Saturday, February 3, 2018

Perilous Realms Campaign World Map

Above is my campaign-world map for the Perilous Realms medieval fantasy wargames campaign.

The Perilous Realms are my name for my own amalgamation of what I, in my limited knowledge, can amalgamate of various civilizations abstracted and anachronistically represented at their various heights but frozen somewhere between about 500 and 1,000 A.D. So, there is Aegyptus, but also the Holy Empire (Byzantium). There is Parthia (Persian), the great Central Kingdom (China), the Empire of the Sun (Japan), Shangri-La, Wudang, Old Araby, the Paladin Duchies of Westernesse, Logres, Libya, Nubia, Nod, and various wildernesses - even the Land of the Lost.

I base the map on some of the old Mappe Mundi of the ancient world, such as the following.

These were more detailed and "realistic" versions of the more abstract and theological Mappe Mundi that represented the three known continents in geometric and cosmographic relationship to each other. Note that these maps are "oriented": east is at the top of the map, as it is where the Sun rises.

Fight on!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Rolling Characters On-The-Fly

Armor, FM:

Weapons, FM: d6:
1 Magic Sword
2 Sword and Bow
3 Sword
4 Spear and Dagger
5 Club and Dagger
6 Club

Magic Sword on d6:
1 +3 Lightning
2-3 +2 Magic Missile
4-6 +1 Light

Armor, CL:

Weapons, CL:
High: mace
Low: club

CL: healing potion; turn undead (reminder)

MU d3:
1 Sleep
2 Charm
3 Light

Gold: 3d6, straight-up

Note: I used the above to roll-up the middle-schooler's characters on the fly so that I could drop them straight into play. It worked. Lots of fun.

Temple of Zaphron, Goddess of Frogs

Encounter Table d6
1-3    Kobolds      1d6
4-5    Skeletons    2d6
6       Merak

Merak the Unexpected
Phantasmal Forces

HD1/2 AC7 MV6
Formation: Shields, Spears, Darts

HD1/2 AC7 MV6
Shields, helmets, spears
Reassemble unless burned / crushed

1 Treasure Chamber

Pit trap, 10' immediately before the door

Chest, Treasure, Small, poison-needle on latch
1,500gp steel ring with adamant stone; weight 100pcs
2 Medium Diamonds 100 each (200 total); 4 Small Diamonds 50 each (200 total); 6 Small Rubies 50 each (300 total); 2 Small Pearls 50 each (100 total); 4 Small Sapphires 50 each (200 total); 2 Small Opals 50 each (100 total); gems total value 1Kgp; weight 200pcs
300gp; 400sp; total pcs value 500gp; weight 700pcs
Total value: 3Kgp
Total weight: 1Kpcs

Shield +1
Chainmail +1
Helmet +1
Sword +1: Windbiter (Common)
    Int: 8 Ego: 3, Empathy
    Detect Magic
    Detect Metal & What Kind
Dagger +1
Bow +1
Potion of Heroism
Potion of Invisibility
Scroll Protection Undead

2 Trick Exit Room

Two levers to left of large locked double doors
Lever Left Up: Green
Lever Right Up: Blue
Left  Down / Right Up: Green Lightning bolt
Left up / Right Down: Door open + Green Lightning bolt
Left Down / Right Down: Door open (no lightning)

3 Hidden Treasure Vault

Bucket, Acid, above secret door: avoidable if look up before entry

Chest, Treasure, Locked, Large
5K Brass Urn Studded with Tiger’s Eyes; weight 100pcs
Large Emerald 500gp; 4 Medium Diamonds 100each (400gp total); 2 Medium Topaz 50each (100gp total); total gems value: 1Kgp; weight 70pcs
1Kgp; 2Ksp; 4Kcp; total pcs value: 3Kgp; weight 7Kpcs
Total value: 9Kgp
Total weight: 7,170pcs

4 Connection

Empty: straw, mud
Merak flees through this room, gone by the time PCs unstick the door.

5 Tapestry Hall

Tapestry of Frog God Zaphron shooting green lightning bolts.
Unknown language says poem about Zaphron.

6 Merak’s Study

Merak (see above) attacks (if party noisy, Protection, from scroll, before arrival):
Sleep; Polymorph; Lightning; Phantasmal Forces
Leaves immediately upon taking damage: skips to phantasmal force as distraction; door stuck behind him.

Desk, chair, chez lounge, ash tray with cigar, side table with brandy snifter and glass; on Desk:

Parchment, ink-well, quill
lvl1 spell book, complete
Scroll Protection Magic
Scroll, Arcane: Detect Evil, Wizard Lock, Dispell Magic
Books, 3: Astrologous Minor, Herbiary Infernum, Amphibicon
Map to treasure: 3. Hidden Vault

7 Sanctuary of Zaphron

Door behind idol, stuck

Idol of hollow clay painted gold with two emerald eyes:
1K; 1K “The Eyes of Zaphron;” Magnetically attracted to one another; weight 100pcs each, 200pcs total

Pedestal triggers successive portcullises if treasure disturbed

Treasure chest with giant emerald latch serves as contribution basin
1K emerald latch (part of cask)
3K Frog Crown: Green Gold with Aquamarines; weight 100pcs
300gp; 300sp; 300cp; total pcs value: 525gp; weight 900pcs
Total value: 6,525gp
Total weight: 1,200pcs

Brazier of green fire
Doors, double, stuck

Portcullises left and right, two
Top left: empty; Bottom left: kobolds; Top right: skeletons; bottom right: empty


Just ran this for a middle school D&D club. I started them off in the main sanctuary, having already triggered the trap with kobolds bearing down. Instant combat. Had their attention! We rolled character information as we needed it! (I'll post how I did that in next post.) Next session: they explored and found the treasures / tricks. Final session: extraction with encumbrance issues (lucky kids had no random encounters!) Then we discussed character creation.

So, I went "backwards," and now they are hooked!

Next up: referees Workshop: Part I. Presenting; Part II. Preparing.

Fight on!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

House Rules Summary page

Hey, folks. I just put together a new "page" on my web log:

House Rules

Wherein I summarize my house rules for table play.

This house rules summary compresses into brief form the house rules I suggest in my Perilous Realms supplement.

NOTE: I freely utilize DELTA's "Target 20" approach. Thank you, Delta and your D&D Hot Spot!

I look forward to any comments.

Fight on!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Treasure Focused Dungeon Stocking

Scott Anderson has been engaging me over at ODD74 on stocking dungeons based upon treasure, first, rather than monsters; seeing as how that is the goal of the game - it is what gets you "points."

I have lots of people around the table when I play and we cannot play that frequently so I have altered the stocking tables. I multiplied all pieces ten-fold and I doubled the chances of gems, jewelry and magic items per level.

Treasure by Dungeon Level
·      Always copper
·      2:3 silver
·      If silver, 2:3 gold
Level treasure table
Dungeon LevelCopper* & SilverGold Pieces% Gems & Jewelry% Magic Items
*Multiply by 2d6, all else by 1d6

Over at the Ruins of Murkhill, I shared the way I describe gems and jewelry based upon the tables for determining them. Later, I added them together for convenience.
Determine and Describe Gems
First, determine the chance that the gem is precious or semiprecious by basic gem gp value:
d%gp ValueSizePrecious on d6
*5K; 10K; 25K; 50K; 100K; 500K; etc.
Precious by type:
Semiprecious by type:
2Coral12Lapis Lazuli
8Carnelian18Tiger's Eye
If >1K gp value, the gem is always named, famous with backstory, and perhaps enchanted, cursed, charming, geased or any combination of the above. "Enchanted," indicates some magical affect for beautification and value, it does not perform any functional magic, e.g., glowing or sparkling on its own, humming, etc. 
Determine and Describe Jewelry
Jewelry combines metals with gems. Determine whether its setting is precious or base metal:
D%gp Value RangeChance Precious
01-20300-1800Never Precious
81-001K-10KAlways Precious
Determine metal type:
d4Precious Metald6Base Metal
1Colored Gold1Brass
Precious gems are never set in base metal. If metal is precious, there is a 50% chance it is inset with precious stones. Jewelry of 7k+ gp value will always be inset with precious stones. Role for stones using the tables for gems, above.
Determine type of jewelry item:
5Brooch15Ring, ear
6Chain, belly16Ring, finger
7Circlet17Ring, nose
8Clip, hair18Scabbard
Any jewelry of 7K+ gp value is named and famous with backstory and perhaps enchanted, cursed, charmed, geased, or any combination of the above. "Enchanted," indicates some magical affect of no practical magical merit that adds value and beauty, e.g., a precious stone set in a silver flower that opens and closes over the course of some meaningful time period, etc.
So, first come up with an amazing focal treasure for your level or lair. I think a level or lair cannot be less than 6 rooms, not counting connections. I think more than about 36 rooms becomes too difficult for both players and the referee. I would come up with some kind of key item of treasure for about every 12 rooms. So, a lair of 6 would have one key item. A level of 36 rooms would have three -- scattered about. In all these cases these items would not have any strategically useful magic (although they might have gonzo or beautifying magic - or a charm or geas that makes them difficult), but they would be culturally important and either famous or forgotten (and important once remembered).

So, flip a coin whether it is going to be a gem or an item of jewelry. If it is a gem make sure it is at least 1Kgp in value. If it is an item of jewelry, at least 7Kgp in value. Imagine it's background, fame, name and if it has some enchantment on it.

Next, determine what kind of monster is its guardian. Is the monster aware that it is guarding this treasure, or not? Is it literally guarding it, or is it wandering around madly, trying to find away to get past the same trap that your character is going to have to deal with as well? Etc.?

In future, I will come up with some way of matching monsters to treasures. This is a kind of reversal of monster lists with treasure types. I will probably largely base this upon the color of the gem (either alone or set in an item of jewelry)! Red dragons will obviously have some kind of giant red ruby or a golden crown set with rubies, etc. The adventurers will get hooks and clues about the treasure long before they can guess what monster may be that is guarding it.

I am working on scaling by dungeon level / party level / monster level. That will help me to determine the treasure to creature table. So, more on that to come.

Now that you have a treasure and a guardian you should have all the inspiration you need for a theme for that level or lair. Now (and only now) start drawing the map. Once the map is drawn, if you know the obvious place for the lair treasure to be guarded, trapped, tricked or hidden - go for it. I you know the obvious best place for (one of the key) guardians, again, go for it. For the rest of the rooms it goes like this: Take a six-sider for each room:

  • 2:3 hold treasure. Of those with treasure:
  • 2:3 have a guardian or monster. Of those without treasure:
  • 1:6 have a monster. Of those with treasure without a monster: 
  • 2:3 are trapped
  • The rest are hidden or tricked in some way, TBD by the ref
When rolling for the rooms with monsters:
  • 1:2 it is the main level/lair guardian (or type, or minion, whatever)
  • 1:3 it is a random monster (no relationship needed. The dungeon is a mythic underworld)
  • 1:6 it is a unique random one-off monstrosity
I've also worked up my own underworld stocking tables that actually allow every kind of creature listed or mentioned in the LBB possibly to show up, but this post is already long, so I will stop here.

Comment. Let me know what you think. Fight on!