Sunday, 15 December 2019

Dungeon Rooms, Factions, and Random Tables for Determining their Relationship

Here is a quick draft of a random generator I wrote for determining how dungeon factions relate to a trick room of the dungeon. It's not fully baked, but I want to share it in the hopes of getting some feedback.

What do I mean by "trick room"? Some examples include the 20 pieces of strange dungeon decor I wrote a year ago, or Nick Whelan's Deadly Dungeons (pdf, print). Now, this isn't "trick room" in the strict AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide sense, as the list of strange decor aren't all puzzles or obstacles. It also includes "environmental storytelling rooms", basically anything odd or seemingly out-of-place that holds the players' interest.

Anyway, if you're grafting a trick room into a dungeon with factions — say, kobolds, goblins, and the peaceful tooth golems that just want some quiet time to relax in their fluoride pools — then it helps to know which faction controls the room, and what their attitude to the room is. You know, so the graft will take.

Roll on the tables, or just use the questions they present as a starting point for your own brainstorming. Embrace apparently incongruous results. Do the human bandits value the room because they are drawn there to spawn? Maybe they're not quite as human as they seemed.

1. Who controls the room now?

1-4. A dungeon faction (choose faction randomly, then roll on [3])
5-6. It's in no-man's-land — roll on [2]

2. Why is it in no-man's-land?

  1. Factions are new to the dungeon. They either haven't discovered the room or are racing to claim it.
  2. Warding spells preserve the room, conjuring spirit guardians who attack those who deface it or linger too long.
  3. The room was controlled by a third, recently ousted faction.
  4. The room appeared out of nowhere just last week.
  5. Factions have agreed to treat the room as a neutral meeting ground, a place of amnesty where blood may not be shed.

3. Faction relationship with room

  1. They don't know it exists
  2. They know it exists, but have put "unravel its secrets" on the backburner while they deal with more pressing issues
  3. They actively fear, avoid, or loathe the room
  4. Mixed feelings, or the room is the focus of some intra-factional conflict
  5. They value the room — roll on [4]
  6. They will defend their possession of the room to the last person.

4. Why do they value/defend the room?

  1. They believe it to be tactically useful in defense against other dungeon factions or marauding adventurers
  2. The room has resources that fulfil material needs — roll on [5]
  3. The room has spiritual significance — roll on [6]
  4. Another faction seems to really want it, therefore we must deny it
  5. We held the room in the good old days, WE MUST HOLD IT AGAIN!

5. Material Needs:

  1. An inportant food source can be found here
  2. They use the room as shelter, living or work space
  3. they quarry the walls for building materials
  4. they are instinctively drawn here to spawn

6. Spiritual Needs

  1. They inter their dead here.
  2. This is a church or temple to them, a place to perform rites.
  3. This is a site of historical significance, a sacred place in their cultural memory.

7. How do they defend/control it?

  1. They garrison fighters within the room.
  2. Barricades and locked doors.
  3. The room is well behind the border/front line — get past that and very little stops you from reaching the room.
  4. They've placed a magical curse upon those who trespass.
  5. They regularly scry on the room, or have tiny animals, insects etc keeping tabls on it. That is, you can easily trespass into the room, but they will know and rapidly respond
  6. They don't defend it. They are a trusting people.

8. What happened to the Builders?

  1. They're still around — they're one of the dungeon factions. They may still possess the necessary architectural skills, they may not. They may currently hold the room, or have been ousted.
  2. Their civilisation was destroyed long ago by climate change. Ambient magic keeps this room at the temperature they preferred — a temperature uncomfortable for humans.
  3. They tired of their former lives and shrunk themselves to micrometre scale. Their whole society is still here, busy exploring and documenting the strange vistas and denizens of a mossy flagstone in the corner.
  4. They have embobbled themselves in anticipation of some future age, putting themselves in temporal stasis inside silver orbs blood-warm to the touch. The bobbles are stacked in neat rows in this room and elsewhere in the dungeon. A bobble can be moved, but cannot be breached, nor its contents determined.
  5. Pestilence. Their skeletons, contorted in agony and covered in virulent growths, lie in mass graves under the floor of this room and elsewhere in the dungeon. Erosion may have exposed bodies, or created voids about to cave in.
  6. They were colonists, whose ideology of superiority led them to underestimate their colonial subjects. They were driven out, their monuments destroyed, all except for this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

hi! all comments are moderated (mostly for spam) before they're published.