Monday, May 5, 2014

Dungeons = Villages?

 When writing up the 200th post for this blog about how awesome I think 3d6 tables are for encounter tables, I built up a skeletal, incomplete example of what I was talking about. The example I used was keying the market area of a town. After posting it to the G+ feed, +Jeff Russell asked a really good question:

Any chance you could write another post (or just respond here) talking in a little more detail how you make this work in a dungeon? I really, really like the concept, but I'm not sure what the best implementation would be. Do you roll every room? Every set time period?

So I thought, yeah, I should have used a dungeon as an example, but not to worry, I'll just pull one of the ready made ones I've done for Hot Springs Island and share it. Shouldn't be a problem. And then I started thinking and began to realize that I may not have actually made any "dungeons" and all I really made were villages under siege that happen to be underground or in ruined, mostly inaccessible areas.
Kaymaklı Underground City

I've got a section called "Dungeons, Maps and Bosses" where I wrote up the "sub level" things found in each hex on the map. Perhaps that's better said as this section contains dungeon maps, village maps, "boss" descriptions, organized by hex. So I went down the list and found the following:
  • Hex 01 - Boar's Head Encampment - Above ground. Village. Ogres live here
  • Hex 03 - Dire Boar Den - Underground. Lair of a dire boar, but big enough to hold other creatures in the unused parts
  • Hex 04 - Glavrok Village - Above ground. Has village in the name. Ogres live here.
  • Hex 06 - Svarku's Volcano - Tower complex in a volcano. Efreet lives here with his minions/troops. There's a basement but as I look at the map I'm like "salamanders live here, fire imps live there, obsidian terrors live there, and the efreet himself lives in the central tower. There are rooms to explore, doors to open, windows to climb through or jump out, but now that I look at it, is it a "dungeon"?
  • Hex 06 - Crystalflow Mine - Underground. I was originally going to use this for today's post but then thought "should I?". Fire imps live here on cliffs over lava and the efreet's troops come through here often to watch the fire imps brawl with one another. There is a threat of ravenous beasts attacking, some weird off the beaten path type areas, and an old mine, but the immediate context for the whole area is the fire imp "village" here.
  • Hex 07 - Ashfire Mine - Underground but reachable from the surface. Kind of like the "Level 1" to Crystalflow Mine's "Level 2". Potentially more of a dungeon than anything else as nothing really lives here, things pass through. The whole thing is supposed to be kinda transient, so I dunno if it counts either.
  • Hex 09 - Hot Springs City - Ruins. Above ground. City in the name, but it's played as a node based exploration type thing using a generator the estimable P Stuart made. 
  • Hex 10 - Slave Quarters - Underground, but reachable from the surface. A couple of things lair in it, but it's done more like a Mos Eisley type hive of scum and villany inhabited by deserters, traders and traitors.
  • Hex 11 - Shattered Aquifer - Underground, but reachable from the surface. It's two "villages" with a battlefield in the middle. One village is full of magma elemental stuff, the other is all water elemental stuff.
  • Hex 14 - Lapis Observatory - Tower. Isolated on a outcrop. 5 levels and a basement. Probably the best example, but even then, I set it up as these two groups live here and use it for specific purposes
  • Hex 25 - Crystal Sea Cave - Underground/water. This is the nereid's village. It's under siege in some ways.
So now I'm left with the feeling that none of the things I made are actually "dungeons". Hopefully it's just a problem where I fleshed out the involved factions too much and my view's skewed by my personal knowledge of the "potentials" of each place. When I use the tables I've been rolling for each point of interest/room on the map, and then weed the results as I want. I also roll whenever I need/want a wandering "monster".

I'll roll through the Shattered Aquifer in my next post.


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