Monday, September 5, 2011

Stocking Castle Greyhawk

As of yesterday, I have completed the maps for the first three levels of Castle Greyhawk, ignoring sublevels and the surface ruins.  I thought I'd go over my stocking process since it's a bit different than the one I used for Nightwick Abbey.  It primarily comes from reverse engineering random dungeon generation charts in the DMG, with a bit more standardization.

First, I fill up a hole punched 8x11" piece of graph paper (about 5 lines to 1") with dungeon, trying to squeeze in as many rooms and corridors as possible.  This will usually constitute one level.  I've based this on Gary's maps, seen below:

click to embiggen

While it's entirely possible that more than one of these make up a level, I decided to stick to the one sheet = 1 level rule that I used for Nightwick Abbey simply because in 25 sessions the party never even came close to mapping all of the first level, let alone the ones beneath it.  I figure that if I need more, I can add it later and explain it away fairly easily.

Unlike Gary's maps, I tended to use straight corridors and square or rectangular rooms.  As Jeff noted in an earlier post, odd shaped rooms are usually more of a headache than they're worth.  This isn't to say there are no oddly shaped rooms in the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk, just that the majority of the rooms are easier to describe to a mapper.

But enough about mapping, this post is about stocking.  First, I guesstimate a sheet of graph paper to be able to hold c. 100 rooms.  I have no idea how accurate this is, and I don't really care.  I've broken down the stocking chart (Table V. F. on page 171 of the DMG) into the following:

  • 25 rooms will have monsters
  • 5 rooms will have "specials"
  • 5 rooms will have traps (I include "tricks" as specials)
  • 5 rooms will only have treasure.

I generate the monsters randomly using the charts in the DMG and a few monsters from the FF to spruse things up a bit.  I will say that by and large Castle Greyhawk relies much more on the MM than Nightwick Abbey did.  I want this to feel appreciably different, and so I've decided to go to a bit more into traditional D&D territory.  I'll still be sticking in some gorbels and grells though, don't you worry.

After generating the monsters, I generate treasure.  To do this I ignore the treasure "per individual" -- only using that for wandering monsters -- and instead always generate treasure as if the monster were in its lair.  For an example, a group of 6 elves would generate G, S, and T type treasure.  This treasure is not assigned to specific monsters yet.  Instead I tally it all up together, generating magic items, gems, and jewelry accordingly. After the incident with the Staff of Power in the previous campaign, I've been a bit more selective with magic items.  I've more or less stolen this system from Scott and use it for more or less the same reason.  I hope that it will help keep advancement at a smooth pace despite the amount of death typically seen in my dungeons.

Finally, I place the specials I've developed.  These include weird things like the Talking Tomb from Nightwick Abbey or complexes controlled by dungeon factions.  If new monsters are required, their hp and treasure are generated now.  These treasures are added to the total pool.  I then distribute these first, placing in them an amount of treasure that is proportional to their difficulty.

Next I distribute the monsters in a way that makes sense to my deranged brain.  This is usually done by just eyeing the map and trying to make sure rival monsters don't live too close together.  This will have increased importance in Castle Greyhawk because I plan to place considerably more emphasis on dungeon factions than I did with Nightwick Abbey.  I then distribute the treasure among these monsters in a way that makes sense, leaving a little to be put into trapped and empty rooms.  Next I place traps in places that make sense, followed by the treasure that goes with it.   Then I place the remaining treasure.

That's more or less it.  I do sublevels a bit differently (a bit more like regular lairs), but this is how I do the vast majority of the dungeon.  I may do a post on the different factions in the dungeon, or at least the first three levels of it, shortly.

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