Monday, November 6, 2023

My Stocking Procedure

Dum-tee dum-tum-tum.

I recently posted a variant of this in a discord I frequent and was asked to do a blogpost on it in order to have it in one place. I also mentioned my strict stocking procedure in my recent interview... or at least I think I did. Dysphoria prevents me from listening to that episode. So here that is:

Step 1: I take the map I am going to use (whether drawn by me or someone else) and count the number of rooms - excluding sub-rooms that are marked with letters. 2 gets counted; 4a-4d is all just one room. I take this number and divide it by 3, possibly rounding up or just adding one if I'm feeling frisky that day. This is the number of monster encounters I will spread throughout the dungeon. It's also the number of treasures I will place. To get the number of traps, I divide the new number by 2. Easy peasy.

Step 2: I divide the monster encounters into groups of ten with the following spread:
  • Boss
  • Miniboss
  • Miniboss
  • Grunt
  • Grunt
  • Grunt
  • Mook
  • Mook
  • Mook
  • Mook
Mooks are monsters that are quite weak and usually occur in numbers about double the number of PCs (or more). Grunts are tougher monsters that occur in numbers roughly half of the number of PCs. Minibosses are the toughest monster that might show up on that level, with only one appearing, and Bosses are monsters that would be tough for even two to three levels deeper in the dungeon.

I decide what each of these encounters is going to be so that a level one dungeon might have...
  • Boss: Ogre
  • Miniboss: Grey Ooze
  • Miniboss: Tarantella
  • Grunt: Ghoul
  • Grunt: Orc
  • Grunt: Orc
  • Mook: Goblin
  • Mook: Goblin
  • Mook: Stirge
  • Mook: Skeletons
Note: this list is a little lackluster because I'm trying to do this for a very generic easy to understand example. I normally try to pick (or even make) more interesting monsters than these.

Finally for step 2,* I roll the NA appearing dice for the monsters I picked (with minibosses and bosses always just being 1 or maybe 1d3). So lets say we have...
  • 1 Ogre
  • 1 Grey Ooze
  • 1 Tarentella
  • 2 Ghouls 
  • 4 Orcs
  • 3 Orcs
  • 6 Goblins
  • 8 Goblins
  • 10 Stirges
  • 10 Skeletons
Step 3: If I had any rooms that had those subrooms - 1a - 1c and so on - I instead assign them to a lair of monsters. We have a lot of Goblins in this example so let's say we roll up a goblin lair: 35 goblins, 2 guards, and a goblin king. Dope! They get distributed among those rooms.

Step 4: I then generate a number of treasures equal to the number of monsters on the level. I use Courtney's treasure doc which apparently he sells now because the world is fallen. I got it when it was free though.

I generate the treasures assuming 250 x Dungeon Level or Assumed Level of Adventure for the treasure parcel. If I have a lair from step 3 I instead use the treasure type conversion guide in the doc. I count 19s as well as 20s as magic because that seems more fun to me but your mileage may very, as they say. For half the hoards I roll the size of the hoard without modifiers, but knowing half the hoards will be ungraded I only generate those as 1d3 parcels.

Step 5: I spread the monsters and treasure among various rooms, having half the monsters not have treasure (other than perhaps pocket change I'd roll in session) and having half the treasure be unguarded by monsters.

Step 6: I use the Dismal Depths traps document from Sham's Grog n' Blog - from the prelapsarian OSR - to generate a number of traps equal to half the number of monsters, placing some on their own and placing some in rooms with traps.

Thus ends the stocking procedure. I of course add specials and tricks and dungeon decor, but that stuff is harder to make procedures for. 

If you want to know why I have such a rigid schema, it's because it 1) Quiets the Voices in my head. This is it's primary function but 2) it works. I am at least going to get a solid session (or more likely several) if I follow this procedure.

*Step 2 sure had a lot of steps!