Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dungeons for Adventurer: Traveller style !

In fact, developing a UDP  (universal dungeon profile) was one of the first things I did for adventurer.
Towers, Temples and Terrors

What is the point of realms and cities if there is no room for profitable adventure free from city guards and the king’s army? What hero of worth in a sword and sorcery yarn has failed to delve into a wizards tower for forbidden gold ortreasure ?  Labyrinthine hallways, locked portals, magical constructs, terrible monsters of myth and legend, all await within.  And, as ever, the nemesis!  The mage at the center of his construct, the spider in the web!  But that's not all!  When the wizards tower is missing, or looted, there are the ruined cities, hidden lairs (of thieves, pirates and  bandits), lost dungeons deep beneath the earth along with  caves caverns and the underworld all draw the hero like a magnet.  Glory, gold and artifacts of unspeakable power all await amidst terrible guardians, and cunning traps.  Evil cults and pretenders to thrones must be ferreted out and overthrown –or contacted and joined! 

The cunning GM must always consider that a well stocked ruin is a far better investment of time than a detailed exposition of a ruler’s family in a distant realm.

In general, one cannot go far wrong with a wizards tower or ancient ruin (subterranean or not).  The Tower may have an active plotting inhabitant, with organized patrols, reset traps, and well hidden treasures, or the master may be gone, and the keep simply a convenient lair for his surviving minions and lesser evils.  Ruins will be inhabited by survivors or squatters, and make excellent lairs for fantastical creatures (which may well be the cause of the ruin).  Tombs too should abound in plenty, stocked with the grave goods of dead kings wizards and conquerors; protected by fiendish traps, hidden areas and terrible spirits.

Several such sites should be premapped, generally at least one each of tower, ruin and tomb.  Practically, it is recommended each level or specific area be limited to a single piece of paper, with maps and encounter keys all upon one side. 
Generally, such adventure havens come in two types: organized and haphazard.  Organized sites generally have a well defined overall purpose, and inhabitants and contents that support this mission.  The inhabitants and contents (traps, treasures, and access) tend to cooperate towards a specific goal –although factions may exist!  Traps are often complex and well maintained, and generally make allowance for safe passage for those who have the authority. 

Haphazard sites tend to be abandoned and generally anarchic, with random inhabitants that may or may not cooperate, compete or ignore each others.  Much is simply the detritus of absent inhabitants, or loot from deeper in.  The stronger monsters will tend to have the best and most isolated lairs, seeing the lesser as cheap protection.  Traps will tend to be very long lasting and self resetting, or simple and crude, set by the new inhabitants. 

Epic Foe
Tribal; unified
Tribal, balkanized
2d6 Roll

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