Sunday, September 13, 2020

Creating the Wilderness from the Underworld: An expansion of a dungeon into a hexcrawl.

So as previously described here, the random distribution of a dungeon room fills is:

1-12: Empty (Room which does not have one of the following mechanical fills but still has aesthetics such as numerous corpses or a mosaic)
13: Dynamic (Changes the players or dungeon. Like a magic fountain which increases charisma, trapped NPC, or Orb which mutates the any who touches it into frogs)
14: Trap* (Deals damage, removes passages, standard )
15: Obstacle (Challenge to be overcome by player guile such as a room filled by 10' of water or a room of quicksand)
16-20: Monster 

With each room having a 1 in 5 chance of having treasure the sum of which is calculated as: Random Dungeon Floor Treasure = Number of Rooms * Level of the dungeon * 1/10th of the XP needed for a fighting man to reach level 2. Random treasure is further distributed in the following manner:

1-4: Open and visible
5: Passively hidden and will be found by close inspection (coins hidden beneath muddy water)
6: Actively hidden and found by interaction (finding the secret lever to open an alcove)
7: Single Damage (Essentially trapped*, such as golden statue covered in contact poison)
8: Repeated Damage ()

Exceptional treasure is further placed in an amount equal to half the total room treasure serving as "hoards" where it is found open and visible. Thus if a floor has 10K total treasure, there would be an additional 5K open and visible treasure as a hoard. I like to add one such room per 10 rooms of a floor. 

*Traps are to be foreshadowed so that players can use their skills of deduction to outsmart them.

The same distribution can be used to expand a dungeon into a wilderness which would give you 21 hex fills. I tend to use the wilderness as equal to about level 3 of a dungeon for treasure totals and monster statistics. If you use a hex density of 33% this would result in an additional 42 hexes. If we add another empty hex we would get 64 hexes which can be made into an 8 by 8 hex-crawl. Numerous such hexcrawls could be tessellated into a hexcrawl as campaigns continue. Further the creation of these 20 hexes from a dungeon results increased familiarity with the thematic elements of the dungeon and allow them to be foreshadowed and craft a more consistent milieu.

The following is an example of such an expansion using the Ytori Dungeon I had uploaded a while back.

Lands of the Meztil




The Meztil have red bronze skin, black hair, high cheek bones, and round faces. They cloak themselves in bright red wool garb bearing repeated blue geometric design. The men wear a cap with flaps that cover their ears while their women wear a single braid. Those rich wear gold upon their face. They worship a goddess of the moon who protects them and grants them their name sake. Their scribes and priests use the same script as the ancient Ytori. They tell of the fall of the ancient Ytori by worship of terrible chitinous and mandibled things beneath the darkness of the wandering green star. They tattoo their chests with flowers and their women wear large hooped earrings. Their homes are made of wood with roofs of thatched reeds. Their warriors wield spears, maces, and shield wearing armor made from woven reeds. The Meztil barter in golden nuggets rather than silver. The Meztil follow the Ytorian taboo of violence at night.

Hex 01.03
Amid the stone ruins here is a triptych mosaic which depicts a pack of hounds chasing men, the hounds biting off their heads, and then the hounds standing upright wearing the faces of men. 

Hex 01.06 
An engorged plant nearly 10' tall and easily over 20' across hangs with heavy golden translucent water filled fruits. Thousands of small blue flowers cover the top of the plant. Each of fruits is the size of a man's head and filled with sweet juice which bubbles when the fruit is opened to air. Those who drink the juice are filled with a warmth as if they were drunk.

Hex 02.01
The ruins of dozens of stone buildings circle a stone step pyramid. The northern face of the pyramid has a series of steps leading to the zenith where a stone chamber with a high five sided roof stands. Each face of the roof has been set with stones of a different color. There is a skeleton missing a skull at the entrance to the chamber. Inside the chamber are three stone statues clad in jade jewelry. At the center of the chamber is a low stone altar upon which a stone bowl stained with blood stands. The bowl is displaced towards the three statues such that one could bend over at the waist and their heads would fit in the bowl. Upon approach the three statues psychically ask "Do you wish to know fate fortold?" affirmations will result in them instructing one to approach and to place their heads in the bowl. Upon someone placing their heads in the bowl two of the statues will grab that persons arms while another will crush the skull in their hands. The three statues will then remove the brains and knead them into a ball. The statues will stand back as the brain matter will become translucent. The statues will then instruct one to peer inwards and see the future. 

Hex 02.04 Chimor Chiefdom of Meztil 800 men 
Walls of stacked stone surround the homes of the farmers of the Chimor. Each of the Chimor have tattoed a light blue band across their face forming a peak which stretches from beneath their ears to the bridge of their nose. Chief Kuraka, who dwells here, rules over the Meztil in Huayna, Capac, and Chimor, an obsidian sword sheathed upon his belt. Carrying his banner war bands slay those who would threaten the Meztil. A group of priests chafe beneath the taboo of revising the Ytorian Palace and seek to reclaim it and purge those within. Those who align themselves with Kuraka have access to their council of sages who have a 3 in 6 chance of answering questions as a tome of lore.

Hex 02.07
A stone step pyramid rises above the tree line, upon it's southern side rises a series of stone steps. Atop the pyramid is a square stone tower with large windows. The tower is of a single 50' story. The tower is barren aside from a stone altar upon which a golden statue, as large as child, of a kneeling man with large bulbous head (1100s). The statue is cracked at the nose and can be seen as hollow. The golden statue was once used to confine a wind inside and the Meztil will view it as cursed and demand it relinquished so they can restore it to it's proper resting place.

Hex 03.03
The stone ruins of two dozen buildings flank a three storied square stone tower. The bottom floor of the tower contains a trio of skeletons clad in now ruined armor with shattered skulls. The 2nd story contains a two murals. The eastern mural depicts a pair of men fighting one another with spears. The western mural depicts one man standing atop the other, the victor missing an eye. The top floor of the tower contains a stone slab upon which a mummified corpse clad in a golden mask (620s) rests. Upon removal of the mask a sapphire (280s) is found in the left eye socket of the mummy. 

Hex 03.06
A large stone obelisk stands easily over 20' tall, it's base covered by moss and vines. Those who remove the vegetation will find Ytori runes detailing the victory of the brotherhood of moon over the celestial court in the fourteenth war of flowers before the coming of the emerald eclipse.

Hex 04.01
Within the cave where the Achakahtil makes it's lair, is a small hoard of collected treasures of the following: a man sized pile of golden nuggets (1150s), six jade figures of warriors (75s each), and a thin golden diadem (200s). 

Achakahtil [8HD, armor as chain, 4 grasping hands which attempt to rip men apart 1d8 each, will attempt to steal weapons and wield them against others in place of 2 grasping hands, spells cast on Achakahtil reverse themselves, morale 11]

Descirption: A man, with a head nearly thrice the size of yours, on all fours looks at you from behind a pair of bushes. The man continues onwards and you notice that his torso does not end but instead continues as he pulls himself onwards on dozens of arms, his body appearing to to be easily 50' long. The man's eyes begin to bleed blood as he opens his mouth and four arms, each of the double jointed, extend seeking to grab and grasp. The being unleashes a cackling scream, announcing itself as the Achakahtil demanding sacrifices of wealth and blood.

Hex 04.03 Huayna Village of Meztil 200 men 
Earthen ramparts surround the houses of Huayan villages under the rule of a their elder. The villagers have ceased hunting the surrounding lands as a terrible beast lurks amid the nearby trees stealing men away to feast on their flesh. The trees surrounding the villages are homes to hundreds of hummingbirds, Meztil symbols of fortune, which are enticed to dwell in the hundreds of flowers blossoming at the center of the village. 

Hex 04.08
Within a small stone shrine overgrown by vegetation, stands a carved stone statue of a man whose head is the shining sun. The eyes of the statue are large emeralds (450s each).

Hex 05.02
Amid the fog covering the trees here, ghostly figures of warriors clash as shrill whistles pierce the air. Drums repeat through the air as ghostly figures clad in feathered curiass slay one another.

Hex 05.03
Thousands of grey moths cover the trees casting clouds of grey dust from their quivering bodies, turning the forest greyscale.

Hex 05.06 Capac Village of Meztil 150 men 
A wooden palisade surrounds the Capac village. Like the Huayan they are ruled by a single elder. Every summer the Capac host the Meztil flower wars and the recent victories by the Chimor has earned Chief Kurak antipathy from the Capac farmers. 

Hex 06.03
A massive crater easily over 500' wide gapes the earth here. From the cavity caused by the fallen star faint green light can be seen. The vegetation within 100' of the crater is stilted and dying. Those who begin approach the center of the crater will begin to feel faint scratches all over their body and taste iron in their mouth. Those within 100' of the center of the crater must save vs falling unconscious for 1d6 hours. Those who stand at the center of the crater and look into the center of the crater will see a small fist sized emerald which seemingly leeches green light from nearby. They must then save vs collapsing to the ground and transforming into an insect-like-thing. Those who pass the save will be able to regrow any severed limbs in a chimeric insectile form, including their eyes.

Hex 06.06
Buried within the swamps here are thirty six urns filled with skeletons. Their spirits clamour for the death of those living and bind mud into silhouettes of men. These spirits bound in mud haunt those who would pass the swamps here.

Hex 07.01

Hex 07.02
Three ruins of stone buildings stand above numerous teraces. Within the largest of the buildings is a stone statue of a heron feasting on the flesh of man.

Hex 07.05
Emerging from beneath the earth is an eight sided yellow crystal nearly 15' tall and 10' across contains a feathered pterodon frozen in a screech. 

Hex 07.07
A two storied square stone tower stands looking over a deep water-filled sinkhole. The tower is filled with signs of violence with several skeletons bearing broken bones and shattered skulls. The sinkhole is easily over 50' across and over 60' deep with 30' of water. Dozens of skeletons can be seen at the bottom of the crystalline waters. Those who dive into the waters will find that each of the skeletons has a shattered skull. Amid the skeletons are the following treasures: a stone cylinder bearing numerous glyphs of skulls which contains a human skin which bears instructions on how to prepare the sorcery Howl of Ukupacha (Cause Terror). Four bells craved from obsidian which may be evoked to cast the sorcery Ynti's Grace (Avoid Death). Three shrunken heads tied together by their hair which may each be evoked to cast the sorcery Pachakama's Retort (Paralysis).

Hex 08.03
A square stone tower lies fallen and overgrown by foliage. A trapdoor at it's base leads into a large circular chamber upon whose walls are depictions of moths emerging from the broken skulls of men. A great stone basin covered in ash stands in the center of the chamber.

Hex 08.05
Overgrown by foliage is a stone step pyramid rising 30' above the ground, the eastern face has a stair well rising to a stone chamber at the zenith fo the construct. Inside the chamber are three golden panels on the northern, western, and southern walls (400s each). The northern panel depicts a comet flying across the sky as three horned beings look upwards. The western panel depicts a ship. The southern panel depicts a man clad in a mask holding aloft a heart atop of a pyramid. In the center of the chamber is a stone altar upon which is a broken bow and 11 arrows. The shaft and feathers of each arrow is made of gold. Each arrow head is made of some dark carved stone resembling a stinging insect which seems to release a soft humming sound. Those with a charisma greater than 12 will have dreams of themselves being shot by the arrows by men clad in jade jewelery wearing stone masked of a fanged figure. Those struck by the arrows must save or die as the arrow burrows into their skin and wraps around their heart. Those who save successfully gain an additional HD as well as one random psychic ability. 

This took me about a 10 hours to make in total. 



An overview of the procedures use to craft the Wilderness above


1-12: Empty 
13: Dynamic
14: Trap
15: Obstacle 
16-20: Monster Lair

I placed 4 treasure in 4 hexes and then choose another 2 hexes to add overt treasure to.

Empty: The first 12 hexes were mainly ideas drawn from unused content from the dungeon itself and expansions of the aesthetic fills of the dungeon. 

Hex 1
Amid the stone ruins here is a triptych mosaic which depicts a pack of hounds chasing men, the hounds biting off their heads, and then the hounds standing upright wearing the faces of men. 

Hex 2
A square stone tower lies fallen and overgrown by folliage. A trapdoor at it's base leads into a large circular chamber upon whose walls are depictions of moths emerging from the broken skulls of men. A great stone basin covered in ash stands in the center of the chamber.

Hex 3
Three ruins of stone buildings stand above numerous teraces. Within the largest of the buildings is a stone statue of a heron feasting on the flesh of man.

Hex 4
The stone ruins of two dozen buildings flank a three storied square stone tower. The bottom floor of the tower contains a trio of skeletons clad in now ruined armor with shattered skulls. The 2nd story contains a two murals. The eastern mural depicts a pair of men fighting one another with spears. The western mural depicts one man standing atop the other, the victor missing an eye. The top floor of the tower contains a stone slab upon which a mummified corpse clad in a golden mask (620s) rests. Upon removal of the mask a sapphire (280s) is found in the left eye socket of the mummy. 

Hex 5
Overgrown by folliage is a stone step pyramid rising 30' above the ground, the eastern face has a stair well rising to a stone chamber at the zenith fo the construct. Inside the chamber are three golden panels on the northern, western, and southern walls (400s each). The northern panel depicts a comet flying across the sky as three horned beings look upwards. The western panel depicts a ship. The southern panel depicts a man clad in a mask holding aloft a heart atop of a pyramid. In the center of the chamber is a stone altar upon which is a broken bow and 11 arrows. The shaft and feathers of each arrow is made of gold. Each arrow head is made of some dark carved stone resembling a stinging insect which seems to release a soft humming sound. Those with a charisma greater than 12 will have dreams of themselves being shot by the arrows by men clad in jade jewelery wearing stone masked of a fanged figure. Those struck by the arrows must save or die as the arrow burrows into their skin and wraps around their heart. Those who save successfully gain an additional HD as well as one random psychic ability. 

Hex 6
A large stone obelisk stands easily over 20' tall, it's base covered by moss and vines. Those who remove the vegetation will find Ytori runes detailing the victory of the brotherhood of moon over the celestial court in the fourteenth war of flowers before the comming of the emerald dusk.

Hex 7
A stone step pyramid rises above the tree line, upon it's southern side rises a series of stone steps. Atop the pyramid is a square stone tower with large windows. The tower is of a single 50' story. The tower is barren aside from a sonte altar upon which a golden statue, as large as child, of a kneeling man with large bulbous head (1100s). The statue is cracked at the nose and can be seen as hollow. The golden statue was once used to confine a wind inside and the Ytori will view it as cursed and demand it relinquished so they can restore it to it's proper resting place.

Hex 8
Thousands of grey moths cover the trees casting clouds of grey dust from their quivering bodies, turning the forest greyscale.

Hex 9
Emerging from beneath the earth is an eight sided yellow crystal nearly 15' tall and 10' across contains a feathered pterodon frozen in a screech. 

Hex 10
Within a small stone shrine overgrown by vegetation, stands a carved stone statue of a man whose head is the shining sun. The eyes of the statue are large emeralds (450s each).

Hex 11
Amid the fog covering the trees here, ghostly figures of warriors clash as shrill whistles pierce the air. Drums repeat through the air as ghostly figures clad in feathered curiass' slay one another.

Hex 12 
An engorged plant nearly 10' tall and easily over 20' across hangs with heavy golden translucent water filled fruits. Thousands of smalll blue flowers cover the top of the plant. Each of fruits is the size of a man's head and filled with sweet juice which bubbles when the fruit is opened to air. Those who drink the juice are filled with a warmth as if they were drunk.

Dynamic: This was originally going to be a room in the dungeon but I didn't have a good place to put it so I just took it outside.

Hex 13
The ruins of dozens of stone buildings circle a stone step pyramid. The northern face of the pyramid has a series of steps leading to the zenith where a stone chamber with a high five sided roof stands. Each face of the roof has been set with stones of a different color. There is a skeleton missing a skull at the entrance to the chamber. Inside the chamber are three stone statues clad in jade jewelry. At the center of the chamber is a low stone altar upon which a stone bowl stained with blood stands. The bowl is displaced towards the three statues such that one could bend over at the waist and their heads would fit in the bowl. Upon approach the three statues psychically ask "Do you wish to know fate fortold?" affirmations will result in them instructing one to approach and to place their heads in the bowl. Upon someone placing their heads in the bowl two of the statues will grab that persons arms while another will crush the skull in their hands. The three statues will then remove the brains and knead them into a ball. The statues will stand back as the brain matter will become translucent. The statues will then instruct one to peer inwards and see the future.  

Trap: I wanted to use a shard of the star mentioned within the dungeon and I figured a S.T.A.L.K.E.R anomaly was a good way to use it in a hex-crawl.

Hex 14
A massive crater easily over 500' wide gapes the earth here. From the cavity caused by the fallen star faint green light can be seen. The vegetation within 100' of the crater is stilted and dying. Those who begin approach the center of the crater will begin to feel faint scratches all over their body and taste iron in their mouth. Those within 100' of the center of the crater must save vs falling unconscious for 1d6 hours. Those who stand at the center of the crater and look into the center of the crater will see a small fist sized emerald which seemingly leeches green light from nearby. They must then save vs collapsing to the ground and transforming into an insect-like-thing. Those who pass the save will be able to regrow any severed limbs in a chimeric insectile form, including their eyes. 

Obstacle: When I rolled this hex as having both treasure and an obstcalce, I decided the challenge for the players would be how to get the treasure from the cenote.

Hex 15
A two storied square stone tower stands looking over a deep waterfilled sinkhole. The tower is filled with signs of violence with several skeletons bearing broken bones and shattered skulls. The sinkhole is easily over 50' across and over 60' deep with 30' of water. Dozens of skeletons can be seen at the bottom of the crystaline waters. Those who dive into the waters will find that each of the skeletons has a shattered skull. Amid the skeletons are 3 magic items.

Monster Lairs: So I use a distribution of 1-4 Men, 5 Beasts, and 6 Monster to populate my monster lairs in order to achieve a more swords and sorcery fill. I got 2 monsters and three lairs of men. One of the monsters had treasure rolled with it so I decided to make it a single dangerous entity like a dragon. The other was simply using a monster inside the dungeon as a wilderness monster. I used a generator to make the villages and the chiefdom and once I get playtesting feedback from them I will upload them. 

Hex 16
Buried within the swamps here are thirty six urns filled with skeletons. Their spirits clamour for the death of those living and bind mud into silhouettes of men. These spirits bound in mud haunt those who would pass the swamps here.

Hex 17
Within the cave where the Achakahtil makes it's lair, is a small hoard of collected treasures of the following: a man sized pile of golden nuggets (1150s), six jade figures of warriors (75s each), and a thin golden diadem (200s). 

Achakahtil [8HD, armor as chain, 4 grasping hands which attempt to rip men apart 1d8 each, will attempt to steal weapons and wield them against others inplace of 2 grasping hands, spells cast on Achakahtil reverse themselves, morale 11]

A man, with a head nearly thrice the size of yours, on all fours looks at you from behind a pair of bushes. The man continues onwards and you notice that his torso does not end but instead continues as he pulls himself onwards on dozens of arms, his body appearing to to be easily 50' long. The man's eyes begin to bleed blood as he opens his mouth and four arms, each of the double jointed, extend seeking to grab and grasp. The being unleashes a cackling scream, announcing itself as the Achakahtil demanding sacrifices of wealth and blood.

Hex 18 Huayna Village of Meztil 200 men Forest
Earthen ramparts surround the houses of Huayan villages under the rule of a their elder. The villagers have ceased hunting the surrounding lands as a terrible beast lurks amid the nearby trees stealing men away to feast on their flesh. The trees surrounding the villages are homes to hundreds of hummingbirds, Meztil symbols of fortune, which are enticed to dwell in the hundreds of flowers blossoming at the center of the village. 

Hex 19 Capac Village of Meztil 150 men Forest
A wooden pallisade surrounds the Capac village. Like the Huayan they are ruled by a single elder. Every summer the Capac host the Meztil flower wars and the recent victories by the Chimor has earned Chief Kurak antipathy from the Capac farmers. 

Hex 20 Chimor Chiefdom of Meztil 800 men Hills
Walls of stacked stone surround the homes of the farmers of the Chimor. Each of the Chimor have tattoed a light blue band across their face forming a peak which stretches from beneath their ears to the bridge of their nose. Chief Kuraka, who dwells here, rules over the Meztil in Huayna, Capac, and Chimor, an obsidian sword sheathed upon his belt. Carrying his banner warbands slay those who would threaten the Meztil. A group of priests chafe beneath the taboo of revising the Ytorian Palace and seek to reclaim it and purge those within. Those who align themselves with Kuraka have access to their council of sages who have a 3 in 6 chance of answering questions as a tome of lore.






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