Gygax 75 – Week Three – The Dungeon

Last time we talked about the Home Region of the Campaign area, which in this case is the “closest” spot to the Campaign Region in the Prime Material Plane. This episode is going to focus on laying out a basic outline of the primary dungeon in this region.

The Forbidden Tower of the Swamp Mother

Forbidden Tower of the Swamp Mother
A fallen tower of gray stone lies half-submerged in the stagnant waters of the Forbidden Swamp. Smoke rises from the rubble-strewn base, the smell of sulfur hangs in the air. A snow-white Heron lands upon the tower, glances in your direction, then flies off again, to the south.

The booklet lays out the steps, which are pretty basic, allowing for an outline to be quickly generated.

  • Describe the entrance: A fallen tower of gray stone lies half-submerged in the stagnant waters of the Forbidden Swamp. Smoke rises from the rubble-strewn base, and the smell of sulfur hangs in the air. A snow-white Heron lands upon the tower, glances in your direction, then flies off again, to the south.
  • Draw a flowchart-style map
    • d6+6 rooms per level:
      • Level I: 11 (7 rooms of Level I is the tower, lying horizontally! the other 4 are the “basement” )
      • Level II: 9
      • Level III: 7
    • d3+1 vertical connections: 3 (one double, 2two single)
    • Three Themes: (d3+2 “budget” for each, plus 1-2 for “spillover”)
      • Level I: Mushrooms/flooded/submerged – 4 Thematic Items – Fallen Tower and its basement, in the swamp
      • Level II: Slime – 2 Thematic Items – Stone Construction 30′ below ground, arched ceilings 12′ tall, masonry is rough and amateurish, Walls run with water and slimy molds grow everywhere
      • Level III: Water – level is partially flooded! 4 Thematic items, all features of the enviorment – Natural Caverns, wet, flooded, practically a river runs through it
  • List of 11 monsters for the entire dungeon: T= thematic    M= Manifestation of the Belowdark
    1. I – Cockatrice – nesting in the stump – Death’s Head Mushrooms T1
    2. I – Mongyrie hunters – camping in the central portion of the fallen tower, roasting mushrooms and putting them in barrels T2
    3. I – Myconid T3 – dwelling in the top section and in one of the basement rooms (only encounter once)
    4. II – Urgot M – dwelling in the basement room with the staircase (Deathslime LII T0 & puffballs on the steps LI T4)…and the LII room below (50% chance of either)
    5. II – Will o’Wisp (LFG)
    6. II – Green Slime T1
    7. II – Deathslime T2 M
    8. III – Clacks. Lots of clacks M
    9. III – Darkling miners
    10. III – Cyclops
    11. III – Barnacles M
  • d6 interactive features (may be thematic)
    • LII Clothing Storage – many sizes, many colors, on the small side
    • LI Sucking Mud – The “bottom”  of the swamp area around the fallen tower is sucking mud, at least a foot deep. PCs stepping into the water here will sink up to their hips in mud and water. Moving up to 10 feet requires a STR check. Success means you can get there in two rounds of movement, failure means it will take five rounds and incur a level of Fatigue. Any PCs attempting any combat while stuck in the mud will be at Disadvantage and +5 to Initiative.
    • LII Crypts, skeletons will arise if cloth has been disturbed from witches eyes. Beyond the Will’o’wisp there is a mummified-looking woman seated on the floor, in a position of meditation. Her once-fine clothing is dusty and stained with fluids. Her eyes are blind-folded. She stole the power of the hexes that sent these dead off to the next world, but suffered a catastrophic failure. If the cloth about her head is disturbed, the skeletons will arise. 1d6 Skeletons will emerge from their crypts per turn until all 24 have come forth.
    • t
  • Treasure? If the room has a Creature or a Feature, then 1-4 on d6. If empty, then 1 on d6
  • Create Wondrous Items from the Lore, name them, place them. The one on L III should be thematic.
  1. w
  2. w
  3. w
  • Create Wandering Monster Tables for each level
    • Include Clacks, Grave Rats and Tomb Crawlers
    • On L I & II: have Rot Grubs erupt from a pustule in the wall

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