Friday, February 22, 2013

Places. . .

"The Unitarians gather secretly in this place. They are Zealots seeking to overthrow the Messiah --you'll never know if the people you meet on the street may be one of Them. I have seen June the Baker bring bundles of her provisions in here prior to the gatherings -- perhaps you should start by speaking with her. . ."
-Aludra Al-Burhan, Street Merchant in the Southerly Slums


This image captures the Lawful Goodness of the Paladins from the All-One Church


Here is my next post on Dungeoneering and Citycrawling that will form the basis of the initial iteration of Sophia's Children. As with the previous couple of posts on this topic, much of what I am writing will be forming as I write it. I am open to whatever feedback anyone may wish to provide on this as well, though I am cognizant of the small audience my blog currently has. Here we go!

Places


Places are procedurally generated in a similar manner to People. As with People, some Places are Unique and will have a specific description tagged to it. Places can be Empty, contain Clues, be Trapped and have Secrets. As with my posting on People, let's begin with a simple 1d6 Roster for our beginning Level of the Asylum Underhalls. Along with this Roster are two Unique tags using Roman numerals: these are specific places on the Level that have a Unique description that is not generated using the Roster.

#1:
A room: empty, but for dust, dirt and the scent of mold. (Empty.)
#2:
In the center of this chamber is a long-dead corpse of a man, who lays upon a steel pressure-plate that has been depressed. Above the the corpse, in the ceiling, is a small iron grate. (Clue.)
#3:
This chamber contains, in one corner, a steel cage behind which is a large treasure chest. There is no obvious manner in which to open the steel cage -- but a rung of large steel chain links run from the cage into an opening in the walls. (Secret.)
#4:
In the center of this chamber is a raised dais with a large lever. When pulling this lever there is a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. Pulling this lever also raises the cage in Roster #3. (Secret.)
#5:
In the center of this chamber is a large steel pressure-plate. In the ceiling is a small iron grate. If pressed there will be a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. If anybody is in the room at the end of five minutes the room is filled with a Poison gas that emanates from a grate above the pressure plate. (Trap.)
#6:
This room contains several piles of rubbish. If these piles are searched through, several old coins of silver will be found in rotten pouches. (Secret.)
I:
This is a long-abandoned records-room. Some of the records are still legible. If searched through there will be a record about certain patients being left locked within their cells upon building new floors above the old floors. There are also records of the mechanisms developed by the old wardens to dispatch unrehabilitatable patients in various ways.
II:
This used to be a records-room, but it appears to have been ransacked at some point in its history. There are some legible papers regarding the mental, medical and spiritual states of patients long ago held in this place.

This Dungeon Level is coded to a nodal grid that looks like this (Figure 1):



When moving into a blank Node, a roll on the Roster for Places is performed -- that's what's in that Node. When moving into a Node with a numeral, the indicated location beneath the Roster is used.

Expanding the Principle


By itself, this creates a degree of modularity and we have a basic procedural method for generating rooms. As with People, let's create some method by which the Roster items Shift or Point to another Roster item.

#1:
A room: empty, but for dust, dirt and the scent of mold. (Empty.)
#2:
1st: In the center of this chamber is a long-dead corpse of a man, who lays upon a steel pressure-plate that has been depressed. Above the the corpse, in the ceiling, is a small iron grate. (Clue.)
2nd: In the center of this chamber is a large steel pressure-plate. In the ceiling is a small iron grate. If pressed there will be a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. If anybody is in the room at the end of five minutes the room is filled with a poison gas that emanates from a grate above the pressure plate. (Trap.)
3rd: Go to 1st.
#3:
1st: This chamber contains, in one corner, a steel cage behind which is a large treasure chest. There is no obvious manner in which to open the steel cage -- but a rung of large steel chain links run from the cage into an opening in the walls. (Secret.)
2nd: Go to #4.
#4:
1st: In the center of this chamber is a raised dais with a large lever. When pulling this lever there is a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. Pulling this lever also raises the cage in Roster #3, 1st. (Secret.)
2nd: Go to #5.
#5:
1st: In the center of this chamber is a large steel pressure-plate. In the ceiling is a small iron grate. If pressed there will be a loud grinding sound in the distance that lasts for five minutes. If anybody is in the room at the end of five minutes the room is filled with a Poison gas that emanates from a grate above the pressure plate. (Trap.)
2nd: This room is empty, except for a large metal grate in the floor. If inspected, a foul odor is behind the grate that causes whoever is inspecting it to become Sick. (Clue + Trap.)
3rd: Go to #6.
#6:
This room contains several piles of rubbish. If these piles are searched through, several old coins of silver will be found in rotten pouches. (Secret.)
I:
This is a long-abandoned records-room. Some of the records are still legible. If searched through there will be a record about certain patients being left locked within their cells upon building new floors above the old floors. There are also records of the mechanisms developed by the old wardens to dispatch unrehabilitatable patients in various ways.
II:
This is used to be a records-room, but it appears to have been ransacked at some point in its history. There are some legible papers regarding the mental, medical and spiritual states of patients long ago held in this place.

Putting it Together


So, let's see what this may look like by way of a narrative:

The PCs enter the Asylum Underhalls and encounter Room I, where they discover old records and details about old traps and locked-away patients.
They move to the south, a normal room that is rolled upon the Roster as #4. They see the large lever on the dais, but do nothing with it -- being wary.
The proceed to the north and west, and #4 is again rolled on the Roster. Since they had already encountered the 1st instance of this Roster item, the 2nd instance is indicated -- which points to Roster item #5. They see the large pressure plate in the middle of the room and, after examining the room more closely, notice the grate in the ceiling. Heeding the warnings in the documents they perused earlier, they do not press the pressure plate, but proceed to the north.
In this room Roster #6 is rolled. They see the rubbish strewn about and search, finding some old silver coins -- this should help afford any repairs their equipment may need if they encounter any of the Ghastly denizens rumored to be in these Underhalls!

I think that this System is coming together a bit more. In my next post on this topic I will talk about Things -- the "stuff" that can be encountered in a Dungeon that is not People or Places.

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