Dungeon 23 (Wk 11) - The Week Of Coding And Hacking Tools For Dungeon Stocking

This week, I finished mapping of Level 4 and began keying it. 64 rooms of descriptions and creation. 

For determining room types/contents/info, I'd been using yet-another-spreadsheet where I'd implemented some of the tables from Courtney Campbell's PWYW "Tricks, Empty Rooms, and Basic Trap Design"[1], as well as some of the tables from AD&D DMG Appendix I "Dungeon Dressing". 

Having just come off my experience of creating tables and lists for my Etinerra campaign using hex-describe, and converting the Domesday/Medieval Demographics article to a hex-describe table.. well, you can probably imagine where this is going...

I swear, I don't have a problem, officer! I can roll dice when I want to... but this just frees me up from the rolling and straight into the creating.

This dungeon level is also going to be the first one where there's a definitely tonal direction. By coming up with the list of monsters randomly, and then taking that inspiration from a favorite 80s band Metal Church... well, I've got the monsters, I've got the rooms, now it's time to get cracking and write up those 64 rooms!


And I came upon yet another need for a tool to help me, but in this case, it required programming versus tables. Treasure generation. 

I'd rediscovered a fun little chart in the Nov 2010 3rd printing of Swords & Wizardry White Box - probably my most-favorite retroclone alongside OSRIC.

It's pretty self-explanatory and is how I've been generating my treasure for the first 3 levels of the Black Maw. But, it does take a bit of time. And what I'm discovering over the course of this D23 project is that the more I can use tools take drudgery out of the process and let me focus on the creative aspects, the more I am enjoying the project.

Plus, not going to lie, I enjoy tinkering with coding and little tools like this. 

I've been using Brian Ramsay's Swords & Wizardry Tools site for years for treasure generation. It's a great little page that quickly and easily does the "tradeouts" from coin to gems/jewelry and magic items. Here's the link to it: http://foont.net/swords-and-wizardry/tools/

Except... it doesn't quite follow my workflow. Brian asks for total gold, with a note "treasure XP (gold) be 2-3 times greater than monster XP."  And it reports everything back as gold. 

This generator requires me to do two manual steps: calculate the amount of gold based on the monster's XP, and then break the gold up into various coins. Well, a tool could be doing that, so....

Brian was kind enough to put his code on GitHub, which is a very popular place for developers to manage their source code and make it available to others. So, I grabbed a copy of his code, brushed aside some mental cobwebs so I could remember PHP/JavaScript programming and voila! 

My version uses that aforementioned table from S&W White Box to determine the multiplier to use against XP in determining gold totals - and also how the coins will be broken up. This gives me the tool I need to speed up determining and assigning treasure.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy and still use the Monster/Treasure Assortment books! This just adds a much larger hammer to use.

I've written to Brian about my additions/changes and am waiting to hear back from him on whether make it an official fork on GitHub or if he's interested in including it on his page. If I make it a fork, the question will be if I should host it someplace so other folks could use it. We'll see what Brian says.

So in the past 2 weeks, I've learned some basics of Reactive/bootstrap and Perl, and now I've remembered my PHP/JavaScript programming. As well as starting to learn how to use GitHub locally and remotely. I thought I was playing TTRPGs?!?!

So why break out the coins like that? 

One of the interesting conundrums I've found in the old school treasure assortments is the "what do we do with all these coins" puzzle for players to solve. Where 15,000 copper coins sounds like a lot, but it's only 150 gold. And that's a lot of coins to haul... 


It occurred to me, what would happen if I lost my Dungeon23 notebook? Or if something happened to it? Or if the pencil got rubbed/smudged through the use of the book to where I couldn't read it? 

I grabbed our el-cheapo document scanner and made PDFs of the completed 3 levels. Part of my process will now to be to scan the level at the end of the month when I'm finished!

Dungeon23 stats: as of week 11

  • Levels: 6
  • Rooms: 274 (3 added in wk 11)
  • Levels 1, 2, 3: mapped/keyed.
  • Level 4 mapped, keying in progress. 
  • Level 5 started.
  • Level 6 connected.
  • 3 sublevels mapped/keyed.
  • Town: Created, 7 locations/NPCs keyed.

[1] - also released as an illustrated/fleshed out version - "Artifices, Deceptions & Dilemmas" - the artwork is fantastic!