Unlike most games, AD&Dis
an ongoing collection of episode adventures,
each of which constitutes a session of play.
You, as the DM, are about to embark on a new career, that of universe maker.
You will order the universe and direct the activities in each game,
becoming one of the elite group of campaign referees referred to as DMs in the vernacular of AD&D.
What lies ahead will require the use of all of your skill,
put a strain on your imagination,
bring your creativity to the fore,
test your patience,
and exhaust your free time.
Being a DM is no matter to be taken lightly!
Your campaign requires the above from you,
and participation by your players.
To belabor an old saw, Rome wasn't built in a day.
You are probably just learning, so take small steps at first.
The milieu for initial adventures should be kept to a size commensurate with the needs of campaign participants --
your available time as compared with the demands of the players.
This will typically result in your giving them a brief background,
placing them in a settlement,
and stating that they should prepare themselves to find and explore the dungeon/ruin they know is nearby.
As background you inform them that they are from some nearby place where they were apprentices learning their respective professions,
that they met by chance in an inn or tavern and resolved to journey together to seek their fortunes in the dangerous environment,
beyond the knowledge common to the AREA (speech, alignments, races, and the like),
they know nothing of the world.
Placing these new participants in a small settlement means that you need do only minimal work describing the place and its inhabitants.
Likewise, as PCs are inexperienced,
a single dungeon || ruins map will suffice to begin play.
After a few episodes of play,
you and your campaign participants will be ready for expansion of the milieu.
The territory around the settlement --
likely the "home" city || town of the adventurers,
other nearby habitations, wilderness areas, and whatever else you determine is right for the AREA --
should be sketch-mapped,
and places likely to become settings for play actually done in detail.
At this time it is probable that you will have to have a large scale map of the whole continent or sub-continent involved,
some rough outlines of the political divisions of the place,
notes on predominant terrain features,
indications of the distribution of creature types,
and some plans as to what conflicts are likely to occur.
you will have to create the social and ecological parameters of a good part of a make-believe world.
The more painstakingly this is done,
the more "real" this creation will become.
Eventually, as PCs develop and grow powerful,
they will explore and adventure over all of the AREA of the continent.
When such activity begins,
you must then broaden your general map still farther so as to encompass the whole globe.
You must begin to consider seriously the makeup of your entire multiverse --
space, planets and their satellites, parallel worlds, the dimensions and planes.
What is there?
Can participants in the campaign get there?
By the time your campaign has grown to such a state of sophistication,
you will be ready to handle the new demands.
Eventually, as PCs develop and grow powerful,
explore and adventure over all of the AREA of the continent. When such
activity begins, you must then broaden your general map still farther so as
to encompass the whole globe. More still! You must begin to consider
seriously the makeup of your entire multiverse -- space, planets and their
satellites, parallel worlds, the dimensions and planes. What is there? Why?
can participants in the campaign get there? How? Will they? Never fear! By
the time your campaign has grown to such a state of sophistication, you
will be ready to handle the new demands.
Question: How can
I spice up my D&D game?
My players, as well as myself, are tired of going on dungeon && outdoor adventures.
I don’t have any city maps and I really don’t want to bother with them, so what else is there left to do?
Answer: Well, you
can ask your players what they would like to do.
They probably have all kinds of ideas. In my campaign I had a similar
problem, and now one of my players is trying to become Pope. So, just
ask them. I am sure they would be more than glad to help. Remember,
they are not the enemy. They are your friends and more than likely they
will be glad to stick their nose into the campaign and give you their
advice. It is only human nature to do so.
Setting Things In Motion:
There is nothing wrong with using a prepared
setting to start a campaign,
just as long as you are totally familiar with its precepts and they mesh with
what you envision as the ultimate direction of your own milieu. Whatever
doesn't match, remove from the material and substitute your own in its
place. On the other hand, there is nothing to say you are not capable of
creating your own starting place; just use whichever method is best suited
to your available time and more likely to please your players. Until you
are sure of yourself, lean upon the book. Improvisation might be fine later,
but until you are completely relaxed as the DM, don't run the risk of trying
to "wing it" unless absolutely necessary. Set up the hamlet or village
where the action will commence with the player characters entering and
interacting with the local population. Place regular people, some
"different" and unusual types, and a few non-player characters (NPCs) in
the various dwellings and places of business. Note vital information
particular to each. Stock the goods available to the players. When they
arrive, you will be ready to take on the persona of the settlement as a
whole, as well os that of each individual therein. Be dramatic, witty,
stupid, dull, clever, dishonest tricky, hostile, etc. as the situation demonds.
The players will quickly learn who is who and what is going on - perhaps
at the loss of a few coins. Having handled this, their characters will be
equipped as well as circumstances will allow and will be ready for their
bold journey into the dangerous place where treasure abounds and
The testing grounds for novice adventurers
must be kept to a difficulty
factor which encourages rather than discourages players. If things are too
easy, then there is no challenge, and boredom sets in after one or two
games. Conversely, impossible difficulty and character deaths cause
instant loss of interest. Entrance to and movement through the dungeon
level should be relatively easy, with a few tricks, traps, and puzzles to
make it interesting in itself. Features such as rooms and chambers must be
described with verve and sufficiently detailed in content to make each
seem as if i t were strange and mysterious. Creatures inhabiting the place
must be of strength and in numbers not excessive compared to the odventurers'
wherewithal to deal with them. (You may, ot this point, refer to
the sample dungeon level and partial encounter key.)
The general idea is to develop a dungeon
of multiple levels, and the
deeper adventurers go, the more difficult the challenges become -
fiercer monsters, more deadly traps, more confusing mazes, and so forth.
This same concept applies to areas outdoors as well, with more ond
terrible monsters occurring more frequently the further one goes away
from civilization. Many variations on dungeon and wilderness areas are
possible. One can build an underground complex where distance away
from the entry point approximates depth, or it can be in o mountain where
adventurers work upwards. Outdoor adventures can be in a ruined city or a
town which seems normal but is under a curse, or virtually anything
which you can imagine and then develop into a playable situation for your
Whatever you settle upon as a starting
point, be it your own design or one
of the many modular settings which are commercially available,
remember to have some overall plan of your milieu in mind. The
campaign might grow slowly, or it might mushroom. Be prepared for
either event with more adventure areas, and the reasons for everything
which exists and happens. This is not to say that total and absolutely
perfect info will be needed, but a general schema is required.
From this you can give vague hints and ambiguous answers. It is no
exaggeration to state that the fantasy world builds itself, almost as if the
milieu actually takes on a life and reality of its own. This is not to say that
an occult power takes over. It is simply that the interaction of judge and
players shapes the bare bones of the initial creation into something far
larger. It becomes fleshed out, and adventuring breathes life into a make
believe world. Similarly, the geography and history you assign to the
world will suddenly begin to shape the character of states and peoples.
Details of former events will become obvious from mere outlines of the
past course of things. Surprisingly, as the personalities of player characters
and non-player characters in the milieu are bound to develop and become
almost real, the nations and states and events of a well-conceived AD&D
world will take on even more of their own direction and life. What this all
boils down to is thot once the compaign is set in motion, you will become
more of a recorder of events, while the milieu seemingly charts its own
CLIMATE & ECOLOGY
It is of utmost importance to some DMs
to create && design
worlds which are absolutely correct according to the laws of the scientific
realities of our own universe. These individuals will have to look elsewhere
for direction as to how this is to be accomplished, for this is a rule
book, not a text on any subject remotely connected to climatology,
ecology, or any science soft or hard. However, for those who desire only
an interesting and exciting game, some useful info in the way of
advice can be passed along.
Temperature, wind, and rainfall are understood reasonobly well
by most people. The distance from the sun dictates temperature, with the
directness of the sun's rays affecting this also. Cloud cover also is a factor,
heavy clouds trapping heat to cause a "greenhouse effect". Elevation is a
factor, as the higher mountains have less of an atmosphere "blanket".
Bodies of water affect temperature, as do warm or cold currents within
them. Likewise air currents affect temperature. Winds are determined by
rotational direction and thermals. Rainfoll depends upon winds and
available moisture from bodies of water, and temperatures os well. All of
the foregoing are relevant to our world, and should be in a fantasy world,
but the various determinants need not follow the phsical lows of the
earth. A milieu which offers differing climates is quite desirable because
of the variety it affords DM and player alike.
The variety of climes allows you to offer
the whole gomut of human and
monster types to adventurous Characters. It also allows you more creativity
with civilizations, societies and cultures.
Ecology: So many
of the monsters are large predators that it is difficult to
justify their existence in proximity to one another. Of course in dungeon
settings it is possible to have some in stasis or magically kept alive without
hunger, but what of the wilderness? Then too, how do the human and
humanoid populations support themselves? The bottom of the food chain
is vegetation, cultivated grain with respect to people and their ilk. Large
populations in relatively small land areas must be supported by lavish
vegetation. Herd animals prospering upon this growth will support a fair
number of predators. Consider also the tales of many of the most fantastic
and fearsome beasts: what do dragons eat? Humans, of course; maidens
in particular! Dragons slay a lot, but they do not seem to eat all that much.
Ogres and giants enjoy livestock and people too, but at least the more intelligent
sort raise their own cattle so as to guarantee a full kettle.
When you develop your world, leave plenty
of area for cultivation, even
more for wildlife. Indicate the general sorts of creatures inhabiting an
area, using logic with regard to natural balance. This is not to say that you
must be textbook perfect, it is merely a cautionary word to remind you not
to put in too many large carnivores without any visible means of support.
Some participants in your campaign might question the ecology -- particularly
if it does not favor their favorite player characters. You must be
prepared to justify it. [greengineering/education] Here are some suggestions.
Certain vegetation grows very rapidly in
the world -- roots or tubers, a
grass-like plant, or grain. One or more of such crops support many rabbits
or herd animals or wild pigs or people or whatever you like! The vegetation
springs up due to a nutrient in the soil (possibly some element unknown
in the mundane world) and possibly due to the radiation of the sun
as well (see the slight tinge of color which is noticeably different when
compared to Sol? . . . ). A species or two of herbivores which grow
rapidly, breed prolifically, and need but scant nutriment is also suggested.
With these artifices and a bit of care in placing monsters around in the
wilderness, you will probably satisfy all but the most exacting of players and
that one probably should not be playing fantasy games anyway!
Dungeons likewise must be balanced and
justified, or else wildly improbable
and caused by some supernatural entity which keeps the whole
thing running -- or at least has set it up to run until another stops it. In any
event, do not allow either the demands of "realism" or impossible makebelieve
to spoil your milieu. Climate and ecology are simply reminders to
use a bit of care!
The Underground Environment: Ecology
Typical Inhabitants +
SOCIAL CLASS AND RANK IN ADVANCED DUNGEONS
Social Class and Rank in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons +
THE TOWN AND CITY SOCIAL STRUCTURE
The Town and City Social Structure +
There is no question that the prices and
costs of the game are based on
inflationary economy, one where a sudden influx of silver and gold has
driven everything well beyond its normal value. The reasoning behind this
is simple. An active campaign will most certainly bring a steady flow of
wealth into the base area, as adventurers come from successful trips into
dungeon and wilderness. If the economy of the area is one which more
accurately reflects that of medieval England, let us say, where coppers and
silver coins are usual and a gold piece remarkable, such an influx of new
money, even in copper and silver, would cause an inflationory spiral. This
would necessitate you adjusting costs accordingly and then upping
dungeon treasures somewhat to keep pace. If a near-maximum is assumed,
then the economics of the area con remain relatively constant, and
the DM will have to adiust costs only for things in demand or short supply
-weapons, oil, holy water, men-at-arms, whatever.
The economic systems of areas beyond the
more active campaign areas
can be viably based on lesser wealth only until the stream of loot begins to
pour outwards into them. While it is possible to reduce treasure in these
area to some extent so as to prolong the period of lower costs, what kind
of a dragon hoard, for example, doesn't have gold and gems? It is simply
more heroic for players to have their characters swaggering around with
pouches full of gems and tossing out gold pieces than it is for them to have
coppers. Heroic fantasy is made of fortunes and king's ransoms in loot
gained most cleverly and bravely and lost in a twinkling by various means
- thievery, gambling, debauchery, gift-giving, bribes, and so forth. The
"reality" AD&D seeks to create through role playing is that of the mythical
heroes such as Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Kothar, Elric, and their
ilk. When treasure is spoken of, it is more stirring when porticiponts know
it to be TREASURE!
You may, of course, adiust any prices and
costs as you see fit for your own
milieu. Be careful to observe the effects of such changes on both play
balance and player involvement. If any adverse effects are noted, it is
better to return to the tried and true. It is fantastic and of heroic proportions
so as to match its game vehicle.
DUTIES, EXCISES, FEES, TARIFFS, TAXES, TITHES, AND TOLLS
What society can exist without revenues?
What better means of assuring revenues than taxation,
and all of the names used in the title of this section are synonymous with taxes --
but if it is called something different perhaps the populace won't take too much umbrage at having to pay and pay and pay . . .
It is important in most campaigns to take
excess monies away from PCs
and taxation is one of the better means of accomplishing this
end. The form and frequency of taxation depends upon the locale and the
Duties are typically paid on goods brought into a country
or subdivision thereof, so any furs, tapestries, etc. brought into a town for
sale will probably be subject to duty.
Excises are typically sums paid to
belong to a particular profession or practice a certain calling; in addition,
on excise can be levied against foreign currency, for example, in order to
change it into the less remarkable coin of the realm.
Fees con be levied for
just about any reason -- entering a city gate is a good one for non-citizens.
Tariffs are much the same as duties, but let us suppose that this is levied
against only certain items when purchased -- rather a surtax, or it can be
used against goods not covered by the duty list.
Taxes are typically paid
only by residents and citizens of the municipality and include those sums
for upkeep of roods ond streets, walls gates, and municipal expenses for
administration and services. Taxation is not necessarily an annual affair,
for special taxes can be levied whenever needful, particularly upon sales,
services, and foreigners in general.
Tithes are principally religious taxation,
although there is no prohibition against the combination of the
secular with the sacred in the municipality. Thus, a tithe can be extracted
from all sums brought into the community by any resident, the monies
going to the religious organization sponsored by the community or to that
of the character's choosing, at your option. (Of course, any religious
organizations within a municipality will have to pay heavy taxes unless
they are officially recognized by the authorities.) Tolls, finally, are sums
poid for the use of a road, bridge, ferry, etc. They are paid according to the
numbers of persons, animals, carts, wagons, and possibly even materials
If the Gentle Reader thinks that the taxation
he or she currently undergoes
is a trifle strenuous for his or her income, pity the typical European populace
of the Middle Ages. They paid all of the above, tolls being very
frequent, with those trying to escape them by use of a byway being subject
to confiscation of all goods with a fine and imprisonment possible also.
Every petty noble made an extraction, municipalities taxed, and the
sovereign was the worst of all. (Eventually merchants banded together to
form associations to protect themselves from such robbery, but peasants
and other commoners could only revolt and dream of better times.) Barter
was common because hard money was so rare. However, in the typical
fantasy milieu, we deal with great sums of precious metals, so use levies
against player character gains accordingly. Here is an example of a system
which might be helpful to you in developing your own.
The town charges a 1% duty on all normal
goods brought into the place for sale --
foodstuffs, cloth and hides, livestock, raw materials and manufactured goods.
Foreigners must also pay this duty, but at double rate (2%).
Luxury items and precious goods -- wine, spirits, furs, metals such as copper, gold, etc., jewelry and the like --
pay a tariff in addition to the duty,
a 5% of value charge if such are to be sold,
and special forms for sale are then given to the person so declaring his wares
(otherwise no legal sale is possible).
Entry fee into the town is 1 copper piece per head (man or animal) or wheel for citizens,
5 coppers for non-citizens,
unless they hove official passports to allow free entry.
(Diplomatic types have immunity from duties and tariffs as regards their personal goods and belongings.)
Taxes are paid per head,
annually at 1 copper for a peasant,
1 silver for a freeman,
and 1 gold piece for a gentleman or noble;
most foreign residents are stopped frequently and asked for proof of payment,
and if this is not at hand, they must pay again.
In addition, a 10% sales tax is charged to all foreigners, although no service tax is levied upon them.
Religion is not regulated by the municipality,
but any person seeking to gain services from such an organization must typically pledge to tithe.
Finally, several tolls are extended in order to gain access to the main route from and to the municipality --
including the route to the dungeon, of course.
Citizens of the town must pay a 5% tax
on their property in order to defray the costs of the place.
This sum is levied annually.
Citizenship can be obtained by foreigners after residence for one month and the payment of 10 gold pieces (plus many bribes).
The town does not encourage the use of
Merchants and other business people must pay a fine of 5% of the value of any foreign coins within their possession plus face certain confiscation of the coins, so they will typically not accept them.
Upon entering the town non-residents are instructed to go to the Street of the Money Changers in order to trade their foreign money for the copper "cons", silver "nobs", gold "orbs", and platinum "royals".
Exchange rate is a mere 90%,
so for 10 foreign copper pieces 9 domestic copper "commons" are handed out.
Any non-resident with more than 100 silver nobles value in foreign coins in his or her possession is automatically fined 50% of their total value,
unless he or she can prove that entry into the town was within 24 hours,
and he or she was on his or her way to the money changers when stopped.
Transactions involving gems are not uncommon,
but a surtax of 10% is also levied against sales or exchange of precious stones and similar goods.
Citizens of the town must pay a 5% tax
on their property in order to defray
the costs of the place. This sum is levied annually. Citizenship can be
obtained by foreigners after residence for one month and the payment of
10 gold pieces (plus many bribes).
The town does not encourage the use of
foreign currency. Merchants and
other business people must pay a fine of 5% of the value of any foreign
coins within their possession plus face certain confiscation of the coins, so
they will typically not accept them. Upon entering the town non-residents
are instructed to go to the Street of the Money Changers in order to trade
their foreign money for the copper "cons", silver "nobs", gold "orbs", and
platinum "royals". Exchange rote is a mere 90%, so for 10 foreign copper
pieces 9 domestic copper "commons" are handed out. Any non-resident
with more than 100 silver nobles value in foreign coins in his or her
possession is automatically fined 50% of their total value, unless he or she
con prove that entry into the town was within 24 hours, and he or she was
on his or her way to the money changers when stopped. Transactions involving
gems are not uncommon, but a surtax of 10% is also levied against
sales or exchange of precious stones and similar goods.
sales tax = 2.5% or 10% (Luxury Tax, applied to Luxury Items)
inheritance tax = 5%
tariff = average of 1 cp for every 100 lbs. weight of goods
tolls = 1 cp per person/beast/cart or 2 cp per coach/chariot (collected at booths on certain bridges and roads)
Market Tax = 1 cp for every adult and every beast to enter a walled town on the monthly Market Day
Alien Tax = 1 sp per adult (resident aliens), 2 sp per adult (non-resident aliens) [diplomatic personnel are exempt from such taxation]
Spring = Hearth Tax
simple dwelling = 1 cp; simple dwelling in town = 2 cp; simple dwelling in walled town = 6 cp; large dwelling = 1 sp; large dwelling in walled town = 3 sp; inn = 10 sp; manor = 1 gp; castle = 10 gp
Summer = Land Tax
per acre under cultivation = 1 cp; per acre lying fallow = 0.5 cp; per acre of woodland = 0.75 cp; per acre of barren land = 0.25 cp; per acre of pond or lake = 0.5 cp; per acre of townland = 6 cp; per acre of fortified land = 1 sp
Summer = Nobility Tax (each family displaying tokens of nobility pays 5 gp) <assess this to cavaliers (and other characters) who have their own coat-of-arms?>
Autumn = The Tithe ("two shillings in the pound on all produce, rents, and profits from the land") <assess this to high-level characters with income from territory development> **
Autumn = Income Tax ("mostly assessed against merchants and such" : 0.5%) <assess this merchants and those who own their own businesses> **
Winter = Poll Tax ("assessed on every head in the kingdom"
Adult = 2 cp; child or marketable beast = 1 cp; riding horse = 1 sp
Winter = Magic Tax ("on all magical items")
Potion = 1 cp; scroll = 1 sp; book = 3 sp; ring = 5 sp; wand = 10 sp; miscellaneous item = 12 sp; weapon = 1 gp; artifact or relic = 20 gp
Winter = Sword Tax ("on every edged weapon")
Sword Tax (on all edged weapons 9 inches or more long): 1 cp for every 2 inches of edge plus 1 cp for each pound of weight
Winter = Henchmen Tax ("on all who have retainers")
every henchman = 2 sp, every hireling = 1 sp
"A pedlar's license to sell his goods costs a penny per market day" (1 cp)
"while a beggar's license costs a penny each season" (1 cp)
manufacturer's license = 2 gp per year
scholar who desires to operate a school = 1 gp per year
vintners, brewers, bakers and such, monopolists = 2 gp per year
Legal Fees and Duties
For the privelage of bringing suit in a royal court = 10 sp (if argued in the royal court, the King gets 10% of the amount sued for, or a min. of 30 sp, from the person adjudged in the wrong -- in addition to what the loser must pay to the winner, whose damages recovered are taxable as income
Harborage in any port = 1 sp per day
To import certain items = 20 gp
To export certain items not at your exclusive risk = 10 gp
10 sp = "A bond of 10 shillings is required to leave the country"
15 sp = Naturalization
15 gp per year = to practice the profession of magic-user
5 gp per year = non-humans
5 sp = to purchase a writ from a Royal Justice
5% of profits, per year = moneychangers and moneylenders
50 gp or so = To knight a son <apply to cavaliers who reach the level of Knight?>
<** assessed for the year>
Originally posted by MerricB
Gaining treasure is muchly on the mind of my players at the moment, as they've finally reached a position where they each want their own stronghold, whether monastary, castle, thieves' guild or similar. And of course, such things are expensive! And I'm making much reference to the few paragraphs in the 1E DMG about terrain clearing, and the 3E Stronghold Builder guide for costs...
Having a base of operations changes the whole thrust of the campaign.
Be prepared for more solo adventures, and ready the forces of hostile NPCs to assail those places
The subject wasn't treated
in great detail by me bacuuse of lack of hands-on experience of considerable
With a mix of groups being DMed for, the state of each was such that most were stil adventuring in dungeons, cities, and the outdoors,
Only a few PCs had attained sufficient wealth and level so as to look towards establishing their own strongholds.
As the creator of a milieu, you will have to spend a considerable amount
of time developing the population and distribution of monsters -- in
dungeon and wilderness and in urban areas as well. It is highly recommended
that you develop an overall scheme for both population and habitation.
This is not to say that a random mixture of monsters cannot be used,
simply selecting whatever creatures are at hand from the tables of
monsters shown by level of their relative challenge. The latter method
does provide a rather fun type of campaign with a ”Disneyland” atmosphere,
but long range play becomes difficult, for the whole lacks
rhyme and reason, so it becomes difficult for the DM to extrapolate new
scenarios from it, let alone build upon it. Therefore, it is better to use the
random population technique only in certain areas, and even then to do so
with reason. This will be discussed shortly.
In general the monster population will
be in its habitat for a logical reason.
The environment suits the creatures, and the whole is in balance. Certain
areas will be filled with nasty things due to the efforts of some character to
protect his or her stronghold, due to the influence of some powerful evil or
good force, and so on. Except in the latter case, when adventurers (your
player characters, their henchmen characters, and hirelings) move into an
area and begin to slaughter the creatures therein, it will become devoid of
Natural movement of monsters will be slow,
so there will be no immediate
migration to any depopulated area -- unless some power is restocking it
or there is an excess population nearby which is able to take advantage of
the newly available habitat. Actually clearing an area (dungeon or outdoors
territory) might involve many expeditions and much effort, perhaps
even a minor battle or two involving hundreds per side, but when it is all
over the monsters will not magically reappear, nor will it be likely that
some other creatures will move into the newly available quarters the next
When player characters begin adventuring
they will at first assume that
they are the most aggressive types in the area -- with respect to
characters, of course. This is probably true. You have other characters in
the area, of course, and certainly many will be of higher level and more
capable of combatting monsters than are the new player characters.
Nonetheless, the game assumes that these characters have other things to
do with their time, that they do not generally care to take the risks connected
with adventuring, and they will happily allow the player characters
to stand the hazards. If the characters who do the dirty work are successful,
the area will be free of monsters, and the non-player characters will
benefit. Meanwhile, the player characters, as adventurers, automatically
remove themselves to an area where there are monsters, effectively
getting rid of the potential threat their presence poses to the established
order. There is an analogy to the gunfighter-lawman of the “Wild West”
which is not inappropriate. In some cases the player characters will
establish strongholds nearby which will help to maintain the stability of
the area -- thus becoming part of the establishment. Your milieu might
actually encourage such settlement and interaction if you favor politics in
your campaign. The depopulation and removal to fresh challenge areas
has an advantage in most cases.
As DM you will probably have a number of
different and exciting
dungeons and wilderness and urban settings which are tied into the whole
of the milieu. Depopulation of one simply means that the player characters
must move on to a fresh area -- interesting to them because i t is different
from the last, fun for you as there are new ideas and challenges which you
desire your players to deal with. Variety is, after all, the spice of AD&D life
too! It becomes particularly interesting for all parties concerned when i t is
a meaningful part of the whole. As the players examine first one facet,
then another, of the milieu gem, they will become more and more taken
with its complexity and beauty and wish to see the whole in true perspective.
Certainly each will wish to possess it, but none ever will.
Variety of setting is easily done by sketching
the outlines of your world’s
“history”. Establishing power bases, setting up conflicts, distributing the
creatures, bordering the srates, and so forth, gives the basis for a reasoned
-- if not totally logical in terms of our real world -- approach. The
multitude of planes and alignments are given for such a purpose, although
they also serve to provide fresh places to adventure and establish conflicts
between player characters as well.
Certain pre-done modules might serve in
your milieu, and you should
consider their inclusion in light of your overall schema. If they fit smoothly
into the diagram of your milieu, by all means use them, but always alter
them to include the personality of your campaign so the mesh is perfect.
Likewise, fit monsters and magic so as to be reasonable within the scope of
your milieu and the particular facet of it concerned. Alter creatures freely,
remembering balance. Hit dice, armor class, attacks and damage, magical
and psionic powers are all mutable; and after players become used to the
standard types a few ringers will make them a bit less sure of things.
Devising a few creatures unique to your world is also recommended. As a
DM you are capable of doing a proper job of it provided you have had
some hours of hard experience with rapacious players. Then you will know
not to design pushovers and can resist the temptation to develop the
perfect player character killer!
In order to offer a bit more guidance,
this single example of population
and placement will suffice: In a border area of hills and wild forests,
where but few human settlements exist, there is a band of very rich, but
hard-pressed dwarves. They, and the humans, are hard pressed because of
the existence of a large tribe of orcs. The latter have invited numbers of
ogres to join them, for the resistance of the men and dwarves to the orcs’
looting and pillaging has cost them not a few warriors. The orcs are gaining,
more areas nearby are becoming wilderness, and into abandoned
countryside and deserted mines the ferocious and dark-dwelling monsters
of wilderness and dungeon daily creep. The brave party of adventurers
comes into a small village to see what is going on, for they have heard that
all is not well hereabouts. With but little help they must then overcome the
nasties by piecemeal tactics, being careful not to arouse the whole to
general warfare by appearing too strong. This example allows you to
develop a logical and ordered placement of the major forces of monsters,
to develop habitat complexes and modules of various sorts - abandoned
towns, temples, etc. It also allows some free-wheeling mixture of random
critters to be stuck in here and there to add uncertainty and spice to the
standard challenge of masses of orcs and ogres. You, of course, can make
it as complex and varied as you wish, to suit your campaign and players,
and perhaps a demon or devil and some powerful evil clerics are in
order . . . .
Just as you have matrices for each of your
dungeon levels, prepare like
data sheets for all areas of your outdoors and urban areas. When monsters
are properly placed, note on a key sheet who, what, and when with regard
to any replacement. It is certainly more interesting and challenging for
players when they find that monsters do not spring up like weeds overnight
- in dungeons or elsewhere. Once all dragons in an area are slain,
they have run out of dragons! The likelihood of one flying by becomes
virtually nil. The ”frontier” moves, and bold adventurers must move with
it. The movement can, of course, be towards them, os inimical forces roll
over civilization. Make it all fit together in your plan, and your campaign
will be assured of long life.
Originally Posted by fusangite
I'm curious: in your vision of D&D, do all the various species of monsters in the Fiend Folio, Monster Manual, etc. all exist concurrently in the same world or was it expected that most campaign worlds would have a subset of these?
An excellent question.
the plethora of critters offered is a game device meant to keep the DM supplied with as large a roster of strange beasts to throw at his players as was needed.
For dungeon adventuring and really wild wilderness, such a broad variety makes sense.
For a defined world that
is less magic-heavy, then a narrower range of creatures is more logical.
In my Greyhawk campaign something over half as many monsters as were included in the three bestiary books were in play, the vast majority of those in dungeons or other planes.
I confess to creating new creatures in many a module just to have something confront the PCs that they didn't recognize and know how to deal with...
OF MONETARY TREASURE
Wealth abounds; it is simply awaiting the hand bold and strong enough to
take it! This precept is basic to fantasy adventure gaming. Con you
imagine Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser without a rich prize to aim for?
Conan without a pouchful of rare jewels to squander? And are not there
dragons with great hoards? Tombs with fantastic wealth and fell
guardians? Rapacious giants with spoils? Dwarven mines brimming with
gems? Leprechauns with pots of gold? Why, the list goes on and on!
The foregoing is, of course, true; but
the matter is not as simple os it might
seem on the surface. First, we must consider the logic of the game. By adventuring,
slaying monsters or outwitting opponents, and by gaining
treasure the characters operating within the milieu advance in ability and
gain levels of experience. While AD&D is not quite so simplistic as other
such games are regarding such advoncement, it nonetheless relies upon
the principle of adventuring and success thereat to bestow such rewards
upon player characters and henchmen alike. It is therefore incumbent
upon the creator of the milieu and the arbiter of the campaign, the
Dungeon Master, to follow certain guidelines and charges placed upon
him or her by these rules and to apply them with intelligence in the spirit
of the whole as befits the campaign milieu to which they are being
A brief perusal of the character experience
point totols necessary to
advance in levels makes it abundantly clear thot an underlying precept of
the game is that the amount of treasure obtoinoble by characters is
graduated from small to large as experience level increases. This most
certainly does not intimate or suggest that the greater treasures should be
in the hundreds of thousonds of gold pieces in value -- at least not in
readily transportable form in any event -- but that subject will be discussed
a bit later. First and foremost we must consider the placement of
the modest treasures which are appropriate to the initial stages of a
All monsters would not and should not possess
treasure! The TREASURE
TYPES given in the MONSTER MANUAL are the optimums and are meant to
consider the maximum number of creatures guarding them. Many of the
monsters shown as possessing some form of wealth ore quite unlikely to
have any ot all. This is not a contradiction in the rules, but an admonition to
the DM not to give away too much! Any treasure possessed by weak,
low-level monsters will be trifling compared to what numbers of stronger
monsters might guard. So in distributing wealth amongst the creatures
which inhabit the upper levels of dungeons/dungeon-like areas, as well
as for petty monsters dwelling in small numbers in the wilderness, assign it
accordingly. The bulk of such treasure will be copper pieces and silver.
Perhaps there will be a bit of ivory or a cunningly-crafted item worth a few
Electrum will be most unusual, gold rare,
and scarcer still will be a platinum
piece or a small gem! Rarest of all, treasure of treasures -- the magic
item - is detailed hereafter (PLACEMENT OF MAGIC ITEMS). If some
group of creatures actually has a treasure of 11 gold pieces, another will
have 2,000 coppers and yet a third nothing save a few rusty weapons. Of
course, all treasure is not in precious metals or rare or finely made substances.
Is not a suit of armor of great value? What of a supply of oil? a vial
of holy water? weapons? provisions? animals? The upper levels of a dungeon
need not be stuffed like a piggy bank to provide meaningful treasures
to the clever player character.
Assign each monster treasure, or lack thereof,
with reason. The group of
brigands has been successful of late, and each has a few coppers left from
roistering, while their leader actually has a small sum of silver hid away coupled
with salvaged armor, weapons, and any odd supplies or animals
they might have around. This will be a rich find indeed! The giant rats have
nothing at all, save a nasty, filthy bite; but the centipedes living beneath a
pile of rotting furniture did for an incautious adventurer some years ago,
and his skeletal remains are visible still, one hand thrust beneath the
debris of the nest. Hidden from view is a silver bracelet with an agate, the
whole thing being valued at 20 gold pieces. Thus, intelligent monsters, or
those which hove an affinity for bright, shiny objects will consciously
gather and hoard treasures. Others will possibly have some as an
incidental remainder of their natural hunting or self-defense or aggressive
behavior or whatever. Naturally, some monsters will be so unfortunate as
to have nothing of value at all, despite their desire to the contrary - but
these creatures might know of other monsters (whom they hate and envy)
who do have wealth!
In more inaccessible regions there will
be stronger monsters -- whether
due to numbers or individual prowess is immaterial. These creatures will
have more treasure, at least those with any at all. Copper will give way to
silver, silver to electrum, electrum to gold. Everyday objects which can be
sold off for a profit -- the armor and weapons and suchlike -- will be
replaced by silks, brocades, tapestries, and similar items. Ivory and spices,
furs and bronze statues, platinum, gems and jewelry will trickle upwards
from the depths of the dungeon or in from the fastness of wilderlands. But
hold! This is not a signal to begin throwing heaps of treasure at players as
if you were some mad Midas hating what he created by his touch. Always
bear in mind the effect that the successful gaining of any treasure, or set of
treasures, will have upon the player characters and the campaign as a
whole. Consider this example:
A pair of exceedingly large, powerful and
ferocious ogres has taken up
abode in a chamber at the base of a shaft which gives to the land above.
From here they raid both the upper lands and the dungeons roundabout.
These creatures have accumulated over 2,000 g.p. in wealth, but it is obviously
not in a pair of 1,000 g.p. gems. Rather, they have gathered an assortment
of goods whose combined value is well in excess of two
thousand gold nobles (the coin of the realm). Rather than stocking a
treasure which the victorious ployer characters can easily gather and carry
to the surface, you maximize the challenge by making it one which ogres
would naturally accrue in the process of their raiding. There are many
copper and silver coins in a large, locked iron chest. There are pewter
vessels worth a fair number of silver pieces. An inlaid wooden coffer,
worth 100 gold pieces alone, holds a finely wrought silver necklace worth
an incredible 350 gold pieces! Food and other provisions scattered about
amount to another hundred or so gold nobles value, and one of the ogres
wears a badly tanned fur cape which will fetch 50 gold pieces nonetheless.
Finally, there are several good helmets (used as drinking cups), a
bardiche, and a two-handed sword (with silver wire wrapped about its hilt
and a lapis lazuli pommel to make it worth three times its normal value)
which complete the treasure. If the adventurers overcome the ogres, they
must still recognize all of the items of value and transport them to the
surface. What is left behind will be taken by other residents of the netherworld
in no time at all, so the bold victors have quite a task before them. It
did not end with a mere slaying of ogres . . . .
In like manner the hoard of a dragon could
destroy a campaign if the
treasure of Smaug, in THE HOBBIT, were to be used as an example of what
such a trove should contain. Not so for the wise DM! He or she will place a
few choice and portable items, some not-so-choice because they are
difficult to carry off, and finally top (or rather bottom and top) the whole
with mounds, piles, and layers of copper pieces, silver, etc. There will be
much there, but even the cleverest of players will be more than hard put to
figure out a way to garner the bulk of it after driving off, subduing, or
slaying the treasure's guardian. Many other avaricious monsters are
eagerly awaiting the opportunity to help themselves to an unguarded
dragon hoard, and news travels fast. Who will stay behind to mind the
coins while the rest of a party goes off to dispose of the better part of the
loot? Not their henchmen! What a problem . . .
In the event that generosity should overcome
you, and you find that in a
moment of weakness you actually allowed too much treasure to fall into
the players' hands, there are steps which must be taken to rectify matters.
The player characters themselves could become attractive to others
seeking such gains. The local rulers will desire a shore, prices will rise for
services in demand from these now wealthy personages, etc. All this is not
to actually penalize success. It is a logical abstraction of their actions, it
stimulates them to adventure anew, and it also maintains the campaign in
balance. These rules will see to it that experience levels are not gained too
quickly as long as you do your part as DM!
Originally Posted by Quasqueton
I've got a question based on two observations about AD&D1.
1- In looking back through some old official D&D adventure modules, I see the treasure awards were usually very high -- many thousands of gp worth of treasure (not counting magic items).
2- The AD&D1 rules called for some pretty hefty training costs to level up.
Which came first? Was the confiscatory training costs an answer to strip away all that treasure given in the adventure modules, or was the level of treasure given in adventure modules increased to cover the cost of training?
Thanks, and Merry Christmas.
Yuletide Salutations Quasqueton
Gaining lots of treasure is something I always favored. To keep it moving I encouraged players to have their PCs hire many retainers, troops, build a castle, etc. When that failed to keep them seeking more wealth the trainig costs and other cash-draining devices were added into the game.
PLACEMENT OF MAGIC
Just as it is important to use forethought and consideration in placing
valuable metals and other substances with monsters or otherwise hiding
them in dungeon || wilderness, the placement of magic items is a serious
matter. Thoughtless placement of powerful magic items has been the
ruination of many a campaign. Not only does this cheapen what should be
rare and precious, it gives player choracters undeserved advancement and
empowers them to become virtual rulers of all they survey. This is in part
the fault of this writer, who deeply regrets not taking the time and space in
D&D to stress repeatedly the importance of moderation. Powerful magic
items were shown, after all, on the tables, and a chance for random
discovery of these items was given, so the uninitiated DM cannot be
severely faulted for merely following what was set before him or her in
the rules. Had the whole been prefaced with an admonition to use care
and logic in placement or random discovery of magic items, had the
intent, meaning, and spirit of the game been more fully explained, much
of the give-away aspect of such campaigns would have willingly been
squelched by the DMs. The sad fact is, however, that this was not done, so
many campaigns are little more than a joke, something that better DMs
jape at and ridicule -- rightly so on the surface -- because of the foolishness
of player characters with astronomically high levels of experience
and no real playing skill. These god-like characters boast and strut about
with retinues of ultra-powerful servants and scores of mighty magic items,
artifacts, relics adorning them as if they were Christmas trees decked out
with tinsel and ornaments. Not only are such "Monty Haul" games a crashing
bore for most participants, they are a headache for their DMs as well,
for the rules of the game do not provide anything for such play -- no
reasonable opponents, no rewards, nothing! The creative DM can, of
course, develop a game which extrapolates from the original to allow such
play, but this is a monumental task to accomplish with even passable
results, and those attempts I have seen have been uniformly dismal.
Another nadir of Dungeon Mastering is the
These campaigns are a travesty of the role-playing adventure game, for
there is no development and identification with carefully nurtured player
personae. In such campaigns, the sadistic referee takes unholy delight in
slaughtering endless hordes of hapless player choracters with unavoidable
death traps and horrific monsters set to ambush participants as soon as
they set foot outside the door of their safe house. Only a few of these
"killer dungeons" survive to become infamous, however, as their
participants usually tire of the idiocy after a few attempts at enjoyable
gaming. Some lucky ones manage to find another, more reasonable,
campaign; but others, not realizing the perversion of their DM's campaign,
give up adventure gaming and go back to whatever pursuits they followed
in their leisure time before they tried D&D.
means to set right both extremes. Neither the giveaway game nor
the certain death campaign will be lauded here. In point of fact, DMs who
attempt to run such affairs will be drumming themselves out of the ranks of
AD&D entirely. ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS aims at providing
not only the best possible adventure game but also the best possible
refereeing of such campaigns.
Initial placement of magic items in dungeon
and wilderness is a crucial
beginning for the campaign. In all such places you must NEVER allow
random determination to dictate the inclusion of ANY meaningful magic
items. Where beginning/low-level player characters are concerned, this
stricture also applies to the placement of any item of magic. Furthermore,
you need never feel constrained to place or even allow any item in your
campaign just because it is listed in the tables. Certainly, you should never
allow a multiplicity, or possibly even duplication, of the more powerful
items. To fully clarify this, consider the development of a campaign as
In stocking the setting for initial play
in the campaign, you must use great
care. Consider the circumstances of the milieu and the number of player
characters who will be active in it. Then, from the lists of possible items,
choose a selection which is commensurate with the setting and the
characters involved. For example, you might opt for several potions, a
scroll of 1 spell, a wand, a pair of boots of elvenkind, several + 1 magic
arrows, and a + 1 magic dagger. As these items will be guarded by
relatively weak creatures, you will allow only weak items. The potions will
be healing, heroism, levitation or the like. The spell on the scroll will be
low level -- first or second. If you do decide placement of the wand is appropriate,
you will make certain that its guardian will use it in defense,
and the instrument will have few charges left in any event, with a power
which is not out of line with the level of the characters likely to acquire it.
The magical boots will be worn by a denizen of the area. While the magic
arrows might not be used against adventurers, the + 1 dagger will be.
With all this in mind, you place the items in the countryside and first/upper
level of the dungeon/dungeon-like setting. You never allow more than a
single item or grouping (such as 3 magic arrows) to a treasure, nor more
treasures with magic items than 1 in 5 to 1 in 10, as this is an initial adventuring
As the campaign grows and deeper dungeons
are developed, you
exercise the same care in placement of selected and balanced magic
items. Of course, at lower levels of the dungeon you have more powerful
single items or groupings of disparate items, but they are commensurate
with the challenge and ability of participants. Guardians tend to employ
the items routinely, and others are hidden ingeniously to escape detection.
Likewise in the expanding world around the starting habitation you place
monsters and treasures, some with magic. You, the DM, know what is
there, however, as you have decided what it will be and have put it there
for a purpose -- whether for the overall direction of the campaign, some
specific task, or the general betterment of player characters to enable
them to expand their adventuring capabilities because they are skillful
enough to face greater challenges if they manage to furnish themselves
with the wherewithal to do so.
In those instances where a randomly discovered
monster has a nearby lair,
and somehow this lair contains treasure, do not allow the dice to dictate a
disaster for your campaign. If their result calls for some item of magic
which is too powerful, one which you are not certain of, or one which you
do not wish to include in the game at this time, you will be completely
justified in ignoring it and rolling until a result you like comes up, or you
can simply pick a suitable item and inform the players that this is what they
found. It is only human nature for people to desire betterment of their
position. In this game it results in player characters seeking ever more
wealth, magic, power, influence, and control. As with most things in life,
the striving after is usually better than the getting. To maintain interest and
excitement, there should always be some new goal, some meaningful
purpose. It must also be kept in mind that what is unearned is usually unappreciated.
What is gotten cheaply is often held in contempt. It is a great
responsibility to Dungeon Master a campaign. If you do so with intelligence,
imagination, ingenuity, and innovation, however, you will be well
rewarded. Always remember this when you select magic items for placement
Is it OK for a DM to deliberately kill characters who have too many magic
Q: Can a DM give away
magical items in an adventure
and then later say that the items operate at reduced effectiveness
or have wholly new powers?
A: It may be that
the DM had planned ahead that certain magic
items would indeed change their abilities over time (a wand of wonder,
for instance, constantly does unpredictable things), but
often DMs alter magical items as a way of bringing the campaign
back into order if they find they've given away some powerful
items that are too tough to manage. This is not a good way
of handling the situation, since it does violate the spirit of the
rules, but it is one way to handle things. It would be better to set
up situations working within the rules than to arbitrarily say,
"Well, your +4 sword is now a +1 sword." Players will accept
changes done within the rules better than if they feel (and rightly
so) that they are getting rooked.
I will heed your advice and let the adventurers find it in the way you suggest. 8)
that's the sirit. make those lazy PC go out and risk life and limb to gain magical goodies. None of that namby-pamby purchasing or forging such items on their own. That's for sissy new D&D players
Gary, what are your thoughts on the ratio of magic items in a party?
I have been running my own game, and have used the ratio of 1 per 2 levels approx.
Thus these guys are 6th - 8th level, and they have 3-4 magic items(Excluding scrolls and potions.)
Is there a ratio you like
Sorry, but I missed this before
That seems to be a good rule of thumb, although after 10th level I would expect it to rise to 1 per level for magic-users.
Originally Posted by Delta
Gary, how many magic items did you normally see on a name level (for example) PC in your D&D games?
I thought to ask as I looked at some of the classic AD&D adventures. With the 1981 printing of "Against the Giants", the "Caution" note says PCs should come with 2 or 3 magic items. But the "Original Tournament Characters" at the end have between 5 and 11 magic items each.
So what would you expect for PCs of this level: 2-3? Half-a-dozen? 10 or more magic items?
If the PCs are walking magic shope, the encounters get beefed up accordingly.
Mordie has about six or seven he carries with him at all times, mainly things to up his AC and number of spells on tap.
Potions and scrolls count as only half or less of a normal, reusable item.
Originally Posted by Delta
Gary, thanks for the insight.
Welcome, and trust that you understood the opening of my response. The GM should not worry about limiting PCs' equippage of magical sort, merely manage it through "adjusted" encounters...
Originally Posted by rossik
like what, mr gygax?
Potions and scrolls as appropriate, those mainly of the healing sort. When magic items of greater value are in order, keep them low initially, and only as the PCs eise in level should the power of such objects rise--say at 4th level, 8th level, 12th level, etc.
Watch out giving potent magic items to NPCs and monsters to use, for the PCs usually end up with them.
Originally Posted by Odnasept
Edena's tale of the constantly-doubling experience awards reminds me of one of my favourite mistakes in AD&D, made when I was but fourteen:
One of my players of similar age played a Mage named (uncreatively but surprisingly-appropriately) Merlin, and made liberal use of a necklace he had acquired around 9th or 10th level which contained five charges of a homebrewed 9th Level spell called Michelle's Chaos Wind (similar to a Finger of Death capable of effecting multiple targets). With this he killed more than one quasi-/demi-deity (unlucky saves on their part) and I, lacking official XP values for such things, decided to go the rout of impressing said player with progressively ludicrously high numbers.
Looking back at the character sheet a few years later, while I am not sure if I actually awarded a trillion or more XP, I calculated from what it looked like on that oft-erased area of the sheet and determined that he could be of around 6,053,008th level. I am glad that while we were playing I ruled that noone was available who could train Merlin beyond 20th level, but I would be very interested in knowing how Gary would handle a campaign with PCs of seven-digit level (I suspect remarkably well, but I am curious as to what kinds of challenges would be faced by said PCs).
A cautionary lesson for all DM there.
As a natter of fact i fell into the trap of excell XP awards back in late 73 and realized it soon enough to redredd the problem, adjust for levels too easily gained by making the next few doubly hard to attain.
Excell magic items are easily managed though, mainly through attack forms what require them to save ot be destroyed, or areas where they have a chance of losing their enchantment.
As a general rule I select the magic items to be discovered in a set encounter, use random table determination for all treasure in a random encounter.
On occasion I will have a
real magic item for sale, or available as a gift if a PC or PCs do the
prescrubed things correctly.
ANy item that can be purchased is of very minimal magic--mostly some minor healing or a +1 arrow for example.
Dealers in "magic" in my campaign settings are generally swindlers, and that makes it doubly hard for players when they come across an NPC that is offering something not a fake.
TERRITORY DEVELOPMENT BY PLAYER CHARACTERS
When PCs reach upper levels and decide
to establish a
stronghold and rule a territory, you must have fairly detailed information
on hand to enable this to take place. You must have a large scale map
which shows areas where this is possible, a detailed cultural and social
treatment of this area and those which bound it, and you must have some
extensive information available as to who and what lives in the area to be
claimed and held by the player character. Most of these things are
provided for you, however, in one form or another, in this work or in the
various playing aid packages which are commercially available. The exact
culture and society of the area is up to you, but there are many guides to
help you even here.
Assume that the player in question decides
that he will set up a stronghold
about 100 miles from a border town, choosing an area of wooded hills as
the general site. He then asks you if there is a place where he can build a
small concentric castle on a high bluff overlooking a river. Unless this is
totally foreign to the area, you inform him that he can do so. You give him
a map of the hex where the location is, and of the six surrounding hexes.
The player character and his henchmen and various retainers must now go
to the construction site, explore and map it, and have construction
If you have not already prepared a small
scale map of the terrain in the
area, use the random generation method when the party is exploring.
Disregard any results which do not fit in with your ideas far the place. Both
you and the player concerned will be making maps of the territory -- on a
scale of about 200 yards per hex, so that nine across the widest part will
allow the superimposition of a large hex outline of about one mile across.
Use actual time to keep track of game time spent exploring and mapping
(somewhat tedious but necessary). Check but once for random monsters in
each hex, but any monster encountered and not driven off or slain will be
there from then on, excepting, of course, those encountered flying over or
passing through. After mapping the central hex and the six which surround
it, workers can be brought in to commence construction of the castle. As
this will require a lengthy period of game time, the player character will
have to retain a garrison on the site in order to assure the safety of the
crew and the progress of the work (each day there will be a 1 in 20 chance
that a monster will wander into one of the seven hexes explored by the
character, unless active patrolling in the territory beyond the area is
While the construction is underway, the
character should be exploring and
mapping the terrain beyond the core area. Here the larger scale of about
one mile per hex should be used, so that in all the character can explore
and map an entire campaign hex. There are MANY one mile hexes in a 30
mile across campaign hex, so conduct movement and random monster
checks as is normal for outdoor adventuring. Again, any monsters encountered
will be noted as living in a hex, as appropriate, until driven out
or killed. However, once a hex is cleared, no further random monster
checks will be necessary except as follows:
1) Once per day a check
must be made to see if a monster has
wandered into one of the border hexes which are adjacent to unexplored/
2) Once per week a check
must be made to see if a monster has
wandered into the central part of the cleared territory.
Monsters which are indicated will generally
remain until driven out or slain.
Modifiers to this are:
1) Posting and placement
of skulls, carcasses, etc. to discourage intelligent
creatures and monsters of the type able to recognize that the
remains are indicative of the fate of creatures in the area.
2) Regular strong patrols
who leave evidence of their passing and aggressively
Organized communities whose presence and
militia will discourage all but organized groups who prey on them or certain
monsters who do likewise.
Assuming that the proper activity is kept
up and the castle is finished, then
the player character and entourage can take up residence in the stronghold.
By patrolling the territory regularly -- about once per week on a
sweep basis, or daily forays to various parts of the area, the character will
need only check once each week for incursions of wandering monsters
(see APPENDIX C: RANDOM MONSTER ENCOUNTERS) on the Uninhabited/
Wilderness table. Checks must also be made on the Inhabited
table. If no road goes through the territory, then but one such check per
week is necessary. If a road goes through, then three checks per week
must be made on the Inhabited table.
(This can be profitable if the encounters are with merchants and pilgrims,
less so with certain other types . . . .)
At such time as a territory has more than
30 miles of inhabited/patrolled
land from center to border, then only the second type of monster checks
are made, and all unfavorable ones, save one per month, are ignored.
This reflects the development of civilization in the area and the shunning
by monsters of the usual sort -- things such as ankheg might love it, however,
and bandits may decide to make it a regular place of call. As usual,
any monsters not driven off or slain will settle down to enjoy the place. If
regular border patrols are not kept up, then the territory will revert to
wilderness status -- unless the lands around it are all inhabited and
patrolled. In the latter case all of the unsavory monsters from the surrounding
territory will come to make it a haven for themselves.
Because this is a fantasy adventure game,
it is not desirable to have any
player character's territory become tame and staid. There must always be
a chance for some monster to enter the area and threaten the well-being
of its inhabitants. What is the answer if the territory is located in the heart
of some powerful state? Intrigue and petty wars, of course! If the territory
of a player character is part of a nation, then there will be jealous
neighbors, assassins, and the like to threaten him or her. In this case you
will have to devote more personal effort to seeing to it that there is still adventure
and excitement involved in maintaining the fief.
In territories hacked from the wilderness,
the "fame" of the owner will
eventually spread so as to attract inhabitants to the safety (?) of the area.
They will begin to appear after the player character's stronghold is
finished and patrols have generally cleared the area. The populace will
match the area and the alignment of the character. When a random
monster check reveals some form of creature who properly matches the
potential inhabitant type for the territory, then have them move in and
settle down, making proper subservience calls upon the master of the
territory, naturally. Hamlets, thorps, and various other settlement farms
will eventually be established here and there in the area, starting near the
castle and working towards the fringe of the territory. Once these
territories become settled and population abounds (relatively speaking)
they can be used as centers for activity -- good or evil or whatever. That is,
they can attract more of the ilk which inhabit them, draw opponents sworn
to exterminate them, trigger raids or reprisals, etc. Much of this depends
upon some action being taken -- hopefully by the player character forming
active groups from the population base and doing something, but as a
last resort action which you initiate by setting up a series of circumstances
which will bear upon the territory.
Fighters and clerics will be the principal
territorial developers. Magic-users
will typically become involved to a lesser extent, for they have many more
demands upon their time. The real benefit of having player characters
develop territory is the addition to your milieu. These areas become focal
points for action in the campaign if properly encouraged and handled, and
if things grow a bit slow, a DM-invented threat to some territory is bound to
get things moving with elan.
Going back to the construction of the stronghold,
when the player elects to
build he or she must be required to furnish you with a duplicate set of
plans of the castle grounds, its dungeons, and interiors as well. At the
same time you can give the player a free hand in drawing a small scale
map of the area immediately around his ar her stronghold -- say, on a 1
hex to 30 yards basis, so about a one-half mile area hex can be depicted
on a normal sheet of small hex paper, and a bit beyond shown as needed.
With your copy of this map you can plan sieges or other attacks as they
If for any reason a player who has developed
territory gives up the
campaign, or simply drops the character in favor of another, you can then
take over these areas and run them as you like to benefit your campaign.
In all respects, then, development of territory by player characters is a highly desirable aspect of the campaign.
It gives added purpose to play,
and provides long periods where the player can be actively involved in the
actual direction of the campaign milieu, which will eventually benefit
things regardless of what transpires at a later date.
Originally Posted by haakon1
That makes sense. What do to do with the conquered or rescued is often an interesting question, especially since I like to DM the "village in trouble" scenario quite a bit, and occassional set ups like "the mongrelmen aren't evil, they're just scared of the beholder". So, among the more interesting things left behind by my PC's is a little outpost fortress inhabited only by a firbolg giant and a blind human basketmaker . . . that's what happened to my version of Troll Lord's Dzeebagd, admittedly quite different in its details from the original module. Someday, I think the PC's will be awarded a feudal fief of all the messed up little places they "rescued".
In many instances the ones saving a place, or otherwise beinging law and order to it, become the overlords, one way or another.
Of course that is a mixed
They gain tax income and have resources, but at the same time administratve tasks that demand much time and effort.
Not a few wise players have their PCs decline any such awards in order to remain foot-loose and untroubles by any demands other that adventuring
Originally Posted by haakon1
You did that with active characters? We've done that with retired characters, who then becomes quasi-NPCs (the player still "owns" them in a general sense, but they're mostly background like any other NPC).
Did you running the villages/frontier post as an active, role-played thing, or as off-line downtime between adventures? I think some of my players might really enjoy that, but others would be very bored. Best as a downtime thing, for the most part?
All of my play was in group fashion, with the DM right there, and indeed most of my high level PCs were "retired" for use by the DM, by me on special occasions. The non-adventuring activities were managed by me creating the details in writing and having my DM, rob Kuntz, approve them. Of course when we became co-DMs of a unified campaign, I did what seemed reasonable for the NPCs.
With so many players, so diverse a lot of them, continuity was a problem, so the Citadel of Eight became more of a campaign law enforcement device. Mordenkainen's plans for s separate state in the Flanaess went by the boards at that time, so the "retired" status became general with those PCs--Mordenkainen, Bigby, Yrag, Riggby, and Zigby the Dwarf (who had topped out in level), Felnorith, and the Elves Vram and Vin (also topped out).
PEASANTS, SERFS, AND SLAVES
Peasants, Serfs, and Slaves +
A SAMPLE DUNGEON
A Sample Dungeon +
<definitive article: technically, sd, with an asd.htm 'oops' page>
THE FIRST DUNGEON
The First Dungeon Adventure +
A bit straped for time of late, so pardin the brevity of my response. Here's the order I would use, and I do agree with you about omitting the Queen of the Demonweb Pits module. I never liked it.
Keep on the Borderland
Village of Hommlet
Temple of Elemental Evil
Land beyond the Magic Mirror
Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
Glacial rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
Hall of the Fire Giant King
Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
Tomb of Horrors
Descent to the Depths of the Earth
Shrine of the Kuo-toa
Vault of the Drow
Isle of the Ape
(Necropolis, final portion)
You were very close in the order to play those modules.
To break between the G and D series have an important NPC send the party off to better equip and prepare themselves for the subterranean realms by exploring a newly discovered great underground hall and a forbidden tomb. Survivors of those two adventures will be much better able to manage the drow and the demons in the city of Erelheicindlu 8O
Originally posted by Angcuru
Well, there's one thing I've always wondered, Gary. When you run games, do you have your own unpublished homebrew, or do you use one of the pre-existing settings?
Have you(exclusively) written and published a setting? (I assume Greyhawk was a joint endeavor, if so, that wouldn't count in this respect .)
BTW, who developed Mystara?
I have done three world settings on my own: World of Greyhawk, Epic of Aerth, and the latest one, still in process of publication, and with developer input, Lejendary Earth.
I used my own special homebrewed
setting for A/D&D up to about 1978, then switched to the published
When I was running a Mythus campaign I used the Epic of Aerth, and currently my LA game campaign is based on the Lejendary Earth world setting and it's 20 pantheons of deities
Sorry, but i don't know who authored Mysteria.
Originally posted by Hadit
This brings up a tangential
question in my mind.
How do you view the changes a society would exhibit that had access to clerical spells of healing and divination? (The D&D society, basically.)
Would hunger and disease be effectively eradicated for the lower classes, or are clerics powerful enough just too rare to cover everybody's needs?
Take care, Duglas
If the world setting has active deities and clerics able to employ magic, the lot of the lower socio-economic class would be very much improved. There would certainly be sufficient lower grade ecclesiastics--hedge priests, friars, and monks--to cover the basic needs of the ordinary folk, while more able clerics would see to the greater concerns such as disease and crops.
The more affluent the agrarian and worker base, the more wealthy and advanced the middle and upper classes.
I am propounding this general theme, and admitting my error on not placing sufficient importance upon the ecclesiastics in the fantasy milieu that assumes active magic and like deities in the upcoming "Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds" reference book, LIVING FANTASY. that's a bald-faced plug, but the fact is i deal with the subject of improved conditions at some length therein.
Originally Posted by VirgilCaine
Mr. Gygax, it is an honor and a pleasure to speak with you.
Do you prefer "high" or "low" magic campaigns?
Depends on the campaign,
but i generally have magic available somewhere in the middle, and as PCs
get higherin level, amke it more available to them as they face more challenging
Originally Posted by Beale Knight
I have to echo Edena's sentiments here. When I designed my campaign world I designed it to BE broken by the players. Not easily to be sure, but certainly possible. I told them this up front, even asked them to break it. That's how I'm going to having my fun, seeing what they can do, watching them try wacky stuff, and having the powers of the world react accordingly. If the players try things that aren't well thought out, they'll pay the price, but I'm all for letting them make wholescale changes in the campaign world.
Of course PC are supposed to defeat the antagonists, solve the riddles, and succeed in the quests. That should be understood by all,
What is absoilutely counter to the concept of the game is the PCS destroying a significant part, let alone the whole, of the campaign base. That is not only vandalism, but the mark of bad DMing in my view. To allow such a thing to happen after the DM has worked long and hard to create a place for adventuring is just plain wrong.
The KotDT comic strip has used this as a theme in a number of their stories, because laughter comes form discomfort. Ruining a campaign is not really amusing at all.
Originally Posted by Steverooo
Yeah! Why, those PCs are always messing up your evil plans! Best to keep the pesky adventurers out of your worlds, all together! Why, they might even expend one of their weapon proficiencies on a Spetum, or a Ranseur, or... even go BOHEMIAN on you, and select an EARSPOON! Such advantage takers cannot be tolerated! <stick out tongue> <big grin>
Don't get up on a high horse here, dude
There is a big difference between defeating the obstacles the DM places before the adventuring party and the players ruining the campaign.
You seem to suggest that the DM should allow the latter, and that is sheer folly.
Originally Posted by Beale Knight
... I see messing up the setting as a step in and part of changing it.
Destroying ala KotDT is *not* the style I'm encouraging.
I'm pushing the players to have their characters change the world, not destroy it, and I expect things to get a little messed up in the process.
I just don't want a static world where the pc go adventure, come home, go adventure, come home, and nothing really changes because of it.
That's is a truism for all campaigns that are dynamic.
The GM lays out the initial backdrop for the adventuring, and the interaction of the PCs with that setting then develops events,
often in a direction not anticipated by the GM,
but surely as valid as any other result of sich interaction.
What is not permissable is
the descruction of the campaign base by the players' characters,
even if the possibility were inadvertantly presented to them by GM error--
Lord knows we all make plenty of those :\
Originally Posted by Steverooo
Destroying Eggsburgh, yes. Destroying the Temple of "Elemental Evil", or Tomb of Horrors?
No. If it had been done the first time, the current evils would've had to occupy some other place.
After the PCs had defeated the evils, destruction of their old haunts would be logical, and wise.
It depends on the desires of the DM in regards to anything destroyed, and if the DM regards the object of would-be destruction as instrumental to his campaign, then such demolition is out of the question <stick out tongue>
I can say that detailed world settings are not at all my cup of tea, for I believe that they constrain the GM's innovation and creativity.
A detailed city is another matter.
That sort of information assists the GM in creating interesting adventures.
Originally Posted by Geoffrey
Gary, how well do you think that your Epic of Aerth would work as a campaign setting for AD&D?
Ir would serve well indeed if the DM went over the material carefully and adjusted portions that assumed skill-based characters...HPs I should say