Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Updated Cross Section and Map

[Click to Enlarge]

So I've cleared up my cross sections a bit, given the sections slightly more interconnectedness, and added two more levels: the Lowers Caverns and the Tubes (originally called "the pipeline")

The Lower Caverns: Here will be the first true Cthulhuiod entity in the dungeon. I'm not sure what it will be yet, but I'll sure be scrounging over Supplement 5: Carcosa when I get there. 

The Tubes: The tubes are a huge mess of robotic tunnels, built just below the Lower Caverns,  stretching out and encircling the entire planet. Robots, ray gun, a gate or some other form of transportation to a space station of some kind and the prehistoric and previously unheard of planet, "Earth," populated by cave men in the middle of an ice age.

[Click to Enlarge]

Thanks to Finarvyn/Marv and others on the ODD boards, I was about to get my first level map cleaned up a bit to the point where it's now readable by my youthful eyes. 

If everything goes well today, I should have more map scans up tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vats of Mazerin Map

[Click on the map to zoom in.]

It's a bit hard to read in places, but here the map of the first level of my megadungon, The Vats of Mazarin Level 1, that goes with the dungeon key I posted yesterday.

The scan didn't turn out as would have hopped, but it's readable for the most part. In coming weeks, hopefully these scans will continue to become clearer as some goes on.

- Doors with an "S" inside them are stuck.
- The Door with an X crossing it out is broken in.
- The tiny room to the left of 1A is room 17.
- Words in the upper right hand corner read "New Construction"

If anything else seems confusion, post in the comments and I'd be more than happy to clarify.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vats of Mazarin - Level 1 Key

I'll post a map once I have access to a scanner. Rehearsals and house work have prevented me from getting to the library lately. Actually, I might be able to scan right before rehearsal. We'll see.

With reguards to keying rooms, I've decided to go with a very minimalist format of 1 line of text per room. As you will see, I sometimes failed in that respect, but not often where unnecessary. 72 room, a wandering monster chart, and room at the bottom for notes on two pages isn't too wordy in my book.

For now, I've mostly stuck to B/X monsters. Mole Men are reskined kobolds, my white apes have four arms and likewise 4 attacks per round, and I've been reworking the AD&D water weird for my own purposes (e.i. making it extremely deadly).

Anyway, here's the Link for the Key. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dungeon Cross Section

When one is trekking through the adventure of dungeon creation, one often looses sight of the goal. Playability and concept.

This weekend, I made just such as mistake by saying, "wouldn't it be cool to add in a dwarven fortress?" Yes, yes, it would. But does it really work when part of my original concept was to get rid of the standard D&D humanoid monsters? No, not really. Not only that, half of the fortress I had created was pure catacombs. And a hell of a lot of them. Cell after cell of dead, skeletal dwarves. When keying rooms, the total came up to 387 on a single sheet of paper. I hope you can appreciate my problem.

Well, last night, I went back to the drawing board. Literally. I got out my white board and started drawing cross sections. I decided to keep my wizard's lair, the Vats of Mazarin, for the first two levels (which I have also almost completely redone).

Before I get too far into explaining it, here's a rough estimation of what I came up with:

That should give you a rough idea of what the first 5/6 levels are going to look like.

The Vats of Mazarin (completed) - The lair of Mazarin, a long deceased magic-user. Level is generally inhabited by berserkers, vermin, oozes, mole men, and adventurers scavenging for loot.

The Observatory (currently working on) - More or less untouched, some serious hints as to what Mazarin was up to. Less monsters, more treasure than the Vats proper. A good find what anyone who figures out how to break inside.

The Shaft - Based on my previous megadungon, the shaft has many branching fun-house style sub-levels. Possibly the most varied section of the dungeon and a few hints (but not man) to its history. Many different types of monsters, adventurer, a rival group of berserkers, a section filled completely with plants, etc. Should be fun, but easy to pass by for those who would like to get at more of the meet of the megadungeon. Fun for games when not everyone can make it.

The Grottoes of the Lizard Men - Believing themselves to be the last surviving ancestors of the Snake Men, this tribe of lizard men have moved into these caves and besieged the Temple of the Snake Men in attempts to take for their own. Lead by a lizard-man Binder (5th level sorcerer).

Temple to the Snake Men - Built in centuries past, it has since then been home to a small tribe of unorganized and ignorant cultists. They are, however, not at war with the lizard men in the cavern above. Not only that, but a group of chaotic sorcerers on the surface has gotten wind of a Temple devoted to the extinct Snake Men in the region, which like contains many artifacts related to the lost art of sorcery. This group may well become the major villains in the campaign.

Upper Caves - Big, sprawling caves filled with barsoomian white apes and other monstrosities. Few adventurers except as random encounters. A portal to Barsoom here. Other than that I haven't given it too much though.

The Pyramid of Azerhotep - Magic-user of great power seeking immortality constructed this underground pyramid to protect his body which he put into a stasis. May be awakened by the PCs. Within this section, there are clues to an space station orbiting the planet, but no clear way to get there. Oh yeah, and a guy from L.A. or some other big modern day city. He's going to be here too.

Ancient City of the Snake Men - Came to the planet in search of knowledge concerning the Old Ones. I'm not sure exactly what's going to be here yet, but it's going to be awesome.

Beyond this are the lower caves, an enormous robotic fortress, the hall of portals, and other oddities for the characters to explore.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Magic-User Spell Book (Part 3)

[Continued from Magic-User Spell Books (Part 1), which deals with the drawback of spell books in B/X D&D and Magic-User Spell Books (Part 2), which presents a possible solution to those drawbacks.]

Magical research. A part of the game I always wish was more commonly taken advantage of. Sigh. Anyway, I promised a little more comprehensive rules for spell creation in B/X D&D, and here I am to deliver.

For me, there are five main factors in spell creation: quality of the research facility (usually a library), level of the magic-user, intelligence of the magic-user, level of the spell, and what spells the magic-user already knows.

Research Facility: A library, laboratory, or some other type of research facility is necessary to conduct magical research and develop a new spell. The amount of knowledge and the quality of apparatuses available determine the base chance of success. An independent magic-user's library typically gives a base chance between 10%-30% (5% per 25,000 gp spent on books and apparatuses), the local Mage's Guild library gives a base chance of 40%; the greatest library in the kingdom gives a base chance of 50%; the most extensive library on the continent gives a base chance of 60%. the best library in the world gives a base chance of 70%. If the library is located in a dungeon, 30% + 5% per dungeon level usually works out about right.

Level of the Magic-User: The magic-user's has a +5% chance per level of the magic-user or elf.

Intelligence: Add (or subtract) the magic-user's prime requisite bonus to experience points.

Level of the Spell: Subtract 10% per level of the spell being researched. 

Read Magic and Read Languages: Add +10% if the magic-user casts either Read Magic or Read Languages. Add +20% if both are cast.

Thus a second level magic-user with an intelligence of 13 in the local Mage's Guild Library with the read magic spell has a 55% to research a new first level spell. The same magic-use would have instead a 85% chance of researching such a spell with access to the greatest library in the world.

Cost and Time: The cost remains 1000 gp per spell level. Because of the typically increased chance of failure, the time requires is reduced to 1 week per attempt.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Magic-User Spell Books (Part 2)

[Continued from Magic-User Spell Books (Part 1)]

After a couple of months worth of pondering, I think I've finally decided how I want to work the acquisition of spells in B/X D&D. I'm going to try not to contradict the rule books, but instead add to them and fill in many of the blanks spots in the manuals.

Before I begin, here are the given circumstances I will be using as the basis of these house rules.
  1. "Magic-users and elves are limited to the number of spells they know, and their books will contain spells equal to the number and level of spells the caster can use in a single day..." (X11)
  2. "Most player character magic-users and elves are assumed to be part of the local Magic-Users Guild or apprenticed to a higher level NPC" (X11)
  3. "When player characters gain a level of experience, they will return to their masters and be out of play for one 'game-week' while they are learning their new spells" (X11)
  4. "Magic-users may add more spells to their spell books their spell research" (X7)
  5. "Without [the read magic] spell unfamiliar magic may not be read or understood, even by a magic-user" (B17)
  6. Read languages "will alow the caster to read...any unknown language or code, including treasure maps, secret symbols, and so forth" (B17)
Alright, now I can begin.

After attaining a new experience level, there are several ways magic-users and elves may expand their repertoire of spells: pursuing the spell library of the local Mage's Guild; apprenticing a higher level NPC; from an NPC's spell book; independent magic research; and, if all else fails, "luck".

Mage's Guild: At character creation, a magic-user or elf may spend 60GP to join the local mage's guild. Thereafter, it costs 600GP for an independent character to join. In either case, the magic-user or elf must pay an additional fee of 100GP per character level each "game month" to remain in the guild. In exchange, the character may purchase the necessary supplies for the creation of magic items and, more importantly, may peruses the guild library and enroll the help of a tutor when learning new spells. After attaining a new experience level, a member of the Mage's Guild may select level appropriate a spell(s) from the B/X rules books to learn.

Apprenticeship: At character creation a magic-user or elf may spend 40GP to apprentice a more experienced (5th-8th level) NPC magic-user or elf. The exact terms of the apprenticeship are left up to the DM, but usually involves the character spending one week each "game month" assisting his or her Master around the tower, preparing means, organizing tomes, feeding the grey ooze, etc. In exchange, the Master will teach the apprentice new spells each time the magic-user or elf character advances in level. The Master's spell list should be randomly determined from the B/X rulebook, but with a 10% chance of each spell being of the Master's own creation (a new spell of the DM's creation unavailable at the local Mage's Guild library).

NPC Spell Books: Any magic-user with the read magic spell may learn and copy down spells from spell book acquired while adventuring. There is a 20% chance of each spell being of the NPC magic-user's own creation, unavailable at the local magic-user's guild. Deciphering and recording a spell requires 1 day per level of the newly acquired spell. Generous DMs may even allow characters to record spells from appropriate spell scrolls in a similar manner.

Magical Research: As described on page X51, magical research requires 1,000 gp per spell level and 2 weeks of research per level with only a 15% chance of failure. For me these rules a little too simplistic and I will be providing alternative rules in Part 3 of this post.

Luck: Similar to the Mage's Guild method, but the character instead begs, borrows, or otherwise ascertains the knowledge of a randomly determined, level appropriate spell(s) from the B/X rulebooks at no cost. This is also the method used by first level magic-users and elves that do not purchase Mage's Guild membership or an Apprenticeship during character creation.

[Look for Part 3 tonight or tomorrow where I will discuss an alternative method for magical research]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Magic-User Spell Books in B/X (Part 1)

I guess I've been gone for a bit. Things are crazier than I thought they'd be. Oh well. That can't be helped some times.

[I've still been working on my mega-dungeon, ideas for which are still in pretty constant flux until they're put down in paper (and even then, not always). Such is the nature of the beast, I suppose. I've decided not to put too much emphasis on scrapping together the outside world until I've got an OK idea of where this dungeon is headed (about six different directions, as of now). But really, you guys don't care about that. Onwards to the real post.]

One of the most frustrating things about B/X D&D is the rules for magic-user spell books. They're just so hard to wrap my mind around fully and make magic-users very limited characters, especially at low levels. But for clarity's sake, here's the piece of I'd like to look at first:
"Each magic user and elf has a spell book for the spells that he or she has learned. A first level character will only have one spell (a first level spell) in the spell book. A second level character will have two spells (both first level) in the spell book; a third level character will have three spells (two first level spells and one second level spell) in the spell book. The DM may choose which spells a character has in the book, or may allow the player to select them."
So a magic-user has only so many spells in his spell book that he may cast. What does this mean, though? It means that sitting on your ass studying really isn't a viable way for a magic-user character to expand his repertoire. Once you're got the basics down (are a first level medium), you need need to get in there are start using your spells in a practical way to really understand the most advanced principles.

But if all of these spells are common enough for most magic-users to have 1st-level spells of the basic list of twelve in Moldvay; it's not like they're all being developed in parallel with one another. They're getting them from somewhere. For me, these are the spells so common that they can be found for little to no fee in just about any major city or from the local magic-user's guild of some sort. It also tells me that there is likely only a single major school or powerful guild in the region.

The Cook and Marsh expert set has only two short paragraphs dealing with spell research:
"New spells may be researched by any spell caster. Research requires both money and time spent out of the campaign.
"To research a spell, the new spell must be written out and given to the DM, who decides, if it is possible, what level is should be, and what changes ate needed for play balance. A play may not research spells higher than his character can cast. Spell research costs 1,000 gp per level and requires 2 weeks of research per level."
Two things strike me in this paragraph. First, "any spell caster" can research new spells, which I take as including clerics. Second, is that spell research has no chance of failure, unlike OD&D.

What isn't clear to me is whether a new spell researched by a magic-user still takes up one "slot" in his spell book. Because Moldvay and Cook/Marsh are quite clear about about how many spells a magic-user may have (only so many as the character may cast), I am inclined to say that, yes, they do take up room in the caster's spell book.

There are still many blanks left in the rules. Can a magic-user copy down a spell created by another magic-user? How does that work? Does the magic-user need to be there or is the spell book sufficient enough?

[In Part 2, I'll be discussing my own rules for magic-user spell books in B/X, which should be up sometime tomorrow or Saturday.]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Updates on Dungeon Level 1

I haven't gotten to work on my new dungeon as much as I would like. Yesterday morning was spent studying for midterms (the whole double major in four years is a bit of a pain due to summer classes) and finishing up  editing Dragons at Twilight. With those out of my hair, all I have to worry about is finishing up memorizing lines for our production of As You Like It, learning the keyboard part for 7 songs in the show, and finalizing/cementing the fight choreography with the rest of the actors. Should leave plenty of time for dungeon-writing, right?

Regardless of time constraints, I've made some good progress. The first dungeon level is mapped, nearly keyed, wandering monster tables written, and parts of the second level have begun falling into place.

The theme I've gone for in the first level is a number of different sentient monsters competing for control of the dungeon complex. Mole Men, Berserkers,  Dwarves, and a small battalion of stunted (read, dwarven) skeletons.

I ended up going with a clan of berserkers as the ones inhabiting the abandoned lair of the Snake-Men cult. The insane dwarves will be part of 3, and the Lizard Men who believe themselves to be the oldest ancestors of the Snake Men have been pushed down to level 2. The berserekers are scared to death of the temple self, but the chieftain has insisted on the location due to its defensible position. Mutiny is not entirely unlikely.

One thing that I'm noticing is that I need more treasure on the first level. I've still got some empty rooms to work with (but I like empty rooms), but need to double the contents of the nearby treasure troves. Level 2 is going to be about three times larger, so I'm not worried about having this problem in the future. Likely, I'll end up going back through and increasing the treasures thus far collected by the berserkers and inserting some gems to the eye statues and the like. Although, I do need another good Saturday Night Special for this level. Hopefully it will involve loads of treasure.

I'll finished up level 1 tomorrow and hopefully get to work on the second level, too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beginning Work on Dungeon Level 1

So I've begun work on my Megadungeon (currently unnamed) and have a few more thoughts on Minaria.

Instead of trying trying to get a full concept nailed down before starting this morning, I decided to jump right into the mapping. And boy am I glad. I only have about 30 rooms and hardly any of them are keyed, but I've been thinking in chunks rather than specifics, for now.

The main adversity is currently a clan of mole men (reskinned kobolds) who maintain and repair the dungeon. They are the once who reset traps, are commissioned to build new constrictions, make sure the dungeon doesn't fall into general disarray, etc.

There is also an abandoned shrine to the Carcosian Snake-Men, the original creators of the dungeon's lower (although not lowest) levels. For whatever reason, the cultist-archeologists have relocated to elsewhere within the complex. What remains of their lair will be inhabited by some other type of sentient creature (yet to be decided), as it is a very defensible choke point. Some options I'm considering are a rival cult, a tribe of Lizard Men who believe themselves to be the last living ancestors of the Snake-Men, or a clan in insane dwarves driven mad by an artifice of the lower levels.

The most terrifying monster I've placed to far is a white ape (as per Moldvay, but with 4 attacks instead of two--cause my white apes will always have four arms) that guards the passage down to the fourth level, which is very easy to access through the central shaft. I wanted a main passage down towards the middle levels of the dungeon that could be quickly accessed, but also some warning (the white ape) of what waits beyond. That way higher level characters  aren't forced to keep trekking through the same sections of the dungeon in every expedition.

As far an Minaria is concerned, I've decided that the small numbers are the bottom of the major cities/castles is an indication of relative influence and military strength. Also, I'll likely be remaining Elfland to something a bit more pulpy, such as Erithol or Artaina.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Time For A New Megadungeon

Alright, so it's been a couple of days since my last pst, and I've finally had a chance to cool down. I'm not completely sure what's going to happen with the blog, but the good new is that I've decided that I would definitely rather move to another hosting site than shut down.

In the mean time, I've realized that I need to create a new megadungeon. The first few levels of my current one have been explored so many times that I'm just getting a little tired of running the same surprises over and over again for different groups of players. Originally, I thought there would be something to salvage from the lower levels, but my taste has definitely changed in the past few years. Although the lost world  level, The Savage Realm of Kalgar the Scale Magician, looks pretty cool still, I've decided to start from a blank slate and work down from there.

Luckily, I have plenty of resources to work with.

Something I want to do differently though is integrate the dungeon into the world a bit more, something I left was seriously lacking with my previous endeavor. So, I decided to follow Scott of Huge Ruined Pile and the guy from Sword +1's  example and take a look at the Outdoor Survival map. For some reason, though, the mountain-infested desert in the northwest corner has always bugged the crap out of the me. I'm not even sure why. But I decided to give it a chance, drafted up the map in Hexographer, replaces the sink holes with castles,  pondered the result, and insultingly decided I want to go with something else.

Then I remembered, a blog a quite enjoyed during its all too short life span, Swords of Minaria. The map of  Minaria from the Divine Right board game (which I have never played and know almost nothing about) is incredibly evocative, and yet still very flexible. I mean, come on, a city named "Huts of the Scum" or a "The Invisible School of Thaumaturgy," how incredibly awesome is that? The map provides just enough detail to get my creative wheels churning and nothing more. It's perfect.

Honestly, looking through the map there are many great locations to turn into a megadungeon. A few I'm considering are The Stone Face near the Trollwood; the Shards of Lor between the Creeping Forest and the Tower of Zards; Stubstaff Keep near the Thorn Flats; Spires of the Sun near the Forbidden Oasis; and Alters of the Grey Staff in the Blasted Heath. Out of those, Stubbstaff Keep is the most centralized location. But I'd really like a mountainous location. On a second pass though, the Nithmere Mountains right between Immer and Zorn looks like another good spot. And The Sunken City Parros caught my eye. As you can see, there are almost too many evocative names on this map to choose just one.

Another idea I've been consider , instead of giving the megedungon a specific location, is to have an intrecut system of gate/portals into different sections of the megadungeon scattered throughout the land.

In the end, I think it will just depend on what type of megadungeon I come up with. Well I've got two hours every day this week before class to work. I'll see what I come up with and go from there. I just need to remember to bring my mapping gear to the library and I'll be ready to excavate.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vancian D&D

In my opinion, Jack Vance's Dying Earth is under-appreciated when it comes to inspiration for roleplaying games. While many know that Vance was the inspiration Gary's magic system in D&D, I find it to be one of the least useful aspects of the Dying Earth to replicate.

What's truly brilliant about Vance is his wilderness adventures. How one moment your trekking through the wilderness and the next you've found yourself in a nice little village that turn out to be unbelievably creepy or insane about halfway through the story. It's just awesome.

Not only that, but he has the most scheming cast of character I've ever seen in a fantasy novel. There's no Frodo going out to same the world from utter destruction. No. Instead, you've got Cudgel, the greedy womanizing bastard who somehow always seems to stay a step ahead of adversity. Just about every character knows what they want and will do just about any to reap the potential benefits. Actually, most of Vance's character act quite like the  PCs in most games I've ran or played in.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't sometimes think Vance is a bit of a sadist on paper. He is a little bit, but at least he's a great one. No really, I bet you could pick up a the Dying Earth, flip to a random page and come up with a great villain for that night's session; I've done it.

So, that turned into more of a rant than I originally planned. Guess I have to include a new rule, monster, magic item, NPC, or something now:

Worms Upon the Lier
MU 4
Duration: Permanent

This spell must be cast one a creature making an oath. Any time thereafter that the oath is broken, the oath-breaker will erupt in the horde of writhing blue worms. These worms will fuse into two monstrous strands, eating away at oath-breaker's body. If the oath was not to divulge information of a curtain kind, the wormy tendrils (4HD each) will seek out the confident or interrogator and mash him into a blood-bony soup.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thoughts on Small But Vicious Dog

This morning I've been looking through, Chris Hogan's Small But Vicious Dog, a D&D/Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play hybrid, that caught my eye when glancing over Jeff's Gameblog. The document itself is definitely worth a read through, but what has really got me thinking is a short section towards the end of the text:
"Making the PCs suffer best evokes the spirit of the source material that inspired SBVD. Put them through the wringer as much as possible before their inevitable, ignominious demise. Killing characters off is no fun; doing everything just short of that is much more entertaining."
As you may know, I'm quite a killer DM. Not so much as the B/X Blackrazor guy, but even he is a little overkill for my tastes. Regardless, this section has really got be rethinking my whole gaming philosophy.

I like a sense that death could jump out and smack you in the face at any moment in my games. I feel that the expectation that the party will come out unsuccessful really adds to the sense of fulfillment when everything does pan out, and skilled play is put on a massive pedestal compared to that 18/00 strength you happened to roll during character creation.

On the other hand, I think Mr. Hogan has a point. There's a huge specrtum between being just fine and dandy and dead on your back in the middle of the dungeon. I just have to think more about what exactly that middle ground actually is.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sir Rolland de Gwyn and the Lance of the Unending Joust

As you may have figured out, I have an obsession with major NPCs doing very strange things to attain immortality.

One of those NPCs is Sir Rolland de Gwyn (a Lawful champion) or, as he is more commonly known, Knight of the Unending Joust. This knight, dressed in shining mail (plate mail +2), travels the land in a search of knights and unweary adventurers to challenge. For he carries with him the Lance of the Unending Joust, the secret to his youth. Even the oldest tavern-goes cannot remember the day before the Knight of the Unending Joust road the plains of Avalon.

His third squire, Lurit II, travels with him always. He is the grandson of Lurit I, the Knight's first squire--from a time when he was but a mortal man. Rumor has it that Sir Rolland now seeks another worthy squire to take Lurit's place when the squire is knighted in the court of Efflur.

Lance of the Unending Joust
This 13” wooden lance is tipped with closed fist made of a bright, cast-steel. The Lance of the Unending Joust acts as a lance +1, +3 vs. fighting-men. For every joust the user win, he does not age the following year. What the common, contender does not know, however, is that for every time the user is unseated himself, he immediately ages one year. Thus a knight of unmatched skill may achieve immortality with the Lance of the Unending Joust, but an unworthy squire will likely meet an early end.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Magic Item: The Moon Cloak

Here's a new magic item I thought up today when getting groceries for dinner. What vindaloo curry has to do with either moons or cloak, I have no idea, but it was apparently nonetheless inspiring.

Moon Cloak
This magical navy cloak is a boon to magicians and thieves alike. It is fastened with a silver clasp enchanted to appear as the silhouette of the moon in the night’s sky—changing shape with each of its phases. The magic imbued by the cloak likewise changes with the phases of the moon.

Full Moon: During the full moon, the wearer is able to see in total darkness as the brightest moonlight.

Waxing Moon: If the wearer dies as as the moon waxes there is a 10% chance per level of the wearer that he will be reincarnated, as per the spell, within 1d6 hours.

New Moon: During the New Moon the cloak and anything within it, such as a man-like creature or similar sized object is wreathed in an invisibility enchantment.

Waning Moon: As the moon wanes the wearer may assume the form of a beautiful young woman (if wearer is female) or an elderly, bearded man (if male) after speaking the command word, metamorphone lunarium, and retains the form until the cloak is removed. It is always the visage of one of two identical figures, no matter who wears the moon cloak. In any city or large town, there is a 5% chance that wearer will be persecuted for the crimes a previous owner of the cloak once committed.

OD&D Monster Level Tables

Looking over pages 10 and 11 of Vol. 3: The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures, I'm beginning to notice that dungeon level in OD&D does not necessarily equal the appropriate character level. On level 6, for example, a group of character may regularly encounter 1-8 giants, a 9-12 head hydra, 1-6 basilisks, 1-4 gorgons, 1-4 chimeras, 1-6 vampires, lords, balrogs, wizards, evil high priests, and 1-4 purple worms. I'm not sure a group of 6th level character can really take those on with much chance of survival.

However, myrmidons (6th level fights) can be found on level 4 and enchanter (6th level magic-users) on level 3. Bishops are not included on the monster level tables. This I would guess that levels 3-ish to 4-ish are more suitable for a group of 6th level characters. Similarly, Men and Magic provides rules for characters up to 12 level (wizards), but provides only 6 levels of monster tables.

Based on pages 10 and 11, here is my best guess at to suitable dungeon levels for players characters in OD&D:

Dungeon Level 1 - 1st & 2nd level characters

Dungeon Level 2 - 2nd & 3rd level characters

Dungeon Level 3 - 4th to 6th level characters

Dungeon Level 4 - 6th & 7th level characters

Dungeon Level 5 - 7th to 9th level characters

Dungeon Level 6 - 8th to 12th level characters

What do you guys think?

Monsters & Treasure Assortment: Levels One-Nine

I have recently acquired a cope of the  Monsters & Treasure Assortment: Levels One-Nine supplement. Essentially, the Monsters & Treasure Assortment is a set of random d% tables to help the DM determine the monsters and treasure on each level of their dungeon. There are also a number of more minor tables scattered throughout the first few pages, such as one for traps guarding treasure ("Treasure is guarded by...") or a table for where the treasure is hidden ("Treasure is hidden by/in...").

What intrigues me most is that the monsters are treasure found in this book are not specific to any one version of the game. Monsters solely found in AD&D and presented right next to monsters only found in Moldvay basic scatted with treasure found only in OD&D. This is a supplement that obviously defies a single, unified game.

While the monsters and treasure presented in the book are obviously scaled by the level of the PCs, there is definitely an attempt to keep players on their toes, such as including a Warlock (8th level magic-users) as a possible opponent on the second level of the dungeon. If that doesn't for the players to start using their heads (assuming the warlock does just cast fireball), I don't know what will. At the same time, there are a number of opponents that would normally be considered much too easy on lower dungeon levels.

Treasure, on the other hand, is much more uniform. There are no curse weapons on the first level and the first time a +2 weapon shows up is a dagger +2 on level three (never mind, there's a spear +3 on level 2) . Similarly, there is a much larger percentage of monetary treasure on the first level compared to more difficult areas. In general, like monsters, treasure seems to scale with dungeon level, but there are definitely some major wrenches in those gears, much to my appreciation.

Overall, I'm finding the Monsters & Treasure Assortment to be a great resource, something that games like Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry should consider cloning.