Inspired by the always amazing Scrap Princess this happend…
Although Dungeons are populated by hired, rescued, liberated and indentured entities and groups often unique to a singular complex, there are some creatures that seems to be always present and is described here in no particular order.
Clawed Librarians (Giant Book Scorpions)
This peculiar creature is charged with managing books and libraries in the Dungeon. Not only do they gather books that has been moved by visiting Adventurers or Dungeon inhabitants, but books actually grows from their bodies. By consuming Adventurers they turns their XP into books, the content of the books formed comes from the mind of the consumed as well as things that the Dungeon’God finds. This gathered knowledge is usually shared and spread over all the different worlds that is connected to Dungeon’God, but sometimes some facts or piece of knowledge is just irrelevant to the adjacent world and gets edited or adjusted.
You will find them filling empty sheles with newely extruded books almost anywhere in the Dungeons.
As the books extruded by the Clawed Library only can be in languages known to consumed meals these creatures sometimes crafts deadly ambushes when they discover a speaker of an unknown language.
One kind of book that the Clawed Librarian stay clear of is Grimoires and other magical books. To them these are not true books but rather a kind of dirty animal in the guise of a book, they accept their existence but ignores them and flat out refuse to touch them.
Clawed Librarians vary in size from a large dog to a small elephant, but as they have the magical ability to turn two dimensional and change size to slip between the pages and travel to another book in a nearby location.
They are not capable of speech but instead writing can be seen running over their carapace conveying their will through citations from books.
Books are deftly handled by their seemingly clumsy claws (that induces paralysis in everything living, smartly ridding books of vermin). It consume literate adventurers by hosing them with digestive acids and slurping the resulting goo, this revolting spray can also be used to defend against those not paralysed by claw attacks.
(Img source wikipedia)
Thinking of tailoring OSR classes after players gaming style/interest rather than game icons (Fighter, Rouge etc) my brain has tumbled and turned endlessly for days and this (simplified) grouping turned out:.
Less Rules: You maybe have a demanding day job frying your brain, or just don’t like to push numbers around, but have’t the energy to focus on fiddly rulesets. You comes to just play and enjoy yourself and the company.
A new level should only have a couple of options but significant improvements.
No prep: Perhaps you have three jobs and/or a muggle for partner (seriously, ditch that looser) leaving you little time for dealing with gaming stuff when you are away from the altar … err I mean gaming table. Maybe you see the RPG as just another game, stuff happens at the table and thats it.
But when you are at the table you like to have plenty of tactical options and effects to apply on yourself, the party, the enemy and in general anything within reach.
A new level should have lot options to tailor to your flavour, but when chosen there shouldn’t be a need for more work to do ruleswise.
Fiddling: The character is a hobby in itself, when you are away from the game you love to tweak and fiddle with you character, always coming to the table med new twists and tweaks. Your character has more background than the game and each new level is approached as a research paper.
I am certainly of the last type…
I do not measure in the roleplay in itself here, just a bit on the rule approach, and of course you have to also fit the Gamemastering to cater for the different wishes of interaction between game and rules. Although my thinking here will be focused on the class and whats on the character sheet, there is an another dimension of rules-weight that will be affected. At table the player of a rules-smooth fighter must feel as much included as the rules-sprouting-bending-special-cases-swashbuckling-chandelier-swinging-etc characters player. And the opposite must also be true, one player can’t be restricted by rules that don’t effect others at the table (unless there are in game reasons of course).
After a fruitful duscussion (on the net, I’m flabbergasted) with Ed Dove I got the some ideas (and a link to someone who already been thinking about these things, I’m not first AMAzing!)
The geist is, perhaps classes shouldn’t be as much about gaming Icons/Archetypes as Gamer style of playing. The generalised player of a Fighter is someone who not want to fiddle with rules as much as roll the dice and have fun, the Wizard is someone who likes to game the game and play with themselves as much as with others and the Rouge is essentially someoe who makes the massive rule bending hit someone else. The two latter don’t mind fiddling with rules but the last one want the rules to interact with the other players/NPCs/world while the Wizard one is satsified if just the result of the fiddling hits the world and amaze everyone. A kind of Introvert/Extrovert distinction.
So I was thinking of designing three classess with different mechanics general mechanics and then general building block relating to the classic Adventure Icons applicable to any of the three classes of play. As a working model and for concretisation of my thinking I made this picture:
It is absolutely not finished or absolute in anyway, more of a starting point for thoughts and dissection. Remember the classes as presented in RAW can be played in any of the three styles, I not claiming they can’t, just that some fits a certain style a bit better than others…
I seethat I left the Barbarian out, it is a bit unfortunate, but I think it belongs in the same place as the Monk, Rage powers and that or maybe with the Assassin as the Rage is just something you apply to others mostly…
… a lot lately (for undisclosed reasons).
And now and then something useful/interesting/whatever is the result.
I used to loath the class system (of D&D etc) and still think there are plenty of things to harp about using it, but since I begun to run with the OSR crowd (or rather being a flea in one of the mangier one) and every word Zak S says (a slight hyperbole) I have submitted to the usefulness of a semi-compatible standard back and forth in time. Anyway, the thing that fell out of the opening into the weird, dark and chaotic maze of my brain was this. Essentially there is three classes, or rather two and a unholy child/mix/you-know-what-mean. They can be called the Violent, the Weird and the Blender. The Violent are of course the tratitional Fighter, in its most pure incarnation it is someting to play for those who likes their game simple both rulewise and rolewise. The Wierd is the Wizard (or something) which is a collection of stuff, nothing pure here, oh-nono, this is for the player who love the tinkering, fiddling exploatory Oh-I’m-so-special-intovert-stuff… and then we have the Blender, this is for the rest, a bit of this, a bit of that and some made up stuff, the thing to fill in where the other two roles don’t measure up (usually also tinkery-fiddly but with a more extrovert/practical focus).
So what has this to do with anything, weeellll, If I going to publish Dungeon’God, it will probably have this for its structure. With building block that can be swapped out to get the right flavour of you character for you. The three main classes is a frame and startingpoint providing a structure and theme for the character.
This is a tricky one, I have been wrestling with this conceptually for literally years now, but Just now I had an revelation. I have been working from the wrong end!
I was seeing the Dungeon as a growing thing, like a plant. You put a seed down and a sprout turns into a plant that grows into a tree. But as all dungeons are a part of the DungeonGod this allegory don’t work well.
Instead I have to work the other way around, something calls upon DungeonGod and a tendril sprouts forth and begin to manifest a Dungeon. These manifests as Lairs of Mosters. Contary to what I thought before Lairs do not grow into dungeons by adding levels underneath it. Instead it contains clues to an dungeon entrance.
So how do Lairs get created? Well, now we run into a hen and egg problem so I have to go back to another idea, namely the “traps as the flowers of dungeons” concept. Traps are “grown” by Dungeons and always contains a magical item, like the honey of flowers. The Dungeon rewards the conflict participant (either being victim of or trying to disarm the trap) with a magical item. Well these items griws (scales) with the hero but at one point or another they will certainly be stored somewhere due to the hero retiring or abandoning the item in favor of another magical thing (I plan to enforce the no more than seven magical item rule or something similar). When the magical items stays to long in one place they begin to summon Lairs.
When the Lairs get raided they in turn summons Dungeons of Level 1. After enough conflicts there will open entrances to deeper levels, this could be sink holes opens, secret doors found or just mining creatures opening up new ways.
The structure of a Dungeon should always be like a stair with each new depth having an unexplored back entrance for the heroes to find and giving them a faster rout to the deeper Dungeon. The DungeonGod wants to facilitate stronger Heroes meeting stronger opponents to have the conflicts drawn out and thus power generating as possible.
The procedurally generated first level dungeons can be further and further apart as the dungeons isn’t actually a part of the world but “inside” Dungeon’God and could span any distance, even to other worlds if it suits the story. I would have the distance grow with each deeper level and in the deeper end bring in other worlds just to keep it interesting.
Also these new dungeons should appear where there are lairs…. And grow their own deeper levels. Making a never ending network of dungeons.
The question is .. What awaits in the deepest level … Level 20?
… Don’t know how much sense this make, but it is finally a structure to build on.
Thoughts on the structure of adventures, this is important to have in the back of the mind when you asseble a RPG session.
And also a souce of inspiration.
When I was analysing the structures of CYOA works a few years back, I began to recognise some strong recurring design patterns. I came up with some home-brewed terminology, but didn’t ever lay it out in a nice clear way. This is a non-exhaustive look at some of the more common approaches, somewhat-updated (a lot has changed since then).
I should stress that these aren’t discrete categories: while a lot of works will fall very straightforwardly into a single pattern, many will involve elements of multiple patterns. (And yes, I’m aware that you can often simulate one using the mechanics of another. That’s mostly beside the point.) Also, the example diagrams I’m using are smaller and simpler than would be likely in actual works.
Time Cave. A heavily-branching sequence. All choices are of roughly equal significance; there is little or no re-merging, and therefore no need for state-tracking. There are many…
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As some of you don’t know, well actually I would be amazed if any of did know, I have started a little OSR campaign with my best friends kids. Or rather a OSR/indie campaign, as I add quite a few indie moments to the system and I want it to be in a indish/asianish world inspired of fantastic Yoon-Suin and (I hate to say it, because I feel a intense dislike for the author) inspiring and well written Arrows of Indra.
Aaaanyway, for figures I’m using paper standups from Rich Burlews amazing OOTS kickstarter, two sets published so far. I really want the next one, but have begun to play with drawing my own, and thus we finally arrives at my point.
I made a trial Anti-Hammerspace (here there are some references) sheet for the campaign and the figure in the background is drawn by yours truly. Now I just have to make som equipment tokens also….
<edit: The picture below is linked to a PDF which is updated with some additions>
Quite a while ago I was mumbling about an idea for a game about small creatures living in a kind of twisted mirror dimension of a garden.
From nowhere a flash of inspiration hit me earlier today. It is perhaps a bit out of the blue to put it up here, but perhaps the idea will develop next week while in London and actually turn into something interesting.
Anyway, one of the problems with the idea concept is of course humans, and humanactivites. In “The Borrowers” there is a bit to much absence of humans to feel real, and the reason is of course that the appereance of an giant interrupts the story. Once or twice these intrerruption may serve the story and the plot, but soon they will become tentious and disruptive.
That was the reason I moved my campaign world to the a mirror dimension (a bit like Robert Jordans Tel’aran’rhiod) but I still had some problems with how to incorporate human activites in a useful and still easy to handle way.
The inspirational flash this morning was to twist the time also, lets each day in the the “real” world become a year in the mirror dimension. A dark season, a light season with two twilight seasons in between. The yearly cycle of the real world would correspond to ages in the mirror world, with winter being someting of a ice age several generation long.
Most human activities will “spill over” in abstract and twisted form (here there will be a opportunity for major creativity and surrealism). For example I see the parking spot in at the house as a area where mechanised monster golems lurk, spewing poisonus oil and stench.
Hmmm … There is potential here I think….
After a fling with OSR and fiddling with homebrew I have had a moment of Insight. I will use Pathfinder as the base system for my DungeonGod world, heavily modified yes, but still Pathfinder.
Well, I found the tinkering factor in OSR to low, so I begun to load more and more options and stuff into it (by tinkering I mean rules to support stuff, as OSR it much dependent on DM fiat, you can tinker along without those rules, but I LIKE rules). Anyway, it turned into my own homebrew system (which had some neat stuff), but I tealised it would demad a lot of work for me to make that accessible for players (and those who eventualky find it on the net).
So when I finally studied the Nythic rules for Pathfinder, I realised that that system actually have most of the tools I need and want for Dungeon’God.
… and with Pathfinder Unchained coming up in April, I would be suprised if I couldn’t find the last tweaks I want.
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