Offended Desk Tales: Dancing Halfling Dungeon

I do know. This ain’t Tarot in D&D.

I don’t know why the f$&% everybody’s anticipating Tarot in D&D right now. My content material calendar clearly exhibits that I’m alleged to do an Offended Desk Story after Let’s Begin a Easy Homebrew Marketing campaign: Constructing a Subsequent Journey. Look? I’ve obtained a screenshot even…

So, it’s time for a desk story. And since I’m two days from an out-of-state journey, I don’t have time to ramble longly. So, that is it for the Lengthy, Rambling Introduction™. Sorry.


Final month, I threatened to regale you with occasional tales from my residence video games. And now, I’m making good on that menace. As a result of a lot of you have an interest in how I do s$&% at my desk. Particularly my open-world, D&D 3.5 desk.

Particularly in terms of wilderness journey and Problems and s$&% like that.

So, right now, I’m sharing a narrative a couple of distraction that distracted my PCs just a few weeks in the past whereas they have been on their means between the City and the Journey. Then, I’ll provide you with a peek behind my display and into my mind. Let you know how and why I did what I did. Cool?

However first…

Spoiler Non-Warning

Be warned: there are no spoilers forward.

You heard me.

I ain’t sharing something about my recreation that my gamers don’t know as of the day I write the draft for this text. Not less than, I ain’t sharing something they don’t know concerning the plot, mysteries, and Angryverse lore. I can’t. As a result of my gamers prefer to learn my s$&% and I don’t belief them to cease studying simply because I ask them to.

So, you’ll know solely as a lot about in-game occasions as my gamers do.

However I might be telling you s$&% my gamers don’t find out about how I truly run my recreation. Like, why I included sure recreation parts or how I dealt with sure die rolls or what I had deliberate and what I pulled out of my a$&. And I do know which may damage the magic for a few of my gamers. So, in the event you recreation at my desk and also you don’t wish to see how I make your sausage, cease studying after I begin ‘splaining.

Out of what I’m going to name respect for my gamers — as if I truly respect my gamers — and for these of you who’re simply right here for storytime, I’ve damaged this text into two components. The primary half’s the conflict story. It’s a recap of recreation occasions with backstory and context so it’ll make some type of sense. The second half’s the place I attempt to make this s$&% helpful and instructive. The place I clarify what I did behind the scenes and why I did it.

Constructive Criticism Solely Pl0x

This Offended Desk Story s$&%’s nonetheless new. Final time, I shared a bunch of worldlore and I didn’t suppose a lot concerning the format. It was only a long-a$%, rambling essay. This time, I’m telling an precise story about my precise recreation. And I’m attempting to make it helpful and instructive.

If I do handle to offer one thing entertaining and instructive and helpful, let me know. And if I don’t, additionally let me know. Politely. I’ll most likely ignore the suggestions — good, unhealthy, and detached — or possibly make enjoyable of it. However, who is aware of, you may catch me on a very good day after I determine I give a s$&% about your opinions.

Sufficient intro, although. On with the story.

On their means downriver to get better some misplaced items from a wrecked ship for a reputable businessman and pissed off with their halfling campmates, the celebration blundered right into a swarm of vampire bats and a random dungeon.

Dramatis Personae

A heroic celebration of player-characters:

  • Evendur, human cleric of the Vasaar, follower of the King and the Wanderer, and motivated by a want to defend others
  • Hewan, human paladin, sworn Crusader of the Argent Mantle, and motivated to struggle evil
  • Kamen, human illusionist with a shady previous and motivated to earn respect
  • Pel, human rogue with a shadier previous and motivated to amass wealth

A lower than heroic group of non-player-characters:

  • Caradog, the River Satan of Graybridge, a serious participant in Graybridge’s felony underground
  • Morv, an oarsman in Caradog’s make use of tasked with rowing the celebration downriver
  • Wydd, an oarsman in Caradog’s make use of tasked with rowing the celebration downriver

A clan of wandering halflings poling downriver on a barge:

  • Bydar Fairbairn
  • Minda Fairbairn
  • Whilla Fairbairn
  • Lallia Redreed
  • Clymen Greensprout
  • Almen Greensprout
  • Nanda Underpot

Background and Hook

Newly arrived in Graybridge, the celebration sought helpful contacts. Pel tried to attach with the felony underground. Partly for entry to coaching, provides, and gear. And partly to indicate respect for the native criminals’ turf. Principally, “hey, I’m simply visiting and never trying to horn in on anybody’s territory, however I’ve obtained cash to spend and I would even be accessible for work, however I’ll simply lay low and transfer on in the event you’d want.”

So Pel met Caradog, the River Satan of Graybridge, a criminal offense boss. And Caradog, it seems, was fairly pleased to see a bona fide adventurer in his city. Particularly a respectful, well mannered one. As a result of he simply occurred to have an journey hook. Caradog had bought some items to a purchaser and shipped them on a river cog known as the Cowslip. However the Cowslip by no means made port. So, the customer was demanding replacements or refunds. And Caradog was not prepared to offer both. Not till he’d launched an investigation.

Caradog requested Pel to convey his buddies round after which employed the whole thing of them to move downriver and find the Cowslip. Which he figured had run into bother. Particularly, he suspected river sahuagin may need attacked the ship and slaughtered the crew. Like they do. The river sahuagin principally reside upriver, effectively away from the commerce route, however prior to now, they’ve arrange camps to assault river site visitors.

Caradog provided the celebration with two rowboats and a pair of employed oarsmen to row them. Wydd and Morv. He gave the celebration two weeks to both get better the products or to report them completely misplaced.

Now, there’s just a few little thriller parts I’m not discussing right here. And a few elective goals. I’ll focus on a few of that s$&% beneath. The remainder ain’t vital for right now’s story. The journey itself is fairly simple: discover the Cowslip, search the maintain, get better the products if attainable, and are available again.

The celebration additionally determined that if sahuagin had arrange store within the river, they’d drive them off or destroy them. However Caradog ain’t paying them for that nonsense.

And that’s the setup.

A Three-Hour Tour…

So, early one morning, the celebration units out on their river journey. They load themselves and their gear into two large rowboats. Evendur and Hewan have been even good sufficient to swap out their heavy metallic armor for summer-weight gear in case they fell into the water. However they did convey their heavy armor with their different gear within the boats.

A number of hours out of Graybridge, the celebration spies a distant barge downriver. The oarsmen are simply outrowing the barge and so they’ll catch up in just a few hours. However they provide to hurry up and catch up sooner or test their rowing for a bit to let the barge drift out of sight after which let it keep effectively forward.

The celebration decides to remain the course. Catch up after they catch up and see what’s what.

Seems, the vessel’s a lashed-together barge made from barrels and planks with a plank and pole shelter to guard a pile of easy provides. There’s a half-dozen brightly-dressed halflings onboard. An prolonged halfling household on a street journey.

A river journey. No matter.

Fearful the halflings are heading straight for river sahuagin territory — and realizing they’ll assault any vessels of their territory at night time and slaughter their crews in tribute to their blood goddess — the celebration warns the halflings of the hazard forward. The celebration debates rowing effectively forward of the halflings to clear the way in which or touring and tenting collectively for the remainder of the day. Because it’s nearly night at this level, the celebration chooses to share a camp with the halflings.

When night falls, the halflings and heroes alike seaside their vessels and make camp. There’s lots of pleasant chatting. The little halfling woman’s enjoying loudly with the celebration’s guard canine — who’s pleased to be on dry land once more — whereas the remainder of the halflings are singing and dancing to the tune of a reed fipple. A vivid hearth’s burning. The halflings share their brandy round. A enjoyable time’s being had by all.

Within the wilderness. At nightfall. Close to sahuagin territory.

Hewan and Evendur excuse themselves from the festivities to speak over what to do with the halflings the subsequent day. Ought to they preserve touring with the halflings? Can they defend them? Ought to they ask the halflings to remain put for just a few days? Give the celebration an opportunity to analyze and take care of the attainable sahuagin raiders?

Hewan and Evendur are strolling on the outskirts of the camp, effectively away from the halflings and the oarsmen. They don’t wish to be overheard. And at last, they be aware the halflings are awfully loud and that’s most likely not nice.

Out of the blue, Hewan and Evendur are plunged into screeching, biting, leathery darkness. A swarm of predatory vampire bats has emerged from an underground den for his or her nightly hunt. And sacks of contemporary blood simply occur to be wandering previous their entrance door.

The celebration disperses the swarm, Pel and Kamen drawn by the sound. Wanting round to see the place the bats got here from, the celebration discovers a flagstone stairway and a brick tunnel, partially buried underground. A number of tumbled stones counsel a long-collapsed and buried basis. Fearful different critters may emerge and disturb the camp, the celebration decides to discover underground. A number of halflings are excited to go alongside. However, for some loopy motive, the celebration refuses their firm.

The celebration finds an outdated cellar on the backside of the steps. The primary chamber’s the bat’s nest. Not less than, it was. And behind that chamber is a hallway. Arched, gated storage alcove line the corridor. The celebration simply busts open the rusted gates and search the alcoves. Pel discovers an engraved silver stopper — badly tarnished — amidst some damaged crockery.

Because the celebration explores alongside the corridor, the flagstone ground abruptly offers means. The ground’s been undermined. A sinkhole-like house has eroded away beneath it. Ever brave, Hewan jumps the pit to discover the opposite finish of the corridor.

On the finish of the corridor, Hewan finds a big room, partially collapsed and choked with tree and plant roots from above. He turns to name again to the celebration and abruptly he can’t breathe. A stealthy choker, hidden amongst the vegetation, has ambushed him. As Hewan struggles to free himself from the choker’s choking tentacled grasp, the celebration struggles to cross the pit.

In the long run, although, the choker’s useless, and the celebration’s victorious. With nothing additional to discover, they head again to the floor, return to camp, and inform the halflings to close the hell up for the remainder of the night time.

The following day, Evendur tells the halflings to camp for at the very least a day earlier than heading downriver. The celebration desires a head begin to take care of the sahuagin earlier than the halflings present up. However because the oarsmen are pulling the boats from shore, they hear the halflings arguing about whether or not to pay attention or set out instantly after the celebration.

And so, the journey continues…

So, that s$&% all appears actually easy doesn’t it? Simple journey, bat encounter, easy three-room dungeon. Kill a monster, navigate a entice, get a treasure. Easy.

And yeah, it’s easy. That’s the f$&%ing level I’ve been attempting to make for months. Easy minute-to-minute gameplay cobbled collectively from current recreation supplies. What makes it enjoyable is the play dynamics. The interactions. The random happenings. It’s all simply placing shifting components on the board and enjoying to see what occurs.

However a little bit of considerate planning can actually assist that s$%& alongside…

A Not So Easy Plan

This journey illustrates one thing I do rather a lot. I present a simple-seeming journey with a transparent, concise purpose after which throw in a bunch of elective crap the gamers can determine to offer a s$&% about. Principally, let the gamers determine how deeply they wish to have interaction with the journey.

The purpose’s easy: discover the Cowslip, search the maintain, convey again the stuff, or report it lacking. Primary lacking bundle investigation. FedEx the sport. And the gamers know the celebration’s getting paid whether or not they get the products or not.

In fact, I do know it’s not that easy. And, as of final week, the gamers know too. As a result of they discovered the ship. It’s there. The crew’s been slaughtered. Bloodily. As anticipated if piranha-people actually did the deed. The ships run aground within the shallows. The maintain’s partially flooded, however intact. All the products are there. The crate with Caradog’s mark is there. Nevertheless it’s open and empty.

The celebration doesn’t have to offer a s$&% although. They don’t need to care. They did the job.

Neither have they got to care concerning the interaction between Morv and Wydd. They’re clearly each criminals in Caradog’s make use of. At first, Wydd appeared pleasant, affected person, and deferential. However now, he’s revealing himself to be type of a dick. And he is aware of much more than any oarsman has a proper to know. In the meantime, Morv appeared ill-tempered and indignant. However now it looks like he’s attempting desperately to go away his crappy life behind and Wydd received’t let him.

The celebration can give a s$&% although. In the event that they wish to. And in the event that they do, I can run that recreation. I do know the place the products are and what’s happening. In broad strokes, at the very least. It’s that large prep and little prep factor. I do know sufficient that I can deal with it in the event that they determined to hunt for the misplaced items or get wrapped up within the Life and Instances of Morv and Wydd. Run what I’ve to, then prep the remainder as I can.

Similar with the sahuagin. The PCs don’t must take care of them. However they’ll. They already know — based mostly on some analysis — they’re most likely coping with a small camp or village in a department of the river close to the scuttled Cowslip. They usually know the camp poses a menace to anybody on the river. Not that river site visitors’s that frequent. Nevertheless it’s frequent sufficient. Anybody caught on the water at night time — as a result of the sahuagin can’t stand daylight — is more likely to get slaughtered so the sahuagin can feed their thirsty blood goddess.

In reality, whereas I’m drafting this s$&%, the celebration’s arguing over what to do subsequent in our Discord group chat. They discovered the products lacking and so they’re suspicious of Caradog and Wydd and sympathetic to Morv. They usually’re frightened concerning the sahuagin. And particularly, they’re frightened what’s gonna occur when the halflings come blithely poling down the river if the sahuagin ain’t been handled.

On the coronary heart of all this s$%&? The characters’ motives. If Pel can get better the products — despite the fact that he wasn’t requested to — he may rating a greater payday and enhance his connections with the Graybridge crime household. In the meantime, Evendur feels unhealthy for Morv. Particularly as a result of Morv appears so determined to flee and Wydd’s obtained a decent leash on him. Evendur’s much more involved concerning the bloodthirsty slaughterfish murdering passers-by and feeding their blood to some evil, false god. Or the actual satan within the pores and skin of a false god. And because of the encounter with the halflings, these passers-by ain’t faceless nobodies. They’ve obtained smiling, apple-cheeked faces and curly hair and unhealthy nation accents. And Hewan’s a Crusader and pledged to confront and destroy evil. , like evil barracudafolk barbarians.

Level is that I prefer to construct my adventures round easy premises with additional objectives that broaden — or outright change — the journey. And I like so as to add a very good thriller to most of my adventures. They add a way of company of exploration to the macro-game.

Enter the Halflings

What’s the take care of the halflings? They’re completely ancillary. Not associated to the plot in any respect. Working seven NPCs is a ache within the a$&. They usually waste lots of desk time. Isn’t working video games onerous sufficient? Why am I making it more durable?

First, let me set up that the halfling household was a deliberate encounter. It wasn’t a random Complication. And I didn’t pull it out of my a$&. I made a decision throughout prep that the celebration would spot the halfling barge within the distance after they reached a sure spot on the river. And I named all of the halflings too. Due to relative journey speeds and visibility, I knew the celebration might select to hurry up and intercept the halflings, keep the course and catch up by night, or decelerate and preserve the halflings effectively forward and unawares indefinitely. That mentioned, I didn’t know any of that s$&% for certain. If the random climate engine had determined to throw rain or fog into the sport, the celebration may not have seen the halflings till they have been on high of them.

Level is, the entire halfling factor was performed on goal. Why?

First, as a result of NPC encounters are enjoyable. I like them. And I obtained enamored of the entire halfling river clan factor when D&D 4E launched it.

Second, when the heroes run into NPCs who’re completely unaware there’s journey afoot — like halflings who haven’t any clue they’re rafting right into a nest of sahuagin — the gamers see the world as an actual place full of individuals residing their very own lives. The halflings didn’t have any helpful info to supply. They didn’t have items to commerce or magical gadgets to promote. They have been simply folks. Simply going about their enterprise.

All that s$&% about how each encounter ought to advance the plot? That’s crap recommendation. Don’t observe it.

Third, the halflings made the sahuagin menace extra tangible. See, this complete sahuagin village factor’s fairly scary. A 4th-level celebration of land-dwelling primates attempting to clear an underwater village of two-dozen aquatic barbarians? These ain’t nice odds. And the celebration can’t simply raid it like a dungeon. I knew the gamers would need to clear it. As a result of motivations. However I additionally knew they’d be liable to blow it off as soon as they obtained a have a look at it. “We will take care of this s$&% once we’re larger stage,” they could say. Or, “let’s report this to the baroness and see if she’ll ship us again down right here with a bunch of troopers.”

However now there’s this pleasant bunch of foolhardy halflings poling their means downriver singing halfling touring songs like, Nothing Dangerous Ever Occurs to Us and We Like Being Alive and Brandy and Blood Belong Inside You. That makes it rather a lot more durable to stroll away from the slaughterfish with out giving it the ole school attempt. And the time stress will hopefully preserve them from overplanning their raid. As a result of nothing wrecks a plan like overplanning.

I do know my gamers can deal with this s$&%. It received’t be simple. They’re going to take some losses. Somebody may die. However they’ve obtained the intel they want and so they’re good and so they can put collectively a very good plan. I simply need to inspire them. And preserve them from speaking themselves out of each workable plan they give you.

Fourth, the halflings gave me a terrific alternative to shortly set up Wydd’s and Morv’s personalities. See, the halflings are sympathetic characters. Likable. When different NPCs deal with them effectively, it makes these NPCs likable as effectively. Name it the Associative Property of Character Sympathy. We like puppies. So, we like people who find themselves good to puppies.

See, at first of the journey, Wydd and Morv have been simply props. Principally, simply boat engines. And that’s all of the gamers would see. That was an issue as a result of I clearly had this Wydd and Morv aspect story factor going. They usually hook up with the elective aspect thriller. So, I needed to set up them as folks. This implies they wanted an opportunity to talk up. Provide opinions.

Wydd was pleasant and affected person concerning the halflings. He was cool with the celebration defending them. He was good to them. Morv was impatient and grumpy. He made darkish jokes concerning the halflings getting killed. With only a few fast opinions — “in the event you suppose defending the halflings is the suitable factor to do, I’ll help you” and “f$&% the halflings; they’ll get themselves killed with out our assist so minimize them unfastened and let’s get this job performed” — the boat engines abruptly have personalities.

In fact, this time round, it was completely misdirection. As a result of it turned out Wydd’s an a$&gap and most positively as much as one thing and Morv’s only a down-on-his-luck loser attempting to flee a crappy life. Which the celebration is aware of now as a result of they stored interacting with them.

And that’s the important thing. I had no thought how any of this s$&% would go down. I didn’t know if the celebration would even meet the halflings, not to mention share a camp with them. I didn’t know if the celebration would escort the halflings via sahuagin territory or depart them behind. I didn’t know in the event that they’d dig into Morv and Wydd and see the characters beneath the masks. I simply wrote a bunch of characters and threw them into the world.

Now, you may surprise how the hell I managed this s$&%. I imply, within the camp scene, I had 9 NPCs on digicam. That’s rather a lot to maintain observe of.

Effectively, first, I rely closely on key phrases and lists for this s$&%. Right here’s what I knew of the halflings when this s$&% began:

  • Bydar Fairbairn the Patriarch
  • Minda Fairbairn the Matriarch
  • Whilla Fairbairn the Little one
  • Lallia Redreed the Musician
  • Clymen Greensprout the Suspicious Twin
  • Almen Greensprout the God-Fearing Twin
  • Nanda Underpot the Layabout

Other than realizing their roles of their little clan, I additionally knew they have been a wandering clan of halflings. Curious, fearless, superstitious. All that s$%& was greater than sufficient for me to deal with the sunshine interactions the celebration had with them. The halflings have been principally simply surroundings. A swirl of extras within the background. The gamers couldn’t preserve observe, actually, of who was who. And actually, that was excellent. I imply, in the event you met a half-dozen halflings on a household trip, might you retain all of them straight after only a few hours?

Oh, certain, I attempted to instigate just a few relationships. Lallia, for instance, was interested by Kamen’s magic. And he or she was essentially the most adventurous of the halflings. However Kamen gave her the comb off, so the interplay petered out shortly. Past that, Evendur dealt principally with Bydar. The Patriarch grew to become the household spokesperson. Which simply is sensible. And he often yelled at Nanda to cease being lazy or yelled on the Twins to cease bickering. Normal stuff. Straightforward to improvise. And mainly simply fluff.

Effectively, That Received Sophisticated

Now, let’s discuss Problems.

I had neither the shock bat swarm nor the random cellar dungeon deliberate earlier than the sport. Which was high quality. As a result of the celebration blundered onto them. So that they shouldn’t have been deliberate. As an alternative, they have been the results of my Rigidity Pool and a easy Complication Record.

I can’t share that Complication Record, by the way in which. The celebration’s nonetheless on the river. So I would want it.

Usually, if the celebration’s touring usually, I roll a full Rigidity Pool of six cube as soon as per recreation day at midnight. If a Complication arises, it’ll f$&% up the subsequent day of journey. I normally choose a Complication from my checklist moderately than rolling it and simply determine for myself what time it arises. However that’s as a result of I’ve a very good sense of how finest to screw the celebration with what and when.

My Complication Record included this entry:

A swarm of bats emerge from an underground den

Actually simply that sentence. My plan was that the celebration would see that s$&% from a distance — after they have been in search of a campsite within the night — and examine, thereby discovering some underground one thing. In different phrases, it was simply one other means of writing “the celebration spots the doorway to a random minidungeon.”

I’ll discuss extra about random minidungeons in a minute.

Factor is, although, that the bat Complication didn’t come up due to a every day Rigidity Pool roll at midnight. Nope, the Rigidity Pool roll at midnight resulted in:

An indignant, nesting alligator tries to capsize one of many boats

I used that the subsequent morning. And since I’m a nasty sonofab%$&, I sprung it simply because the celebration was passing via a area I’d flagged as centaur territory. I figured hilarity would ensue if the celebration determined to go ashore — or camp — there.

Because it occurred, hilarity did ensue. The alligator’s assault knocked Evendur and Wydd from their boat earlier than the celebration drove it off. Then, the celebration tried to row ashore with Evendur and Wydd clinging to the boats so they might get again in. However a celebration of indignant centaurs didn’t need human ft sullying their land. The negotiations didn’t go effectively. However that’s one other story.

However the bat factor? That Complication arose as a result of I’m an a$&gap. Not less than, partly as a result of I’m an a$&gap.

So, the celebration determined they’d camp out with the halflings, proper? And realizing halflings — as I do — I figured they don’t make camp quiet. In order I used to be narrating the camp scene, I established the halflings have been enjoying music, chatting, dancing, and yelling to one another. And I made a decision that, if the celebration didn’t do one thing about it, I’d contemplate that Reckless habits and would make an additional Rigidity Pool roll.

Effectively, the celebration let the halflings go on for a while. Then, Evendur and Hewan broke off from camp to talk concerning the subsequent day’s plans. And I made a decision they’d let the halflings be too noisy for too lengthy. I rolled the Rigidity Pool, obtained a Complication, and determined to make use of that bat factor. Because it was simply excellent for a night at camp.

Simply as I used to be about to interrupt Evendur’s and Hewan’s planning session with a innocent disgorge of bats into the air over the subsequent rise, one in every of them mentioned one thing like, “they’re type of loud; ought to we go shut everybody up earlier than they appeal to some bother.”

And since I’ve obtained a aptitude for the dramatic, a depraved humorousness, and a imply streak, that’s after I determined to not present a flock of bats rising into the night time close by, however as a substitute to disgorge a disturbed flock of predatory, vampire bats immediately below their ft.

I opened the D&D 3.5 Monster Handbook to web page 237 — Swarm, Bat — and a very good time was had by all.

And I nearly determined that was sufficient enjoyable for the night time. I nearly blew off the random minidungeon. However we nonetheless had loads of time within the session and who doesn’t like a random minidungeon?


I Didn’t Know I Was Taking part in a Roguelike

Now, let’s discuss that random minidungeon.

I’d set myself to tug a random minidungeon out of my a$&. And I try this rather a lot. I prefer to sprinkle my world with little caves and ruins and crypts and forgotten shrines and wrecks and monster lairs and s$&% like that. That’s one more reason why I like easy adventures after I know there’s journey concerned. I did the identical after I despatched the celebration into Skirlin Wooden to hunt a ghoul. The ghoul was simple to search out. Her lair was only a hole below an outdated tree. However alongside the way in which, the celebration fell into this bizarre and clearly magical sacred spirit cave.

Which they completely determined to not f$&%ing discover.

And which they are going to by no means, ever discover once more.

Anyway, I belief myself to tug minidungeons from my a$& on the desk. However I depend on three instruments to assist me.

The primary is my potential to give you fast, keyword-themes and adapt s$&% to that theme.

The second is my potential to scribble a three-to-five node flowchart to symbolize the dungeon’s structure.

The third is my Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Dungeon Grasp’s Information which is chock filled with superior tables for making random dungeons.

So, I had this half-buried staircase. Clearly, there’d been a constructing the place the celebration was tenting as soon as. Nevertheless it had lengthy since collapsed and the ruins had been washed into the river throughout floods and the remainder had been overgrown and buried. So, mainly, all that was left was a basement. And to make s$&% easy, that’s all it was. A cellar. For storage. Nothing fancy. Flagstone flooring, masonry partitions, hewn ceilings. Straightforward.

I didn’t wish to waste an excessive amount of desk time on this s$&%, so I went with a three-room setup. And there ain’t lots of layouts you’ll be able to pull off with three rooms. So, I did the gauntlet factor. Entrance, center room, last room. And I drew that tremendous fast whereas the celebration was debating whether or not to discover or not.

Then, I flipped to DMG 78 and Desk 3-18: Random Room Contents and I obtained my cube hand prepared. I wasn’t going to construct the entire dungeon then and there. I’d generate rooms just about because the celebration hit them. As a result of I don’t prefer to cease play for something. And cube rolls and desk consultations are fairly fast if you’re already able to make them.

I knew the primary room was empty. No roll wanted. It was once a bat lair. However the bats have been gone. So it was only a stinking outdated cellar. Partially collapsed, reeking, and coated with guano.

Desk 3-18 instructed me the second room contained hidden treasure and a entice. I didn’t roll to search out out what the treasure was, although. I made a decision a single, invaluable object was hidden amongst the particles. In the meantime, Desk 3-19: Random Traps CR 1-3 handed me a camouflaged pit entice.

Realizing I used to be coping with a collapsed storage cellar, I put the weather collectively in my head. The center room was a hallway. Rusted iron gates enclosed small storage alcoves. One was crammed with damaged pots, jugs, and bottles. That advised a silver stopper may be hidden within the particles.

The pit entice gave me bother. It appeared bizarre to have a hid pit entice in a cellar. And since the cellar was in a complicated state of damage, it appeared weirder {that a} purposeful entice may survive the ages. However erosion, flooding, and mass losing advised the cellar may need been undermined. The flagstones have been nonetheless in place, held collectively by pure cementing, however beneath the ground was a small crevasse the place the earth had eroded away. Any heavy weight would plunge via the flagstones into the house beneath.

Yet another roll on Desk 3-18 instructed me the third room contained a monster solely. I figured a 2nd-level dungeon encounter was high quality for a random Complication for 4th-level PCs. Rolling on the 2nd-Stage Dungeon Encounters desk yielded a choker and my Monster Handbook offered the stats. As a result of the celebration had blundered into the pit and was debating how finest to cross it whereas I used to be rolling, I made a decision they’d misplaced the component of shock and rolled a Cover test because the choker hid itself for an ambush.

Actually, the choker labored notably effectively. Chokers are small, gentle, lithe rubbery little climbers. So it made sense it’d by no means collapsed the ground. The little fella most likely settled right here one night time after which wakened stunned to search out bats roosting in his lobby. However they didn’t hassle him. So he’d sneak out after they went out for the night time to strangle rabbits or squirrels or fish for his dinner. Or, if he was feeling lazy, creep into the bat’s lair whereas they have been sleeping and seize one along with his lengthy, grabby tentacles.

Anyway, that’s it. That’s how one line of textual content about bats and an inventory of halfling names constructed a dungeon.


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