damaged or stolen or lost, other stuff is found along the way, etc.
Of course, it's all too easy to make things overly complex, so to start out at least, I think I won't worry about lighting and just assume there is sufficient lighting one way or another. Line of sight visibility should make things interesting enough for starters.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dungeon Geomorphs

One of the RPG rulessets I've been looking at is "Old School Hack". I love the simplicity of these rules, and the great graphic design of them. You can find a free download for them at or another version at
At first glance I thought they might not be suitable for solo play, but the more I look at them I think they can still work. The "awesome point" economy might need some judgement calls, and may be possible to make a little more objective assuming I get going on playing the game. I've been collecting a bunch of the monsters from the few available sources into my own sort of monster folio, for my own use. I will likely do some tweaking and hopefully add more as I go.

I have also been working on a set of cards to randomize encounters and treasures, for dungeon crawls to start with. I admit I am enamored of cards, because they are easy to customize from game to game, add new stuff, drop stuff, etc. as the game evolves. For encounters I have the main encounter cards, which include monsters, some traps, cards with minor stuff or nothing of consequence, etc. In addition, I have a set of cards to modify or add to Encounters. These are cards that do things like add or subtract from the monsters, have one time events, reinforcements for the monsters, and other sort of temporary or timely things happening. Again, some of the cards do nothing or only add color, without affecting game play. I also have a set of treasure cards, with the usual stuff, from a few coins to jewels and minor magic items, as well as nothing at all or mundane items (some, like a bag of marbles - could be useful, but isn't going to bring in much money; others are really not likely to be of much use, but who knows.).

I have also been working on some dungeon geomorphs. The pictures below show some of the ones I've drawn so far. I also have some larger rooms of various shapes. I will find a way to randomize these (more cards?), as well as where doors are, what type (open doorway, open door, closed door, jammed open or closed, locked, etc.), and "arena" types for the parts of the rooms and hallways, based on the OSH arena types.

Here are some of the elements, all based on 5 by 5 squares so they can fit together well. The inside walls are all squared off, but they could be drawn as rough irregular cavern walls as well. That's just aesthetics and doesn't really have any effect in OSH.

And here is an example map. This shows how pieces can be linked together, with openings closed off as needed. Everything that is gray is solid, impassible.

Using the same 5 by 5 basic building block you could also include special pre-designed rooms/halls/areas. Probably as "one offs". I think that could be a way to include rooms from published adventures/dungeons as additional special random places.
In practice, other than the entry room, I only used rooms with openings on all of the exposed centers of each 5 by 5 square and closed some off as I went. You can see where I covered the ones that aren't open. I just need to work out how to randomize which are open and which aren't. As I type this I realize, that could be as simple as rolling for each opening that doesn't match up with an existing opening in any adjacent rooms or hallways, with something like 50/50 chance of it being open or not.