Dungeon23 (Wk 7) - Back to the Source, Finishing Level 3

Day 43

Another great set of OD&D specific generators for old school play, and done against the 1974 rules! 

OD&D Referee Tools

Quick and dirty, but extremely useful, especially to avoid rolling on multiple tables, such as for treasure or NPC/Bandit generation.

It's amazing what wonderful tools are out there on the Internet, just there and waiting to be used. I wouldn't have known about this if it weren't for the OD&D Proboards. That place has been around since the mid2000s, and it's been an invaluable resource for all things related to OD&D.

Day 44

My long-running, on-hiatus tabletop AD&D campaign is restarting this coming weekend as an online game. That requires some planning and preparation, so today was a quick 2 room sketch/key. 

What can I do with a 40' pit? Hmm...  

Day 45

And now I've completed mapping for Level 3. I had a stretch of time and just kept rolling dice and drawing passages, chambers and rooms. Now for checking that my numbers are where I want them to be, and on to the actual writing of the key for Level 3. 

I do like the way this flowed a bit better... rough draft/list of the key, monster and treasure population, make sure the numbers line up the way I want, so that I've awarded an appropriate amount of treasure, eyeball the monsters to see if there's a story there, and then fill in the key on the planner. 

On a historical note - Strategic Review #1 has a solo dungeon generator. SR was TSR's magazine prior to Dragon and The Dungeon magazines. The solo dungeon article was authored by Gary Gygax and at first glance, it very closely resembles Appendix A from the 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide which also featured a random dungeon generator. It begs the question of whether or not Gary used this for much of his dungeon generation! 

The main difference is that the SR generator uses a mix of dice - d20, d12 and d6, while the AD&D generator uses the d20 primarily, and the d100 for Table V.G. TREASURE. 

Day 46

The more I roll for random results, the more I copy some of the linked/nested tables in various sources to a Google Spreadsheet where I just let the RANDBETWEEN and LOOKUP functions do the work. So far, I have some of Empty Room tables from Courtney Campbell's "Empty Rooms" book, the d100 room lists from subreddit r/d100, some of the Dungeon Dressing tables from DMG, Appendix I (currents, odors, sounds, air quality and general items discarded). 

Today, I added Tables V H, I, J from Appendix A - "Treasure is contained in", "Treasure is guarded by", "Treasure is hidden in/by".

It's nothing fancy, but it definitely helps to speed things up for me. 

Day 47

Limiting myself to OD&D monsters as a starting point is interesting! The list of all OD&D monsters that I mentioned last week is really helping, especially since creatures from the Monster/Treasure Assortments were sourced from the AD&D Monster Manual! They both did come out in 1977.

Take the violet fungus. A nasty creature that hangs out with other slimes, molds and fungi. It's first appearance is in the Monster Manual, published in 1977. Although the Monster Manual was titled "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons", its content was quite useable with OD&D/Supplement I. Dungeon Masters who were so inclined could roll its stats back to 1974 OD&D with the d6, as needed. 

So I'll make the AD&D-only inclusions an exception, not a rule, just to stick to the theme of OD&D. For now. 

Also... I can reveal more of the dungeon map for level 1, from the play session on Tuesday:

This map spans five days (areas) on my Hobonichi Day-Free calendar. So 2 1/2 days/areas per adventure. At this rate, it would take 146 sessions to explore the entire map, assuming all 365 days on the planner are filled. 

At 2 sessions a month, that's a bit over six years of playing! I don't know... these guys like OD&D, but will they like OD&D and the Black Maw that much?!

Day 48

While chatting with ChatGPT[1], I had some inspiration on what to do with a couple of sublevels - make them into homages of some of the first dungeons - The Temple of the Frog, as described in OD&D Supplement 2, and Castle Greyhawk.

The former is pretty straight-forward to research; just pop open the booklet/PDF of Supplement 2, Blackmoor and it's laid out in all its glory. David Arneson wrote the Temple in a way that reflects how he approached his fantasy games - characters and mass-combat troops together. The Temple is filled with over 1,300 soldiers, slaves, priests, guards and other monstrous opponents - not your typical dungeon crawl! This foray is clearly meant for a campaign that employs a vastly different approach than most contemporary dungeon campaigns call for. 

The latter, Castle Greyhawk, is Gary's interpretation of what he learned by playing in David's Blackmoor game, but far more familiar to most D&D'ers in scope and approach. The Greyhawk campaign is, after all, the underpinning of much of the implied setting in D&D and AD&D from 1978 to 2001 when 3e was published. However, the history of Castle Greyhawk is a tortured one, wrapped both in Gary's reluctance to tell too much of the story of an active campaign AND then enmeshed in the bitter divorce between Gary and TSR. To put it simply, there is not a definitive single-source of Castle Greyhawk!

Folks far more learned than I have devoted years of research and created whole sites devoted to Castle Greyhawk. Allan Grohe, known in OSR circles as "grodog", probably has done more investigation and collected more artifacts on this subject than anyone else, so I can only point you to the sage himself: https://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/gh_castle.html

Paleologos also has an excellent summary if you just want to get the essential facts: https://osrgrimoire.blogspot.com/2020/01/greyhawk-castle.html

Dungeon23 had taken an unexpected and immensely pleasurable direction! I've been delving into a lot of history just to fill up two sublevels and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

[1] Yep, I wrote that correctly. I'm having a conversation with ChatGPT about my megadungeon, which has actually had some unexpected results. More on that in an upcoming podcast.

Day 49

Level three is now mapped and keyed. I've been working on some sublevels, but once those are done, I get into Level 4. 

I'm not sure what Level 4 will bring me. I've got a good idea what the dungeon is about, but I'm going to try my alternative approach in drawing the map, keeping a list of random content results and then going back and seeing what the story is before I do a full key.

I like that. It makes sense the first couple of levels would be more chaotic in nature, with the constant invasion of those pesky adventurers and treasure seekers! However, the deeper we go, and the closer to the heart of the Black Maw we get, the nature is going to change a bit. 

And with that, my seventh week of Dungeon23 is at a close!

Dungeon23 stats: 

  • Levels: 5
  • Rooms: 211 (7 added in wk 7)
  • Levels 1, 2, 3: mapped/keyed.
  • Level 4 started. 
  • Level 5 connected. 
  • 1 sublevel mapped/keyed. 1 sublevel in-work. 1 sublevels mapped/not keyed. 
  • Town: Created, 7 locations/NPCs keyed.