Friday, June 1, 2012

On Stocking a Dungeon

As I have mentioned in the past, stocking a dungeon is my least favorite part of the whole process of making an adventure. Normally, I will make a few notes and a wandering monster table and I am good to go; however, I am in process of trying to write up my re-imagined version of the Slave Pits of the Undercity. Therefore, I have to do more than my sparse notes in order to make the adventure useful for someone else to use.

Admittedly, I have struggled with this and have been experimenting with a couple of different formats. Part of the rash of Gamer ADD that has afflicted me of late is due to my unhappiness with my write-ups about the Slave Pits.

Fortunately, my most recent foray into Gamer ADD has allowed me to have a fresh look at how to write up a module. In re-skinning The Caverns of Thracia, I have had the opportunity to do some editing of Paul Jaquays' write-ups in order to make them easier for me to use. What follows is my notes on the first section of my re-skinned version of Jaquay's classic:

OVERVIEW: ROOMS 1-5 are covered in bat guano. When running or while in combat a save must be made every round to avoid falling down. The ceilings are vaulted and the walls are covered with several layers of graffiti. Originally, there were scenes dedicated to Set. These were defaced and replaced by images of Atenism. These, in turn, have been partially defaced by beastmen.

1) ENTRY HALL. There are some bats on the ceiling. If disturbed (a Light spell, for example), they will panic and a wandering monster check will be triggered. They are otherwise harmless. 

2) TEMPLE. The ceiling is covered by a swarm of bats. If disturbed (a Light spell, for example), they will panic. Visibility will be reduced to 5’ and a wandering monster check will be triggered. Guano is extra thick. Saves are at -2 to fall. 

3) ALCOVE. Same as Room 2. In addition, there is a broken statue of an Atenist priest. There trails in the guano that lead to both Rooms 4&5. 

4) CHAPEL. The door to this room is jammed shut (-1 on opening). Within the rubble of a winged statue are 8 Giant Centipedes (small, non-lethal): AC9; HD 1d2; HP 2,2,2,2,1,1,1,1; ATT 1 Bite (Poison, save at +4 or be at -4 on all rolls for 2d4 days). The guano here is mostly dried. Saves are at +4 to fall down. Several dead centipedes litter the floor. Treasure: 60gp, 2000sp, and a gold & silver Atenist holy symbol worth 65gp. 

5) CHAPEL. The door to this room is ajar. There is a group of 14 Kobolds AC6; HD 1d4; HP [4],[3],[3],[3],[3],[3],3,3,2,2,2,2,2,1; ATT 1d6. They are recovering from a battle with the centipedes in Room 4. Numbers in brackets indicate poisoned kobolds — they are at -4 on all rolls. There is rubble from several statues that have been broken beyond recognition. If the rubble is removed, they will reveal a discoloration in the wall where the secret door is. Treasure: Each kobold carries 3gp. The leader (4hp) has a gem worth 25gp.
Comments? Suggestions?


  1. That's probably as close to a dungeon shorthand as I would want to get, giving me the data I need, while still having plenty of room to embellish.

  2. FrDave, your post got me thinking. I put my take over at my blog.

  3. Great post. In the same vein as Jim. I've posted my reply over at my blog.

    On Set Design