Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dungeon Stocking Things - Moldvay

I'm always thinking of ways to get a machine to do my lame work for me. I've coded up lots of Tablesmith tables for easy-peasey pregeneration of dungeons, but many of them were based on Moldvay's pages in the old Basic Red Book of my youth.



Not to get too MATHY, but I was thinking about The Moldvay Stocking Procedure. It's interesting to me that many rooms in a dungeon were meant to be empty so that you could have a Wandering Monster bump into there but otherwise just sort of MOVE ALONG NOTHING TO SEE HERE. I can't recall the odds n such, but I've found that the one I coded into TableSmith (the same rolls as Moldvay I'm pretty sure) produces way too many traps, although I guess if you want to thrill the players and try their brainpower, that's one way.

If I made a grid like a tic-tac toe board (that is to say 9 boxes/rooms), I think I'd want 1 box to have a big angry sub-boss or boss monster, 2 or 3 to have monster occupants with treasure, 1 with an ouchy-non-deadly-trap, 1 with a kills-a-PC-or-henchman-or-hireling trap, 1 or 2 with hidden treasure (but still interactable scenery to find it), and 1 with some Special Scene Chewing Feature or Puzzle. Obviously, these are OSR conventions, here. Resource management is sometimes tedious but if done well then it adds an edge of tension.

That is to say:
1 Boss (difficult to win with combat but other solutions possible)
3 Planned Encounters
1 Resource Drain
1 Killer Trick
2 Hidden Treasures
1 Special Feature

So some rooms would APPEAR empty, but still have some minor loot, almost always. An entirely empty room would be suspicious, but the chance of incurring a wandering monster is not negligible, and the disposition of WM need not be combative, and it's not always easy to tell if the room is OCCUPIED by a monster or if it is just, like you, passing through...

I'll give this some more thought. My next project is using Tablesmith to generate dungeons from 1-9, fill in cool details, procedurally generated themes, and lay them out in double column mode as the Ancients did. Why? I don't know! Just to do it, I guess. I have a Tegel Manor-type Big House Crawl in mind for this month and we'll see if it goes over but like always, it's a bit iffy to do but fun to think about.

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