Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Unfinished Domain of Scarlet Prince - Part 3

     Continuing with my dungeon creation using the Tome of Adventure Design, I hit Table 1-1A to generate a name for the dungeon.  Not much less unwieldy than the earlier post names, but certainly more evocative.  

    So who is/was Scarlet Prince or is it THE Scarlet Prince or A Scarlet Prince?  I don't know yet, I expect the backstory to emerge from the dungeon creation process.  To date I know one important element in the story is a duel on a bridge and that they were in possession of the Moon Shield when the dungeon was being constructed.  Nor do I know why the dungeon was left Unfinished, but I know either Area 2 or Area 3 will have roughly excavated walls and floors providing trip hazards in combat.

   With this post I get to begin designing and roughly laying out Area 1, which I know has 14 rooms, three of Unusual Size.   Table 3-37 tells me this area of the dungeon was excavated and then faced with stone blocks, walls and ceiling and paved with flagstones.  Typical dungeon construction.

    As I mentioned in the first post, one of the things I liked immediately about the ToAD, is that it provides suggestions for laying out areas with some intention and design, as opposed to the DMG's more random method.  A quick roll on Table 3-41 gives me all rooms connect to a central room, like a star pattern.

Nice idea, but with 14 rooms and a chasm to one side, it gets crowded in a hurry.  So I'll modify it so that I'll have a central room, with the other rooms tumbling out of it into each other.  Something like this, but as I generate the individual rooms, I'll create the actual layout and doorways.

The Unfinished Domain of Scarlet Prince
Area 1 Rough Layout

     Things to keep in mind, I need another way down to level two, as I have the concealed handholds in the chasm, I want a obvious pathway down too.  It's always a good design practice to have most areas, as well as clues, have multiple ways for the party to find them.  I also want a secret or concealed door to the smaller area on this level.  If they don't show up in room generation I'll add them afterwards.

The Unfinished Domain of Scarlet Prince

Part I - The Entry

Part 2 - The Grating Chasm

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Creating a Dungeon with the Tome of Adventure Design - Part 2

 Or when to know when to quit rolling dice.

    Having created the entry in Part 1, I decided there should be a transition between there and the first dungeon area.  ToAD has a table for that, which has many possibilities branching from it.

Transitions Between Dungeon Areas (Table 3-23) gave me 'A bridge over a river or chasm' and on the second column of the table a Hazard Trick.

Hazard Tricks (Table 3-92) gave me 'Venting steam, bad air or dangerous gases.  Reasonable hazards for a chasm, so no  river we have a bridge over a pit.  And that gives me the idea that one of the other levels connects back in at the bottom of the chasm.

Wait a minute, I need a description of the actual area where the chasm is bridged.  Back to Corridor, Basic Description of (Table 3-24) which gives me a 10' wide, 10'high natural cavern...with two unusual features!

Corridor, Unusual Features of (Table 3-25) gives me 'Large grates in floor' - must be in the bridge deck.  And a Trap.  Basic Mechanical Traps (Table 3-126) gives me 'Magentism'.  As long as I'm here, I'll roll up the gas from the Hazard Trick on Gases (Table 3-128) which provides the information, 'Removes Oxygen' and 'Lies near floor, lingers'.

    At this point I realized the process had gone off the rails, there were too many features being crammed into a minor corridor - and I hadn't even rolled up a description of the Bridge yet.  But it had given me a number of inspirations to put together.

I decided to strip it down to the basics, a cavern crossed by a loose grating.  Which immediately put in mind of driving over the old Jamestown Bridge to Newport, Rhode Island the first few times I went there for schools in the Navy.  Let me tell you an open metal grating 135 feet over Narragansett Bay, if not terrifying, at least gives the driver an immense sense of relief to have gotten over it.


     Leaving the entry through the opening under the frieze of the bridge, the party steps out onto a narrow ledge 5'wide and 10' long.  A grating bridges a chasm.

Quick Search

     The chasm is about 15 feet wide and it's roof is about 10' over the bridge.  Based on what your torch illuminates, it's more than 30 feet deep.  You get the impression that the chasm narrows in both directions, but the light doesn't illuminate the ends. The grating itself isn't fastened to the ledge but rests about halfway across the ledge.  It's made of joined wood, with 2 inch members and 10 inch holes. Any characters moving at greater than half speed need to make a Dexterity (Balance) check or fall.  Potential consequences of the fall range from dropping anything in hand to plummeting into the dark below.

Detailed Examination

    Better illumination will show the chasm is approximately 45 feet deep.  If they drop the light off of the left hand side of the grating, there is a 50% chance they will spot a doorway at the bottom (Perception check).  If they state that they are doing the detailed examination while on or across the grating, they will notice likely handholds in the chasm wall nearest the Entry that can be used to reach the bottom.