Saturday, November 13, 2021

A Treatise on Traps

 This post is available in video form on my YouTube channel (opens in a new window).


 Click to enlarge

Here is a simple 3d6 table to generate traps. Each trap has three basic characteristics: the mechanism, the consequence, and the tell.

The mechanism is how the trap is activated. Referees should interpret these results loosely; for example, “weight differential” could mean an Indiana Jones-style trap where removing an idol from a plinth releases a boulder, or it could be a rickety bridge that will collapse if a PC is over a certain level of encumbrance. False mechanisms could mean fake doors that fall and crush anyone attempting to open them, or chest mimics that chomp greedy treasure hunters.

Consequences are self explanatory. Be creative in how you approach them, a “crushing” trap might cause rocks to fall on PCs, or it might mean that their hand is maimed if they reach into a cubby. Displacement traps can be stairs that turn into chutes, portcullises that split parties from one another, or even magical teleport traps.

The “tell” is how a PC can be expected to figure out that something is trapped. For example, “too old or too new” might be a row of canopic jars, which when inspected will reveal that one of the jars is free of any dust. The jar is actually a trap set to ward against tomb robbers that will release ghosts when opened. When the referee chooses to reveal the tell depends on the experience of the players and the consequences of the trap (deadly traps should generally be more obvious, unless dealing with an experienced group). For a first session, or for the first trap in a dungeon, the referee might immediately warn players that, for example, there are holes in the walls of this hallway (indicating a dart or poison gas trap). For more experienced players, the referee might simply note that vines grow up the walls in this hallway, and leave it to players to carefully inspect the vines and notice the holes hidden behind them.

I approach hiding and revealing traps by taking inspiration from the old text-based computer adventure games like Zork, where I’ll describe very simply the notable features of a room, which appendix I in the AD&D DMG is invaluable for. If players more carefully inspect and interact with these features, I will give them more clues. For a particularly devious trap, I might obfuscate it under multiple layers; for example, a player might wish to inspect a conspicuously expensive tapestry. If they peek behind it, it reveals an unworked stone wall, and inspecting that unworked stone reveals that it has been knocked down and built back up many times, indicating perhaps a boulder or log trap hidden behind the wall, confirmed by damage to the opposite wall and bits of stone scattered about the room. The point is to force players to use context clues and lateral thinking to reveal the nature of the trap. There might also be multiple clues leading to the same trap, for example the stone scattered about the room in the previous example.

As for how players can thwart traps, I find it’s best to simply leave it up to the players. More often than not they will come up with an ingenious way to disarm or avoid the trap that you would never have thought of yourself, and it saves on prep work for you. Having one and only one way to avoid a trap can lead to a frustrating experience for the players as they try to divine your thought process.

Placement of traps is also crucial. Traps can be fun and exciting, and a dungeon might be dull without them and encourage recklessness. However, too many traps can result in players being afraid to interact with a single feature of your dungeon and slow the pace of the game to the point where it is boring and frustrating. Using wandering monster rolls to force players to move at a decent clip will further frustrate them when they are forced by the clock to blunder into a trap. To encourage player agency in deciding how and when to check for traps, referees must be logical in their placement of those traps. Defensive choke points may be trapped, as well as treasure rooms. In my opinion, it’s more fun for players to thwart a trap they know about than to find a trap they didn’t know about. I usually signal by following the old rule: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. When my players find a golden statuette atop a plinth that’s surrounded by dried bloodstains, they know to carefully inspect every feature of the room.

Trapping too many mundane rooms can lead to a boring arms race between the referee and the player: last room we entered, a slime fell on us from above, so now we note that we’re always checking the ceiling when we enter. To thwart the players, the referee places a pit trap. Now we’re always checking the ceiling AND prodding the ground with our ten foot pole. Then the referee places a crossbow trap in the next room that fires when the door is opened. Now we specify that we stand to the side of the door when we open it AND we check the ceiling before entering AND we prod the floor with our poles. Well, now the referee electrifies a door handle. Now we put a rag over the handle before we open it AND we stand to the side AND check the ceiling AND prod the floor and and and… for sixty rooms. This is a waste of time! Even though traps are a negative experience for the characters, they should be a positive experience for the players! I cannot stress this enough. My players have fun discovering, thwarting, and even sometimes getting caught by the traps I place in my dungeon, because they are placed in a fair and logical manner that doesn’t make them afraid to walk down any ten-foot stretch of hallway without first tediously checking for traps. Think of traps like the “inverse” of puzzles: rather than solving a problem for a reward, they are solving a problem to avoid a consequence. But the fun of it, for the players, is in the problem-solving! Not in arbitrarily being taxed resources for simply exploring the dungeon, which is what should be encouraged in the first place. While recklessness should be curtailed, exploration and interaction is the point of the game!

If traps can be detected and evaded by interaction, what’s the point of rolls? In my home games, we rarely roll to detect or remove traps. In a strict interpretation of the rules, a thief’s chance to find or remove traps is for small, mechanical traps such as a poison needle trap in a lock, essentially traps that are difficult to detect or disarm by interacting with the world. Regardless, I find myself using less of these types of traps and therefore encroaching on the thief’s design space a bit, so I suggest giving the thief some buffs here and there to even it out.

I encourage you to roll on this table a few times and post any traps you come up with in the comments. On the screen are a few examples from myself. You can also create your own tables to generate unique traps, and I’d love to see any you come up with yourself, so please post them in the comments as well. Thank you for watching!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Cave Generator

Here is a cave generator I made, for use in your hexcrawl campaigns.

To generate a cave, first draw an entrance tunnel 30-60 ft in length. Then, roll a d20/d12/d10 for a large/medium/small cave system as well as a d6 and consult the following table. I recommend using 10sq/in graph paper for a large cave system.

Click to enlarge.

  There is also a sub-table for Chambers:

 Click to enlarge.

I will explain things roughly in the order they appear, first for the main table and then for the chamber sub-table, unless I feel they are self-explanatory:

  • Tunnels narrow on a roll of 1 on a d6 and widen on a roll of 6. In a normal cave tunnel, two man-sized beings can walk abreast and upright. After narrowing once, it may only be passed through one abreast. After narrowing again, man-sized creatures must crawl on their hands and knees. Armor and backpacks will make this more difficult. Narrowing a further time means that only a halfling-sized character wearing no armor or backpack can squeeze through on their belly, and must save vs. paralysis or become stuck (lethal).
  • The d12 rolled to determine a curving passageway uses a "clock face" system. If the direction indicated by the d12 is back the way the party came, the passageway does a hairpin turn. If the direction indicated by the d12 is the way the party is currently going, the passageway does two tight hairpin turns to form an "S" and continues in the direction it was originally going.
  • A gentle slope is a mere feature of the cave and will not bring characters to a new level, unless it continues for 120ft. or longer.
  • For a chamber, roll the d20/d12/d10 twice to determine its width and height, taking note of how many exits there are (for example, rolls of 3 and 10 would mean a chamber 30ft by 40ft with two exits). Roll a d12 to place the exits around the chamber (which are generally round). If an exit should be placed where an exit already is, that exit is now hidden (e.g. it is a small crack in the wall that can be found and squeezed through, hidden behind a stalagmite, & c.)
  • When stocking a chamber, "faction" indicates the monster or type of monster whose lair it is, if applicable. Otherwise, use the wandering monster table. Here is an example of a wandering monster table appropriate for caves:
      1. Beetle, Fire
      2. Dwarf
      3. Goblin
      4. Green Slime
      5. Kobold
      6. Lizard, Gecko
      7. Orc
      8. Shrew, Giant
      9. Skeleton
      10. Snake, Cobra
      11. Spider, Crab
      12. Faction

Saturday, March 20, 2021

How to Hexcrawl

This information can be found in video form here. The video goes into more depth with more examples and visuals.


You will need:

  • A one-inch three-ring binder
  • Clear plastic insert sheets
  • Graph paper, about 4sq/in.
  • Some hex graph paper (available for free online, around 15 hexes by 18 hexes is fine for your first map)*
  • Colored pencils
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Wet-erase marker

 An invaluable resource is Judges' Guild's 1977 "Wilderlands of High Fantasy" but it is not strictly necessary.


    1. Set up a calendar section in your binder. On one page, list six months with space in between them (can put six months on the back as well for a full year). Write down future events as necessary. On the next page, list the month at the top and write down the days going vertically, as well as a column for weather and a column for weekdays. Generate weather using your preferred method beforehand. Next to the days, note any upcoming events. Check days off as they pass.

     2. Have some tables to generate hex features on the fly. "Wilderlands of High Fantasy" has some fantastic tables for this, but you can also make your own or pull them from blogs. I use a broad table to determine if a feature is natural, manmade, or magical in nature, and sub-tables to determine the feature itself (e.g. a hollow tree, a ruins, a fairy ring)

    3. One two-page "spread" should be composed of your hexmap and its key. The spread before that can be your random encounter tables (X57 and X58 in Moldvay Expert, or your own).

    4. Use colored pencils to make terrain on your hexmap, and a pen with black ink to show rivers. Dashed lines are roads, and dotted lines are trails (or whatever makes sense to you). Six miles per hex is the standard we will be using.

    5. Put numbers in your hexes for features, and write the associated feature on your key in a numbered list.

    6. If a feature requires more description (including a map), insert a page after your key, write the number of the feature on it, and describe the hex. In this way you may insert hexes as they are fleshed out, which is why a three-ring is superior than a marble notebook.

    7. Create a rumor table regarding the features on your hexmap.


  • The players have "movement points" equal to their miles per day divided by how many miles each hex is. E.g.: 18mi/day movement and 6mi hexes = 3 movement points.
  • Each hex costs a number of movement points to move INTO.
    • Clear terrain (plains, farmland) = 1 point
    • Rough terrain (forest, hills) = 2 points
    • Very rough terrain (swamp, mountains) = 3 points
  • ONE point may "roll over" to the next day (if players end the day with one movement point left over, they have one additional movement point to use the next day)


  1. Describe the players' surroundings (features in the hex and the terrain of the surrounding hexes)
  2. Players decide on a direction
  3. Check for lost chance (d12):
    1. Veer 60 degrees clockwise
    2. Veer 60 degrees counter-clockwise
    3. Veer 120 degrees clockwise (only in rough and very rough)
    4. Veer 120 degrees counter-clockwise (only in rough and very rough)
    5. Move backwards 1 hex (only in very rough)
    6. Lose a day of travel (only in very rough)
    7. - 12. No change.
  4.  Check for encounters
    • X-in-6: 1 for clear, 2 for rough, 3 for very rough
    • Check encounter time: morning (hex they start in), noon (halfway through their movement points), evening (hex they end in), night (hex they end in, spellcasters cannot prepare spells the next day).
    • Check "% in Lair", if Lair, generate Lair and add to key
  5. Moving into a featureless hex = 1-in-20 chance to generate a feature
  6. Describe surroundings again and continue to move players until movement points are exhausted, then begin a new day (check off a day on your calendar). ONLY CHECK FOR LOST/ENCOUNTERS PER DAY, NOT PER MOVE
  • Track movement using wet-erase marker on plastic sleeve
  • Eschew lost chance if navigating using rivers to navigate or terrain is familiar
  • Remember that combat scale is in yards, not feet, in the wilderness
  • Check for follower morale if extremely demoralizing things happen. Failing by a great margin might result in mutiny.


    Players may spend movement points to have an X-in-Y chance of finding a feature, where X is movement points spent and Y is 6 for clear terrain, 8 for rough terrain, and 10 for very rough terrain. Hunting may be done in the same way, with 6/8/10 being for teeming with wildlife / normal / sparsely populated rather than terrain roughness. If found, generate a feature perhaps with some treasure and add it to the key. Some features may be pre-generated and decided to be hidden and keyed on the map. These features should generally have rumors leading to them, and some reward for finding them.


*NB this is about one-sixth of the size of the original Outdoor Survival map, about 45x36 hexes.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Generating and Advancing a Church

Churches are primarily a method for players to acquire healing and restorative services that may otherwise be beyond their ability. They may also be a place for players to hire low-level clerics as henchmen. However, churches may also be a place for players to spend treasure in return for perks, and strengthen players' relationship to their town. This is not only an immediate benefit for players, but also serves as a "gold sink" and a place for players to spend their treasure.

What follows is mere suggestion. The core mechanic is to attract more powerful clerics to lead churches by donating gold. Cleric scrolls, holy orders, and artefacts are options to "flesh out" advancement of religious institutions.

Consider the following table:

Click to enlarge.

Level is merely an abstraction for the Referee. A typical town will have a church in the range of level 3-5. Level 6 churches will probably be reserved for the capitals of major cities, and a level 7 church may well be the seat of religious power in an entire county.

Title is a suggestion and may be ignored, as any title is an acceptable way to refer to such religious institutions (e.g. in this article I will use "Church" as a generic term.)

Donations is the value in GP which players must give freely to the church (i.e. NOT in exchange for goods and services) before a leader is attracted (qv.) - these values, unlike XP, are NOT cumulative! E.g. if players donate 12,000gp to turn a Temple into a Church, they will need another 25,000gp in donations to turn that Church into a Basilica, NOT 13,000gp!

A leader is an NPC cleric who will be attracted within 2d4 months of reaching the minimum donations value to attain the next level. He will bring with him any cleric scrolls, holy orders, and artefacts as commensurate with level (qv.)

Any given institution will have cleric scrolls with cleric spells on them. These scrolls are not for sale and are prized relics, not for use.

Holy orders are troops (0-level militiamen) that can be raised in defense of the church. One in ten troops will be a cleric two levels lower than the current leader.

Artefact attracted is a yearly chance for a magic item (weapon, armor, or otherwise holy relic) to be recovered or sent to the church. This item is stored in a church's reliquary, which is usually heavily guarded. Use this same percentage chance to check and see if a leader has an artefact with him when he is first attracted to the church. Like scrolls, these artefacts will rarely be given willingly, even for exorbitant sums of money.

Churches will have half of their donations in wealth as cash (or expensive plates, gems, gold-trimmed robes and mitres, baculi, & c.); the other half will be put into improving the facilities, e.g. stained-glass windows, organs, bell towers, statues, & c.

A church of significant standing may also house a mausoleum for the noble families of the town or city.

The leader of the church will perform clerical spells for a price. The following chart is a suggestion as to the spells available, frequency, and price. Note that spells are cumulative, i.e. a Vicar will also offer level-1 spells such as Cure Light Wounds.

Click to enlarge.


The town of Fresh Water has a small cobblestone temple to St. Katharine, overseen by the Vicar, Edmond. A party of adventurers donates 12,000gp to the church. The referee rolls 2d4 and finds that it will take 4 months for a new leader to be attracted. In the meantime, the temple to St. Katharine installs stained glass windows and purchases an organ, worth a total of 6,000gp. After 4 months, the Curate Theodore arrives in Fresh Water to preach at the newly renovated Church of St. Katharine. He has with him a retinue of 12 men, one of whom is an acolyte, and three Holy Pages (cleric scrolls). The referee checks to see if Theodore has brought a holy artefact with him, but finds that he does not. The referee checks to see if the Church of St. Katharine attracts a holy artefact this year, and also finds that it does not.

After a few more months of adventuring, the players have donated an additional 25,000gp to the Church of St. Katharine, and the referee again rolls 2d4 and finds that an Elder will come to the Church in a mere 2 months! When the Elder Dominicus arrives, masons are hard at work adding an entire new wing to what has now come to be known as the Basilica of Holy Katharine. Dominicus brings with him an additional six scrolls and a retinue of 50 men, 5 of whom are acolytes. Dominicus is a powerful cleric and can not only Bless and Cure Light Wounds as can Edmond and Theodore, but also Cure Diseases and Remove Curses, although he will only perform these services monthly, and for a hefty fee of 10,000gp per cast. Again, the referee determines that Dominicus has not brought an artefact with him; however, the referee does determine that the Basilica of St. Katharine does attract an artefact this year. He rolls a d12 and finds that it will come in 5 months and notes as such on his calendar. Five months later, an epopt arrives bearing a +1 mace (+3 against undead) in a jeweled case - the legendary mace of Roche, thought to be lost in a crusade 200 years ago.

Monday, August 3, 2020


Confused by retainer rules, I wrote something to help myself keep the categories straight. I hope you find it helpful.

  • RETAINER: A general term for any NPC who a PC has hired. Retainers usually fall into three broad categories: HIRELINGS, SPECIALISTS, and MERCENARIES
    • HIRELING: A hireling will follow PCs on dungeon and wilderness adventures. Hirelings will demand a base pay rate, and if expected to go into a dungeon, will also demand a share of treasure.
    • SPECIALIST: A specialist will not follow PCs on adventures, and depending on the type of specialist, will demand payment per job or monthly. Rarely, a specialist may agree to enter a dungeon only if safe passage is guaranteed.
    • MERCENARY: A mercenary will follow PCs on wilderness adventures, but will not enter dungeons. Mercenaries will demand monthly pay rates, and those rates are doubled in times of war or if being sent into battle.

NB: By AD&D terms, "Hireling" is a more general term that refers to any NPC a PC has hired, while "Henchman" refers to those employed who will enter dungeons and fight.   

Ulf the Fighter is exploring a flooded catacombs a half-day's ride to the east. He needs someone to watch his mount, as it refuses to descend the steep stairs to enter the dungeon with him. He hires Bob at a base pay rate of 1gp per day to ride out with him and watch his mount while he is exploring the catacombs. Because Bob is not expected to follow Ulf into the dungeon, he is not guaranteed a share of treasure.

While exploring the catacombs, Ulf is surprised by a pack of skeletons. He barely escapes with his life, and resolves to hire an acolyte to help him deal with the undead. He hires Alice the Acolyte at a base pay rate of 5gp per day to ride out with him and Bob and explore the catacombs with him. Because Alice is expected to fight, he offers Alice a 25-75 split of any treasure found. Alice counter-offers an even split, to which Ulf agrees. Ulf also must outfit Alice for the journey, and pays for rations, a mount, chainmail, a shield, some holy water, some torches, a sling, and a mace. At the last second, Ulf decides to outfit Alice with a suit of plate armor instead of chain mail, for which Alice is grateful. Alice, Bob, and Ulf ride out to the catacombs and Bob watches the horses while Alice and Ulf explore the catacombs. They dispatch the skeletons and recover an amulet worth 1600gp. Upon returning to town, Ulf gains 800xp (1600xp split between two people) and Alice gains 400xp (50% of 1600/2, as Alice is a hireling she only gains half a share of XP). Ulf is able to sell the amulet at the local moneychanger for 1,050gp. He gives Alice 550gp, even though he only owes her 525gp per their agreement. This tip pleases Alice, and considering he also paid for a suit of full plate, she is eager to adventure with Ulf again.

Months later, Ulf has conquered the catacombs, with the exception of an unexplored room sealed behind a large metal door with a complicated lock. Ulf has also recovered a locked iron chest from the catacombs which he has been unable to open. He resolves to hire the town locksmith to open the chest for him, and to ask if the locksmith will also help him with the door in the dungeon. The locksmith agrees to open the chest for Ulf, asking for 50gp and half of whatever is found in the chest. Ulf refuses, offering 75gp. The locksmith says that his usual rate is 100gp per job, and Ulf agrees. After opening the chest (some potions and scrolls are within), Ulf asks the locksmith if he would agree to opening the door deep within the dungeon. Although Ulf has conquered most of the dungeon, the locksmith refuses, as the door is far too deep in the dungeon for him to agree. Ulf proposes that he dig a tunnel directly to the door, bypassing most of the dungeon, and the locksmith says that if Ulf accomplishes this, the locksmith will pick the lock for ten times his normal rate - 1,000gp.

Ulf then sets out to dig a tunnel from the first floor of the dungeon to the fourth, where the door is. He shows up to the dwarven miners' guild and explains his situation, asking to hire a team of dwarven engineers. Ulf's accurate dungeon map allows the guild to estimate that the job will take two months for a team of five to complete. As the miners are journeymen of the guild, they charge quite a hefty fee: 1,000gp per dwarf per month! They also demand that their base camp be protected by a team of mercenaries, so they don't have to fear the roving bands of wolves and barbarians that patrol the wilderness outside the catacombs. Ulf reluctantly agrees, and sets out to hire mercenaries, mourning the 10,000gp he is going to have to spend to dig such a tunnel.

Ulf hires thirty men: Fifteen pikemen in leather, ten crossbowmen in leather, and five medium horse, mounted and clad in chain.
  • Pikemen: 3gp/month x 15 = 45gp/month
  • Crossbowmen: 2gp/month x 10 = 20gp/month
  • Medium horse: 4gp/month x 5 = 20gp/month
The mercenaries cost him a total of 85gp per month, so he expects to pay 170gp for the two-month job. He also hires a team of porters to set up the camp for the dwarven miners: ten porters, hired for a week, comes out to two and a half gp while the camp is set up.

After a month, war breaks out in the east! The mercenaries re-negotiate their contract (as they are now in high demand), and Ulf winces as he must pay them double their rate for the second month. In total, he will have spent 255gp on his mercenaries over two months. The dwarves, who have been kept happy and productive with a steady supply of barrels of ale that Ulf has been hiring carters to bring to the camp, finish their job a week early, and Ulf need only pay them three quarters of their monthly rate for the second month (he keeps the mercenaries on-hand for the extra week as he enjoys the addded protection). At long last, Ulf can attempt to open the metal door!

The locksmith, paid 500gp in advance and escorted by Ulf and a team of hirelings, enters the tunnel and sets to work opening the lock. Rejoice - behind the door is the treasure rooms of the catacombs! Gold and jewels are stacked in piles to the ceiling - a veritable kings' ransom. The hirelings Ulf has brought with them are struck by greed, and begin stuffing their bags with as much treasure as they can carry, even though they were not promised a share of treasure, as escorting the locksmith through empty tunnels was judged to be a particularly safe venture. Enraged, Ulf cuts them down. He stuffs their bodies into some empty coffins in the catacombs, and thrusts a sackful of jewels (worth far, far more than the remaining 500gp he owes him) into the hands of the locksmith. "Terrible business," Ulf says, "that treasure being magically trapped, eh?" The locksmith gets Ulf's drift, and mutely nods.

For the next seven days, Ulf carefully tabulates the treasure in the room and hires a team of porters to help him carry it back to town. One of the porters was caught nicking silver he thought wouldn't be missed, and Ulf takes his left hand in front of the other porters. No problems with thievery after that.

With his riches, Ulf purchases a large estate. He permanently employs a team of mercenaries to patrol his lands and keep them safe, paying them their base rate. Occasionally, he must put down a rebellion by his more recalcitrant vassals, and doubles the rate at which he pays his mercenaries as he sends them to battle. He dies in his sleep at the ripe old age of 78, having sired many sons.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Generating an Inn

In the previous article, I wrote about generating a town roughly analogous to the town found in T1: The Village of Hommlet. This is a guide to creating an inn and tavern.

An inn will have another d4 employees in addition to whatever employees are rolled as a "wealthy house." (see previous article)

In addition to the treasure rolled as a "wealthy house," which is stored in the innkeeper's private room, there will be 1d100 each of copper, silver, gold, and electrum as well as d20 pieces of platinum "on hand." This number represents cash on hand during a busy night, so there will be less in the mornings, as cash is usually taken and deposited in the innkeeper's private room at the end of each night. The innkeeper's quarters is not counted among the private bedrooms for rent.

An Inn generally has about eight private bedrooms, in addition to a suite, dormitory, and spare room where employees may sleep. Larger inns will have more, while smaller inns will have fewer.

Dormitories will have 2d6 occupants in them and can hold up to about 12 people. They are generally first-come, first-serve, so grab a bed before you're forced to sleep in the stables!

About half of the rooms in an inn will be taken up by guests: 3-in-4 chance of one guest, 1-in-4 chance of two. One in four occupied rooms will have wealthy occupants. If a suite is occupied (special 1-in-6 chance), the occupant(s) is always wealthy. Change out these occupants every week or two. Wealthy occupants may stay longer, or anyone interested in faction politics.

Regular occupants typically will have about 100GP per HD and a chance for gems, jewelry, and magic items commensurate with Treasure Type U (5% 1d4 gems, 5% 1d4 jewelry, 2% 1 magic item).

Wealthy occupants, who generally have more than 1 HD (add 1d6 HD), will typically have about 1,000GP per HD and a chance for gems, jewelry, and magic items commensurate with Treasure Type B (25% 1d6 gems, 25% 1d6 jewelry, and 10% 1 magic sword, suit of armor, or weapon). Wealthy occupants should nearly always take an interest in faction politics. Extremely wealthy and powerful occupants may travel with a personal bodyguard.

Neither wealthy nor regular occupants typically carry great amounts of cash on them, and treasure indicated by their roll will usually be found in the form of gems, rings, and other pieces of treasure that are easy to conceal and carry. These items will be well-hidden, and wealthy occupants may even trap their cache.

All guests are armed as indicated in the previous post. Some guests may be wizards, clerics, or demihumans as the referee desires, and will be equipped thusly. Wealthy fighting-man occupants typically have chain armor or better.

Below is a generic cost sheet for inns and taverns; it may be adjusted to your liking.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Generating a Keyed Village

Having spent the last few weeks poring over T1: The Village of Hommlet, here is a method to generate generic households in a village. These are appropriate for farmers, wainwrights, cabinetmakers, & c. I have done the math and the houses generated thusly will be mostly in line with what one would find in T1.

Step One:

Roll three different-colored d6 dice and two different-colored pairs of d8 dice (3d6+4d8)

Each house has...
  • A 4-in-6 chance of having d6 children 
  • A 1-in-6 chance of having d3 dogs
  • A 1-in-6 chance of being wealthy
Wealthy houses roll on a special treasure table and are generally the houses of moneychangers, traders, nobles, and clergy. For now, simply mark these houses with a '$' symbol. See step four.

Consult this 2d8 table to see how many adult men and women are in the household:

Step Two:

Stock the house with treasure and find a place to hide it. NB: Gems and jewelry are assumed to have values given on page B47 of Moldvay Basic. Gems and jewelry can have an unassigned value until recovery, if the Referee desires.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Step Three:
Arm the fighting-aged men. Roll a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. Each fighting-aged man in chain has a 1-in-6 chance of having +1d4 HD.
Click to enlarge.

Step Four:

Using your wealthy houses, assign the following roles:
  1. Nobility
  2. Inn
  3. Clergy
  4. Moneychanger
  5. Merchant
Any leftover wealthy houses are also merchants (4-in-6), heads of guilds or minor nobility (1-in-6), or otherwise extremely skilled craftsmen (1-in-6). Depending on the governmental structure of your village, these wealthy individuals may hold pull with the nobility. There should generally be no more than five to ten wealthy houses, depending on the size of your town.

There is typically only one moneychanger per town. If there are multiple churches due to your milieu being polytheistic, split the treasure somewhat evenly between them.

IN ADDITION TO their normal treasure rolls, wealthy houses also roll on the following treasure table:
  • d6 x 1,000 gp
  • d4 x 100 pp
  • d6 HIGH-VALUE gems (these gems are worth d6x200gp ea)
  • 75% chance of d4 pieces of HIGH-VALUE jewelry (worth d6x1,000gp ea)
  • 10% chance any two magic items
The town moneychanger will have twice this amount, and a store of at least 1,000 cp, sp, and ep (convert gold into these rather than in addition to treasure already generated)

A merchant will have half this amount, rounded down (10% chance of any ONE magic item, and usually not for sale).

The majority of gp in a wealthy house will not be cash, but rather paintings, expensive silverware, luxurious rugs, rare spices. Cash and gems are always hidden away. Churches typically have wealth in the form of rare religious artifacts.

For each wealthy house:
  • Re-roll chance for dogs if there are no dogs
  • 50% chance of having a guard (d3 HD)
  • d4-1 (0-3) servants, employees, or apprentices
  • Each fighting-aged man has a 50/50 chance of having +d4 HD
Step Five:
Consult 1d100 names (printable link) and assign livelihoods commensurate with material wealth. Farmers, smiths, weavers, tailors, carters, cabinetmakers, potters, herdsmen, millers, wainwrights, carpenters, brewers, and stonesmasons are all staples of such towns. One can hold off on generating names for unimportant NPCs until asked.

Step Six:

Refer to my article on in-town factions and assign some villagers a faction. Five in six households have no interest in faction politics. Wealthy houses almost always do.

In Part II, I go over creating an Inn & Tavern. Click here to read it.

A Treatise on Traps

 This post is available in video form on my YouTube channel (opens in a new window).       Click to enlarge     Here is a simple 3d6 table t...