Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Why Stabbing Random Townsfolk Has Less Repercussions Than You Think! On Justice In The Iron/Viking/Medieval Age

I don't know who made this

In modern society, you can commit a criminal action if you break a law set out by the state forbidding certain actions. This would be like tax fraud, possessing drugs, or murder. In the iron/viking/medieval age things were different as criminal law wasn't as well developed.

So we have mainly two types of law in our society. Tort and Criminal. Tort refers to actions which harm someone or deprive them of something. Criminal refers to actions which harm the state or deprive them of something. Many crimes one can commit are both. For example if you murder someone you both deprive them of life and also break the law of the state.

In the iron/viking/medieval age instead of a state or society you instead had a king or ruler and there was much less overlap between the two. So if you killed a random peasant you wouldn't necessarily harm the king but you would greatly harm their family. So the family would likely take revenge but the king would likely not take an action. Instead of the king's men investigating the murder, the family would take actions against you either in the form of more murder or payment.

So for people during the iron/viking/medieval age it’s essentially just paying damages to someone else or the king or you specifically do something banned by the king. It’s up to you and your clan to atone for actions or damages made by you.

Here is a collection of the actions which would carry repercussions in the iron/viking/medieval age and how they would be solved:

Crimes vs Man

Murder - Pay a weregild (man price) if their family doesn't try to kill you vengeance. Sometimes you'd also have to pay to the king as well.

Injury/Assault - So accidental injury wasn't a thing outside of Rome (I think), so you would have to pay a fine to the family or individual you harmed which would be proportional to the damage.

Larceny - You would have to either give the item back and may be assaulted from who you stole or pay a fine for what was stolen.

Crimes vs The King

Murder of a king's man - There is a much higher price here than a normal weregild. I'm sure he could also kill you for this but I don't know the specifics.

Crimes against the community - This is like arson, livestock mutilation, or disturbing the peace. Technically this is all the king's property and you're injuring him/stealing from him.

Forbidden action - If the king forbids something and you do it it won't end well.

On Crime Prevention

So a iron/viking/medieval age settlement wouldn't have police who would seek out crime and prevent it and solve it. You would have people who would patrol the town in order to keep order but it wouldn't be to prevent crime. If they came across a murdered body they wouldn't necessarily investigate but instead would maybe clean it out of the way. Further if someone had wronged you it was up to you to fix that wrong. You might petition your king for help but who knows what happen there? If someone stole from you you could possible get a thief-taker to track them down or you could possibly get someone to help your family gain vengeance. But most wealthy people would have guards walk the streets with them for protection instead of trusting the policing force to protect them.

Further if accused of a crime there wasn't much recourse for what you could do. In some soceities you simply needed witness to dispute it, in others you could try to have an ordeal to prove your innocence but the king would never have to prove your guilt. He's the king.

Other Stuff

So you have to pay taxes and may have to become part of an irregular militia in times of war. Certain things may be taxed more as well, but generally you pay with items not with wealth, like a baker may pay tax with bread instead of coin. Foreigners had less legal safety, but their hosts could grant them protection or an extension of their family. Also this could go for orphans or such as well.

Some places also have "outlawing" which is when legal protections don't apply to you anymore, but that does come later historically. However, a similar concept that someone could be killed like a dog with no repercussions wasn't unheard of.

Conclusion/In Practice

So in your games by altering such laws per kingdom you could add more verisimilitude or differentiate each area more. Further, the inclusion of the iron/viking/medieval age justice system could emphasize the nature of your setting.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Abandoned Mines above the Caverns: Procedural Tiny Dungeon Generator 2

Below is a generator for some small dungeons which can be used to construct abandoned mines as well as cavern complexes. These will result in less treasure than most dungeons but can be the source of troglodytes which may spread out from their awful homes to menace the country side. These dungeons are created procedurally and can be rolled for as the party enters them. For the Caverns, you fill the cavern table with monsters, and then roll for room contents.

Abandoned Mineshaft Complex Generator

Mines Layout

Tunnels extending out from central hub room from which the mine complex is entered.
1-32 Tunnels of 1d6 Rooms
4-53 Tunnels of 1d6+1 Rooms +
 1 side path between two shortest tunnels
64 Tunnels of 1d6+2 Rooms +
1 side path between two longest tunnels +
1 side path between two shortest tunnels

Outermost room of the two longest tunnels will allow descent into random rooms of the caverns below

Mineshaft Room Contents 1d8 + 1d8 (Roll twice per room)

1The shaft here is supported by numerous wooden pillars.
2The ceiling buldges down from above, as if about to collapse inward.
3A wheelbarrow has been abandoned here, its wheel broken.
4A lantern lies broken here, now a cracked shell of glass.
5Three wodden pillars have fallen from the wall here, and now lie as rubble.
6From this wall ore was once taken, all that is left is a gaping orifice.
7 A deep hole has been dug here and a ladder leads down into it.
8The walls here is broken, its stoney flesh littering the floor.
1-3Unstable tunnel, rocks fall from ceiling for 1d8 damage
4-5Tunnel Collapses and exit into room covered by stone only passage further inwards, can be removed with 2d4 manhours of labor (assuming a roll of 4 three characters and a hireling could remove the stones in 1 hour and one character in 4 hours)
6-7Collapsing floor into random room of caverns below, fall deals 2d6 damage
8Blackdamp - Open flames snuff out while encased lanterns dim further there is a 1 in 6 chance of a damp requiring a save vs poison or unconciousness and death if they remain in that area
1-4Crazed Miner who has been trapped here some time ago 
(Stats as bandit with 2 HD and undead morale)
5-7Swarm of Bats 
(flees after taking 1 hp but is able to attack entire party at once for 1 hp)
8Monster from Caverns Below
1-31d10 nodules exposed of precious ore 
each worth 1d6*10 silver and requires 1d6 turns to remove all
4-61d6 nodules of exposed gems 
each worth 1d4*20 silver  and requires 1d6 turns to remove all
71d8 nodules of mined precious ore 
each worth 1d6*10 silver
81d4 mined gems 
each worth 1d4*20 silver

Wandering Monsters 1d8

1-4Crazed Miner
5-7Swarm of Bats
8Monster from Caverns Below

Caverns Below Generator

Rooms: 2d6+Number of Tunnels Above

Cavern Layout*

1-3Two linear rows of equal rooms connected to each other by
 sidepaths equal to number of tunnels above
4-5Two floors and two staircases that connect between them. 
Top has number equal to tunnels+1d6. 
Bottom has the other 1d6
6Many floors each has number of rooms 
equal to number of tunnels above
*To construct a Larger Cavern, simply fill the mineshaft columns above with cavern room contents

Cavern Room Contents 1d6 + 1d6 (Roll twice per room)

1A massive pool of water covers the majority of this cave.
2Numerous stalactites hang from the ceiling above.
3The roof of the cave hangs low limiting your ability to stand tall.
4The cave here is barely wide enough to walk through.
5Water falls from a ledge above.
6The cave winds about instead of being easily visible and understandable.
1 Lesser Inhabitants 1st roll
2 Lesser Inhabitants 2nd roll
3Lesser Inhabitants 3rd roll
4Greater Inhabitants 1st roll
5Greater Inhabitants 2nd roll
6Terrible Inhabitants
1-3Fossils embedded in the wall 
worth 1d8 * 50, each 100 silver corresponds to 1 encumbering item requires 1d8 turns to remove from wall
4-5 Exit out of the cavern
6Strange Protohuman Relic carved from pale stone 
worth 2d6*30 silver

Wandering Monsters* (1d4)

1Lesser Inhabitants 1st roll
2 Lesser Inhabitants 2nd roll
3Lesser Inhabitants 3rd roll
4Greater Inhabitants 1st roll

*Determination of Cavern Inhabitants

Lesser 1d8 

(Stastics unless specified as different are 1 HD, Armor as shield, 1d6 damage, movement as unencumberd man, average morale)
1 2d4 Armored Trilobytes crawling out of a stagant pool of water
(armor as chain and shield)
21d4 Giant Bats unfurling their wings from the cavern's roof 
(2 HD, low morale)
3 1d2 Cave-Fishers reeling themselves towards their filaments
(attack from range and if successful embeds filament strand within target)
41d6 Claw Shrimp floating up form the water below
(Two Claw Attacks for 1d6)
51d3 Giant Centipede spiraling downward from stalagtites
(Attacks with poison, high morale)
6Stone Mimic silently ambushing as it opens its eye 
(surprises on 5 in 6, and morale as undead)
71d2 Snapping Slamanders swimming out of some submerged hole
(On hit pulls target into water, dealing 1d6 every round)
81d4 Opilions converging along the walls
(Crawls on wall, if fails morale plays as dead)

Greater 1d6 

(Stastics unless specified as different are 3 HD, Armor as shield+leather, 1d8 damage, movement as unencumberd man, high morale)
1-3Double number of appearing Lesser inhabitants
4 1d2 Serpent Bats screeching and flapping their awful wings from above (Attacks ignore shields, Movement as double that of unencumbered man)
5 1d3 White Apes howling and  as they feast on the corpse of a 
(Roll again for monster) (No reaction roll are always hostile)
6 Scythe Trilobyte lunging a blade out of a pool of water 
(Armor as Plate + shield, 2d6/2d6 damage)

Terrible 1d4

1Double number of appearing Greater inhabitants
2Terror Mole bursting forth from the walls of the cavern
 (as Troll with burrowing speed equal to man in plate) 
3Banished Jotun thrashing and screaming out of chains and shackles
 (as Hill Giant but half movement)


The following can be applied separately or in tandem to make the caverns inhabitants more fantastic

Sentient Creepy Crawlies:
Each Lesser and Greater Inhabitant has a 1 in 6 chance of being sentient and being able to speak.

Cave-dwelling men dressed in creepy crawly skin:
Each Lesser Inhabitant has a 1 in 6 chance of a man dressed in leather/chitin (Stats as bandit + modifications of inhabitant) One Cavern room has secret entrance to small hamlet at bottom of cave.

Each Lesser Inhabitant has a 1 in 6 chance of being a demi-human race (Stats as lesser inhabitant with Double HD) One Cavern room has secret entrance to small village at bottom of cave.

Goal of Procedures

Procedural generation of mines and caverns beneath. Alot of inspiration was taken from the film The Descent and a mechanical incentive of "we have to go lower to escape" was emphasized. For this reason a treasure listed within the caverns is an exit from the dungeon which has a slightly greater than 12% chance of appearing within a room. With an average of 7 rooms within a cavern (not counting the additional rooms from the tunnel) this means that there is a 64% chance of the average caverns below having at least one exit out of the mines. There is a 9% chance of a mine shaft being collapsable which has a 2 in 6 chance (trap chance) of triggering per party member who travels through it. Assuming a party of 4 PC's and 2 hirelings there's a 91% chance of that party triggering a collapse of stone behind them which means they would have to either go deeper into the mine to search for a way out. Further each room has a 9% chance of being trapped to collapse downwards into the caverns. Assuming the previous party there is a 91% chance that one of them collapses downwards into the caverns and as there is a 64% chance of the caverns having a secondary exit there is only a 34% chance a party would have to travel upwards to exit the mines. The mines contents were weight towards being filled with traps rather than monsters and the caverns below infact are the opposite and have no traps. This was to create two states of the complex with the abandoned mines being desolate and the caverns teeming with life but both would still pose a threat to those who would explore.

The mines and caverns are further filled with treasure which is weighted to be produced as within the walls of the mine instead of on the floor. The intent here is to create reasons to return to the dungeon at a later date with hirelings and pickaxes to excavate it. The different value of gems and ores within a dungeon are randomized so that multiple dungeons could be created differently. Thus a referee could create a mine for iron or gold and have their contents feel different for the players. The creatures within the caverns (without modifications to make them more fantastic) are constructed to have a variety of different inhabitants which would change per cavern complex. This would allow multiple cavern complex to feel different from one another lest each cavern complex encountered would have the same trogodyte denizens. Lastly the stats of the denizens are arranged in such a way that the fantastic elements could be easily consturcted. For instance the cave folk who wear the chitin of trilobytes would be better armored and the demihuman centipede folk would be easily made rather than intricately written out.

Playtesting and Adjustments

I have run three sessions of exploring such abandoned mine sites. The only significant change from the initial draft was to reduce the amount of lethal blackdamp found in dungeons to facilitate movement downwards into the caves below. The players reactions to the valuable nodes of gem and ores as well as the fossils embedded in the walls of the dungeon was to fomulate plans to return and excavate them later instead of recovering them during the first dungeon expedition. The abandoned mines greatly reward cautious exploration and preperation beforehand as the danger of avoidable traps is much greater than that of monsters.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Do you have too many playable classes in your OSR game? The answer may shock you!

This is a response to +Angus Warman and +Michael Bacon in regards to including additional playable classes to an OSR game and an excuse for me to write a click-bait article title.

It is a response to the following:

1. "Why have more than one class at all? Why not just fighters? Answer : The classes feel different and work differently. "


2.  "I would say "why have Wizard Schools other than Orthodox", but I think there's more here. 'Why I like that as a referee' has one obvious answer: It makes my players happy/come to my games, and that makes me happy. I'd say it does add a small amount of extra complexity, but not needlessly. It's needful complexity. Why would you have only one casting class? Would that makes it more enjoyable for you to DM? Some other metric I'm not thinking of?"

Each class serves a distinct mechanical purpose within the OSR gameplay loop and adding, removing, or altering the playable classes may disrupt this. On of the strengths of OSR is the robustness of this loop in games and how it serves to produce the OSR playstyle. It is important to know how each class interacts with the OSR gameplay loop as it informs how other classes may be added.

OSR Gameplay Loop

The resources in the loop refer to both literal resources like light and rations as well as meta-resources like those outline on a character sheet like HP or Attributes. Resource drain is anything which may remove these resources such as traps, monsters, and time.

So aside from race as class, there are 4 default classes in the vast majority of OSR. They are Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, and Thief. For this analysis we will ignore the thematic elements of each class and focus on their mechanical components.*

The Fighter class present consistent and predictable abilities (dealing more damage and taking damage from monsters at a reduced rate than other classes) to wager HP against the most common active HP drains, monsters.
The Magic-User class present a limited number of abilities (spells) with which to skip certain specific resource drains.
The Cleric class present limited resource renewal (healing hp, curing curses and disease, raising the dead) which serves to extend the amount wagering possible and serve against a specific type of HP drain the Undead, as such monsters lack morale and reaction rolls instead always being hostile and fighting to the death.
The Thief class presents consistent and predictable abilities versus the most common passive HP drains (finding or removing traps) which also serve to increase the rate of treasure gained (picking pockets and opening locks). Lastly thieves also have passive avoidance to active HP drain (hiding in shadows and listening at doors).*

*The goal of a thief is to combat traps and locks the same way the goal of a fighter is to combat monsters.

The other three common OSR classes: Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling can also be analyzed mechanically.

The Elf Class functions as a mixture of the Fighter and Magic-User classes, they possess nearly the same combat abilities as a Fighter with the exception of smaller HD and they cast spells as Magic-User could.
The Dwarf Class functions as a mixture of the Fighter and Thief classes, they possess nearly the same combat abilities as a Fighter with the exception of not being able to use bows or two-handed swords and possess the Thief's avoidance of traps.
The Halfling Class functions as a another mixture of the Fighter and Thief classes, instead having a thief's passive avoidance to active HP drain and nearly the same combat abilities as a Fighter with the exception of smaller HD and not being able to use bows or two-handed swords. However, they gain an extra bonus to their AC. Further Halflings have the best saves of any class, which means their chance of surviving random misfortune is greatly increased.

I would posit that the Elf and Dwarf class are redundant and don't add novel ways of interacting with the OSR gameplay loop. The Halfling class can be better described as having a reduced chance to have their resources drained and functions to allow greater wagering similar to a cleric. However, while a cleric returns lost resources a halfling instead has a lessened chance of losing resources wagered.

Thus we are left with a core 5 OSR classes:
Class One: Deals with Monsters
Class Two: Sidesteps wagers of resources for treasure* a limited amount of times
Class Three: Increases number of wagers of resources for treasure possible by resource return
Class Four: Deals with passive resource drains/increase rate of treasure acquisition
Class Five: Increase number of wagers possible by altering chance of it losing wagers of resources for treasure

*This refers to the standard mechanics of dungeoneering or hex-crawling. A spell like Sleep can sidestep combat and in doing so, ignores combat's standard wager of character hp vs enemy hp.

If one was to add further classes to an OSR game, one would have to have them interact with the OSR gameplay loop in another way or they would otherwise be redundant to the gameplay loop and thus to the game.

A quick aside for Racial Classes

Race as Class often subverts the gameplay loop in ways I didn't mention and has implications for the game-world as well as they merge the narrative and mechanics together. Further Racial Classes often function on different mechanics than the core 5 classes, such as not having HP, being able to see in the dark, or being able to breathe flame. Further, racial classes should have a distinct feel that's different from the human classes to emphasize their inhumanness.

Class Redundancy

So, in regards as to "Why would you have only one casting class" I would rephrase it first as "Why would you have only one class which sidesteps wagers of resources for treasure a limited amount of times". I would say that if there were two classes which "cast spells" it would only matter if they both interacted with the OSR gameplay loop in the same way. In fact B/X has two casting classes the Cleric and the Magic-User but they interact with the OSR gameplay loop differently.

In the time I have been writing this +Arnold K. has brought up the examples of two different casters

"(a caster that loses Con when they cast spells will feel different from a wizard who spends gold coins to cast spells)."

I think these are both distinct enough to be offered in play as they interact with the OSR gameplay loop in a novel way. The class which loses a non-renewable resource to sidestep wagers of resources for treasures is different from a class which loses treasure in order to sidestep wagers of resources for treasures is different from the standard class which uses vancian preparation to sidestep further wagers of resources for treasures.

However, if you had two class which both interact with the OSR gameplay loop in the same way or in excess similarity why not consolidate them into a single class? Why have a warrior, knight, and barbarian class instead of having a single fighting-man class. If each just deal consistent damage, have lots of hp, and may wear armor why give them minor differently mechanics to interact with the OSR gameplay loop.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Fame and Blood-feud Procedures + Harrasment

The following serves as procedures to add fame and as incentive for characters to not brazenly kill people in public.

When a character performs a notable deed (or public murder) in a community there is a chance it attracts the attention of the community. Each further roll in that settlement has a +1 chance of attention.

Chance of attention is based on settlement size.
Village 1 in 4
Town 1 in 6
City 1 in 8

If a character's actions has 100% chance of attracting attention, then they get a bonus to other chance of attracting attention equal to half of the dice in other settlements. Thus a character who has a 6 in 6 chance of attracting attention in a town, gets a +3 to gaining attention in a village, town, or city.

Every time a character attracts attention, a reaction roll is made then consult the table below.

Fame Event Result

<3Bandits Harassment begins
3-4Bounty Hunter Harassment begins
5-8Powerful Figure Harassment begins
9-10 Petitioner Harassment begins
11-12Lover Harassment begins

Bloodfeud Result

<3Multiple Assassin Harassment begins
3-6Lone Assassin Harassment begins
7-9Blood Feud Participants Harassment begins
10-12Lawman Harassment begins


Every time a character spends downtime in a settlement or carouses roll the listed dice next to harassment to see what happens. Each further time the harassment dice is rolled, increase the value by one.

Bandits 1d6

4You see a man similar to an Outlaw poster
5Two figures begin to follow you but you lose their trail
6Barman mentions someone was asking about you
7Man follows you all night and when confronted 
(Morale check if yes then mugs you)
8As you go to sleep 1d4 men attempt to rob you, and those around you, (number of men in 6 chance of waking up and catching them)
9You see a man point you out to three others in the distance
10Ambush in the streets from 1d3+1 sides of 1d8 men each 

Blood Feud Participants 1d6

4You see a man similar to the Outlaw poster
5Two figures begin to follow you but you lose their trail
6Barman mentions someone was asking about you
7 Man follows you all night and when confronted 
(Morale check if yes then assaults you)
8You see a man point you out to three others in the distance
9 Ambush in the streets from 1d3+1 sides of 1d6 men each 

Lone Assassin 1d4

4 You see a man staring at you from a distance
5You find a pair of boot-prints from a vantage point of where you rest
6You see the same man staring at you from the distance
7You are informed that someone claimed to be your relative looking for you
8You find yourself alone with that sinister man 
(Roll initiative to escape otherwise fight)
9You see the same man in a public place drawing closer to you
10At night the sinister man strikes! Roll initiative to scream before he strikes you 

Multiple Assassins 1d8

4-5Two figures talk to themselves while staring at you
6-7You learn that those who provide information about you are payed in silver
8Ambush from 1d3 sides of 1d3 assassins each
9Ambush from 1d4 sides of 1d4 assassins each
10 Ambush from 1d3+1 sides of 1d6 assassins each 

Bounty Hunter/Lawman 1d3

3You see a man staring at you from a distance
4You are informed that someone has been looking for you because you have done X and they seek to rectify that
5You see the same man in a public place drawing closer to you
6You learn that those who provide information about you are payed in silver
7 Figure announces their presence and for you to comply 
(Roll initiative to escape otherwise fight)
8You see posts describing you and offering silver for information related to your capture
Figure announces their presence and for you to comply 
(Roll initiative to escape otherwise fight)

Lover 1d4

3-4You see someone gaze at you with a smile on their face
5Someone informs you that someone has asked them about if you were single
6-7You see a familiar face but then lose them in a crowd
8You receive a letter of affection
9 Someone informs you that someone has asked them about you
10You see that familiar face and they go to speak to you but at the last moment turn around and run off blushing
11They confess their feelings for you 

Powerful Figure/Petitioner 1d6

4-5You are informed that someone wishes to speak with you
6-7You receive a letter asking for your aide
8Someone points you out to another figure and they head towards you trying to get your attention
9The figure approaches and asks to speak with you in private
10The figure finds you and loudly demands you listen to them 

Peitioner Request Table 1d10

1-3Bring Letter to Someone
4-5Bring Package to Someone
6Take on Apprentice/Squire
7Escort Traveler
8Rescue Someone
9Marry into the family
10Slay Monster

Powerful Figure Demand Table 1d10

1-4Begone from this place
5-7Enter Employment (Roll 1d8 on Peitioner Request Table)
8Rob Someone
9Steal Object
10Commit Covert Murder

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ruins of the Barrow Builders: Procedural Tiny Dungeon Generator 1

Below is a generator for some small dungeons which can be used to construct barrows and temples of an ancient civilization. These will result in little treasure* and are more of a place to show and foreshadow real dungeons or ancient civilizations. These dungeons are created procedurally and can be rolled for as the party enters them.

*my games are on a 1sp:1xp basis. Adjust the treasure found within to fit your games.

Barrow Generator


1. Roll for number of rooms 1d6+1 Locked Door to Tomb Room

2. Roll for layout of rooms 1d4 and arrange rooms
1Straight line leading away from entrance room
2 T shape with entrance room at base
3Multiple floors of equal size connected by stairs
4All rooms connected in a loop

3. Roll for each room contents (twice) on the table below.

Barrow Room Contents 1d6 + 1d8
1Mummified skeleton set in wicker coffin in center of the room
2Clay urns and sacks of stones
3Eroded masonry on the walls depicting war
4Stone statue of man with shield alongside mummified skeleton in fetal position at his feet
5Rusted spears and swords as well as rotted and splintered shields
6Three mummified skeletons all arranged lying down with rusted axes in hand on a single stone slab in the floor
7Mummified skeleton with a crown on their head on a stone throne as well as two mummified skeletons at their feet kneeling
8Mummified skeleton of a child in a smaller wicker coffin

1-2Unrusted sword in scabbard
3-41d6 amber ingots
each worth 12 silver
5-6Armband crafted from iron and silver 
worth 10+1d20 silver
7Bag of cracked and blackened silver coins 
 worth 3d20 silver
8Ancient armor crafted from iron plates and segments
Grants a 1d6-1d4 for armor bonus worth 225 silver

1-41d4 Skeletons: Either animating or bursting from the crack in walls
5-71d2 Wights: Black Smoke wrapping itself around a skeleton
Draugr: Dead armored man arising from a stone sarcophagus 
Stats as 6 HD Ghoul Wearing Chain Armor and +1 Iron Sword

1-6Tile in the floor sinks and stone falls from above (1d8+1)
7-8False floor collapses into spiked pit 15' below

Tomb Room

Connects to room furthest from the entrance via locked door and contains all possible results from the Treasure Table worn by skeleton. There is a 1 in 6 chance that the sword is magical.

Wandering Monsters in Barrow

1d3 Skeletons

Ruined Temple Generator


1. Roll for number of rooms 1d4+2(Temple) and 1d4(Undercroft)

2. Arrange Rooms
Both floors are straight lines, the undercroft is beneath room 3 of the temple and reached by descending stairs.

3. Roll for each room contents (twice) on the table below.

Temple Room Contents: 1d6+1d8
1Large stone statue of diety in center of the room
2Stone pillars holding up cracked stone roof
3Stone tunnel extending forward
4Collapsed stone pillar in the center of the room, and a sagging roof of masonry above
5Three stone pews shoved towards one side of the room and a single stone pulpit
6Broken stone statue now cracked stones all throughout the room
7Wooden desk and the remains of dozens of now rotted scrolls
8Clay pots each rising up to your waist, inside are mummified skeletons

6Treasure (1 in 12 chance of cursing first person to touch it)*
1-4Wooden Chest of 1d20+6 silver coins (1 in 4 chance of being locked)
5-6Silver embedded in a large stone slab glorifying diety
worth 50 silver but cumbersome
7Skeleton clad in 2d4 silver bangles
each worth 10 silver
8Stone statue holding silver spear
worth 40 silver

*Consult Curse Trap subtable below

Undercroft Room Contents: 1d6+1d4

1-3Monster + Roll on Treasure subtable below
1-22d4 Skeletons encumbered by treasure
31d4 Wights looming above treasure
4Draugur materializes if treasure is touched

1-21d6 Iron weapons etched with old runes 
32d6 pieces of silver jewelry
worth 20+1d10 silver each
4Silver statue of deity (1 in 6 chance of being cursed as by Curse Trap below)
worth 175 silver

6Curse Trap
1If you were to roll vs poison, instead roll twice vs poison and take worse roll
2-2 to Reaction Rolls and prioritized by enemies in combat
3Must save vs stealing if opportunity of theft is present
4After rolling for the number of encountered monsters, multiply value by 1.5x

Wandering Monsters in Ruined Temple 

1d3 Wights

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

WILDERNESS EXPLORATION PROCEDURES: Searching Hexes, Dire Terrain, and Hunting Monsters For Profit

Below are procedures which have been play tested over three months with three different groups of players (sum of 14 total) over the course of 17 sessions of play. These have resulted in a much more memorable and dynamic game-play which is not bogged down by excess dice rolling. I think most of it is rather intuitive. This post assumes the reader is familiar with my previous wilderness travel post.


There are two types of Hex Contents Obvious and Occult. Obvious contents are difficult to miss and while Occult contents are instead difficult to find. Civilization clusters in proximity and if entering a hex through a Road all obvious features are found without needing to check if they were missed. If a hex is entered through the wilderness then there is chance of missing obvious contents, for occult content the chance of encountering it is given instead. These chances are modified by weather and the terrain of a hex. These are essentially passive searches of a hex.


Chance of being missed, Terrain and Weather Penalties to travel increase this chance by 1
City 1 in 20
Town 1 in 20
Village 1 in 12
Road 1 in 12
Any else easily visible from a distance 1 in 10


Terrain and Weather Penalties to travel increase the dice size*
Hidden Filling 1 in 6
Monster Lair 1 in 6
Dungeon 1 in 6 (is not modified by weather or terrain)


Examples of chances:

Wandering through the mountains in a thunderstorm would have a base chance of not finding it on a roll of 1 on a 12. The mountains would give a +4 bonus and the Thunderstorm would give a +2 bonus, so instead there is a 7 out of 12 chance of those wandering not finding the village. Finding a monster lair under a blizzard would increase the size of the dice by 3 turning the 1 in 6 to a 1 in 12. Searching for a hidden filling in a thunderstorm in the mountains would increase the size of the dice by 5 turning the 1 in 6 to a 1 in 20.

Active Searching of a Hex

In my games there are existing rules for hunting game( which is little more than actively searching through a hex) which can be modified for searching the hex further. The base chance of hunting/foraging/finding herbs for a character is equal to half their wisdom score in 20. Each such attempt takes 2 hours modified by weather and terrsin and incurs another roll on the wilderness anecdote table. These rules can be modified for searching for Occult Hex Contents and Hunting Monsters.

A hex which is searched through for an undefined content (ie. We search the woods!) has the same chances of finding something as simply wandering through a hex, takes up 2 hours modified by weather and terrain, and incurs a roll on the Wilderness Anecdote Table.

However, if characters correctly know the content of a hex, the chance of finding it is given below.

Hidden Filling: One-third of a character's wisdom in 20.
Monster: Half of a character's wisdom in 20*
Monster Lair: Half of a character's wisdom in 20^
Dungeon: Automatically found. (This is mainly to increase

*During a hunt there is a 1 in 6 chance that the monster being hunted is actually in a nearby hex and the hunt leads over there.
^Consult table below, for non-solitary monsters the additional wilderness encounter roll is for a patrol of that monster type

Monster Lair Table

1Monster present and ambushes hunters
2Monster present
3-5Monster returns in 1d6 hours (roll surprise again once it returns)
6Monster present and hunters ambush it meaningful play)


So in a dungeon, a wandering monster check is resolved rather elegantly in regards to location. However, in most wilderness expeditions there is a great deal of locational abstraction in regards to how far the players travel. In order to not adjucate every monster from attacking them in their sleep, the following procedures generate a more varied and randomized placement of wilderness monster encounters.

Wilderness Monster Encounter Location Table

1As you sleep in a camp
2As you rest in a camp
3As you rest for a moment on the trail
4While you're moving through the wilderness
5While you're moving through harsh terrain
6While you're moving through compromising terrain

This roll should be done in conjunction with the surprise, reaction, and distance roll. Each terrain gives a different effect and this should make the wilderness more memorable if not more horrible.

Distance of Harsh or Compromising Terrain:

Harsh: Safe terrain 1d6*10 feet away
Compromising: Safe terrain 2d6*10 feet away

Harsh Terrain Effects Table

PlainsTall foliage hides holes in the ground, 1 in 6 chance of falling prone if you move
Hills Loose dust is kicked up by the wind here, characters not using a hand to cover their faces must roll under their constitution or start hacking for 1d4 rounds with a -2 to hit and armor
ForestDense foliage 1 in 10 chance of taking an additional 1d4 damage from a damaging attack
Waters (Fresh)Your back is to waters 1d4*10 feet below you with nowhere to turn
Waters (Sea)As waves crash against the boat rocking it mercilessly 1 in 10 chance of save vs falling into the sea every time you move
SwampsMire up to your knees, Movement is at two thirds speed and your armor is at -2
Mountains Perniciously near a precipice with a 1d6+3*10' deep drop

Compromising Terrain Effects Table

The horizon stretches far and wide here, if fleeing a monster. The monster rolls morale twice and takes the higher in continuing to pursue.
Crumbling stones menace below your feet, must roll under movement or slide 2d4*10' away from your companions
Forest Vicious Foliage 1 in 6 chance of taking an additional 1d6 damage from attack
Waters (Fresh)Your back is to waters and large stones 2d4*10 feet below you with nowhere to turn
Waters (Sea)Massive waves crash against the boat rocking it mercilessly 1 in 6 chance of save vs falling into the sea every time you move
SwampsMire up to your chest, Movement is at one third speed and your armor is at -4
MountainsUpon a minuscule ledge if you take damage you must roll under third dexterity or fall down 2d8*10 feet

BONUS TABLE: Additional weather effects on Encountering Monsters in the Wilderness

DroughtEveryone gains the Fatigue Encumbrance
Flash-Fire As Above and roll again for flash fire to occur
StormsEveryone gains the Damp Encumbrance and Missile fire occurs at -2
Flash FloodsAs above and roll for lightning strike every minute of combat
HailEveryone gains the Cold Encumbrance and Missile fire occurs at -2
BlizzardAs above and visibility limited to 30'


In real life, animals are hunted for their materials. Certain creatures are eaten while others are turned into usable materials. Below are simple abstractions for the usage of monsters once they are hunted.

Usable Corpses:

If a monster is brought down to 0 hp, then there is a 1 in 6 it took excess trauma and it's corpse is unusuable. Any attacks which deal over 10 points of damage or poisons, fires, magics, and similar awful effects increase the chance of a corpses being unusable by 1 in 6.

Eating Monsters:

Certain monsters with a magical or truly awful nature cannot be turned into consumable rations. If the monster has poison or inflicts disease, then it cannot be turned into field rations. Otherwise a monster slain can be turned into a number of field rations equal to it's HD. Thus a Giant Elk which has 4 HD can be turned into 4 field rations. Field rations last for only two days.

If one has access to salt, fire, and tools one can turn a monster corpse into regular rations. This process takes a number of hours equal to the HD of the monster and grants a number of rations equal to its HD squared. Thus the Giant Elk could be turned into 16 rations. Monsters that have poison have a 1 in 6 chance of each ration being safe to eat.

Valuable Parts:

A quick measure of how much one can fetch for the valueable parts of a monster can be determined by the table below. Any monster can be rolled on the Corpse Value Table to determine how much it's parts can be sold for.

Corpse Value Table 1d6

1-3Worth HD^2 * 3 Silver
4-5Worth HD^2 * 6 Silver
6Worth HD^2 * 9 Silver

Each time a is monster encountered the corpse value should be rolled for only once on the table, unless one such monster is encountered with more HP than 5 * the number of HD it possesses. This would represent an especially magnificent specimen of higher value, resulting in an increase of the multiplied silver value by 3. In the case of the Giant Elk previously described above for eating rations, assuming it was rolled to have a corpse value of (4)^2 * 6 = 96 silver, one having more than 20 HP would have a magnificent crown of horns which would be worth 144 silver.

Venoms Sacs/Special Organs:

Monsters which deal poison can have their venom sacs or other special organs harvested in order to make doses of that poison. Such an organ harvested contains a number of doses of poison equal to the HD of the monster. The value of selling such poison can be reflected as costing half of the corpse value.