Monday, September 6, 2010

A Very Short D&D Story

So I've doing some playtests with solo dungeon generation, etc. Very high body count. I've revised encounter tables to iron some stuff out, I've exchanged most of the Appendix A elevator rooms for simple falling bars, etc., etc. Now I decide to bump up the solo PC level to 5th and see if we can at least clear out a 1st-level dungeon. I roll up a beauty of a character:

Garrick, Dwarven Fighter Level 5 (Lawful). S16, I15, W11, D18, C13, X15. Magic: Sword +1, +3 vs. trolls, Potion of Fire Resistance (3 doses), Displacer Cloak. Thus: AC -2, MV 9", hp 23, Atks Sword, magic +8 (1d8+3) or Spear, thrown +7 (1d6), Spec Infravision 60', Resist Magic +4, Rapid Strike feat (x2 melee atks), Cloak gives +2 to targeted saves, etc.

This, I'm thinking, is finally the ticket. Garrick & me should easily clear out a full level (via DMG Appendix A) and then consider any balancing issues for parts that were too easy (I mean, no 1st-level monsters can even hit him normally).

After the entrance, the first room is a big triangle with 1 orc. Obviously, he goes down quickly: collect 1 piece of jewelry & 100 sp. Leaving that room, we roll 19 on Table-I (Trick/Trap), and then a 20 on Table-VII (Chute down 1 level, cannot be ascended in any manner). So after all the safety bumpers installed around "Elevator Rooms", we've still stumbled into a down-one-level trap. Well, so be it.

I'm thinking maybe Garrick's got the goods to recover from a lost dungeon level. Room #1 on the new level: Bars fall blocking access to chute behind. (Well, at least that replaced another lost level from an elevator room.) Room #2: Huge spider with only 2hp, killed by opening spear-throw. (Treasure: 200 sp, 20 pp). Room #3: Monster with treasure indicated.

Roll for monster level: "6" on d6, indicating a 4th-level monster. Monster roll: "8" on d10, indicating a Giant Scorpion. Surprise roll: Garrick 2, Scorpion 4; so scorpion gets 2 actions before Garrick. Distance roll: "1" on d6, indicating 5-foot distance, so scorpion can immediately melee. Due to excellent AC, scorpion needs 17 or more with claw/claw/sting routine. Rolls are: 8, 14, 19. Stinger hits for 2hp, Garrick needs to save vs. Poison: Roll is a "2".

So the sterling Garrick is dead from scorpion poison after 4 explored rooms and just 3 total rounds in combat. Elapsed play time is about 10 minutes. That's D&D, folks.

7 comments:

  1. "Truly, if my character has risen higher than others, it is by standing on the bodies of those who failed their saves."
    I. Newton.

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  2. You do the khi for Charisma thing too? Here I thought I was the only one. Cool.

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  3. Are you giving your characters a chance to detect and circumnavigate the traps, or do they just automatically stumble into any trap you generate?

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  4. @JD: So now there's two of us!

    @Paul: Basically auto-stumble. I haven't used a Thief yet, and haven't thought about the tradeoff for corridor searches vs. wandering monsters yet.

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  5. ouch, this brings back so many 1e memories. i've no idea how any 1st level magic-users or illusionists ever survived to 2nd!

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  6. Don't know if you'll see this, but I've been doing quite a bit of Appendix A stuff recently, and I am curious if you ever wrote down or spreadsheeted your modifications to the tables - starting to come up with some myself right now, would be interested to see what changes you might have made.

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    Replies
    1. Good question -- I haven't typed anything up, it's all scribbled on copied pages out of the book. My first thing is that when using OD&D monster tables, I modify the d6 level roll by "-1" because I think they're too harsh at the first levels.

      Appendix A, Table III: Cut 9-10, 9-13 is passage "T"'s, 16-20 four-way intersection, cut 20. Table III.A: 1: 5', 2-19: 10', 20: 20' (1-in-6 go to III.B). Table V: 1-8 Empty, 9-10 Monster only, 11-15 Monster & treasure, 16 Special/stairway, 17-19 Trick/trap, 20 Treasure. Table VII: 9-11 Elevators, 5-in-6 become passage blocked by falling bars (1 day).

      In short: (a) I cut about half of the 45-degree passages, (b) normalized passages so only rarely do you get the huge widths, and (c) changed contents to be more in line with other books and not be 60% empty rooms.

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