Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tombs, Crypts, & Other Smaller Scale Dungeon Adventure locations Using The Dragon magazine issue #9 from 1977.

Having a campaign element in mind sometimes means going back to the collective well of Dungeons & Dragons original goodness for adventure advice & elements. In this case its reaching back into the archives of Casa De Fabiaschi & pulling out The Dragon magazine issue #9 from 1977.

At first it doesn't seem all that important an issue but let's look a bit deeper into those contents shall we from Wayne's Books Dragon magazine index;
DM's Brew (Mixing Alignments in D&D) by Gary Gygax; The Finzer Family (concluding a tale of Modern Magic) by H.O. Fischer; From the Fantasy Forge (new figures reviewed); Seal of the Imperium (Empire of the Petal Throne) by M.A.R. Barker; Fastest Guns That Never Lived, pt. 2 (adding movie greats to Boot Hill); Tombs & Crypts (preparing those "special" hoards in D&D) by Jim Ward; Comix Cache (humor section); more. The article 'Tombs & Crypts' (preparing those "special" hoards in D&D) by Jim Ward is the one that I've been looking for for the last day or so. At the center of an upcoming adventure I've got a treasure residing within a tomb that the entire adventure centers around. The article provides a simple but very effective system that can be used for older editions of Dungeons & Dragons or as Mr Ward states;
"The mystery, challenge and pleasure of any wargamer in discovering and opening a tomb of some unknown being is well known to those that have done it. The creation of these tombs can be a very drawn out, head scratching process for the judge. I have created a set of graphs to ease this creation process. The top row of numbers in the first graph stand for the following: 1. Soldier, 2. Hero, 3. Priest, 4. Pair, 5. Mated. Pair, 6. Lord, 7. King, 8. Patriarch, 9. EHP, 10. Magic User, 11. Wizard, 12. Being."One thing I've always loved about James Ward's writing its straight to the point with little adjective laden manure. Tombs are simple & super effective adventure setting that have a few advantages over other adventure locations. Tombs can be played within an evening & there's some advantages to using only a simple guardian monster or two along with some tricks or traps. Tombs & crypts are perfect meeting places for cults or as undead lairs.

Players seem to respect the usual dungeons & mega dungeon campaign locations but tombs offer a closer urban or rural alternative to the usual run of the mill adventure locations. They can also be filled with many monsters to keep the players guessing. The system for creating special hoards by Mr. Ward has some true advantages for the dungeon master looking to change things up a bit for the players. I think one disavantage of the OSR movement has been the fact that many of the various random tables, treasure generators,etc. present within the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide have become far too well known. This means that we as dungeon masters have to go a bit further afield or become more creative for the great game that we all know & love. 

The tomb or crypt as undead lair conjures up all kinds of images but there's lots of opportunities to present a fuller & much more dangerous tomb or lair. Where is the treasure coming from & why is the monster hunting to gain it.  Motives for the monsters is only a small part of the adventure opportunity offered by these locations. Here's ten reasons why tombs make fantastic adventure location: 

  1. Tombs & crypts are only a small part of the compete package of a campaign setting & in fact be used as a candy sampler of the upcoming adventures within a campaign. Adventure elements & monsters can be used as a mini preview of coming adventure attractions. 
  2. Tombs offer a perfect base for a mid level or lower tier boss monster to confound or try to outright slay the PC's. 
  3. Crypts are the perfect location for cults to operate from especially rich vile villains using his family crypt as a base. 
  4. Crypts & tombs also are perfect locations for post apocalyptic games such as Mutant Future or Gamma World 
  5. These places are the perfect areas to place the local relic or artifact because one of the previous owners had the thing buried with them. 
  6. Tombs & Crypts can also be the prefect spot for lone assassins to operate from with a campaign. 
  7. Tombs & crypts make perfect meeting spots for thieves guilds. 
  8. Some abandoned  tombs & crypts are the perfect location for dark druids to use as grove points. 
  9. These locations are the perfect spot for drop points & cache points for spies. These locations are perfect for PC's to stumble upon. 
  10. Tombs & Crypts force player's to all always think on their feet. The unexpected is right around the corner. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.