Host A Dungeon Dry Run

(Sorry about the giganto-post. If someone knows how to put the equivalent of LJ-cuts into blogger posts, please tell me.)

Shadowminister posted this and I decided to give it a try (because I love making maps and worlds). I used metal nuts and washers instead of beads or go pieces.

I mucked up half the rules by misreading, but this otherwise ran smoothly. My scanner is not cooperating with my, so you get blurry photos and a pixelly final map.

I really want to do this with a (much) bigger area to work on and multiple people.

1 is where it started, with a huge flood ripping out the Great Cave from the rock in the Primordial Age. Surprisingly, nothing much really happened in the Great Cave.

2 is the Underdark and the capital Drow city that sprung out of it, Dre'Kulath. It never actually got very big - I don't think it ever exceeded its initial population. The two big gold veins on the map meant the population was flooding out to build mining colonies. Eventually hobgoblins took up residence and renamed it Ogrir. They spread out and became the dominant power of the Age of Monsters, eventually triumphing in a bloody war with the gnoll.

3 is the second Drow colony, Shaktar. It was wiped out during the Great Slave Revolt. In the Age of Monsters, it became home to some Drow delvers, who were themselves eventually wiped out by the gnomes. In the end, because it was the only place on the map with a tomb, it became the home of the Lich Lord.

4 was a fun area. It was Shaktar's torture pit initially, and it had a pit-and-the-pendulum thing going on. When it got around to New Shaktar in the next age, it was a treasure room. When finally the Lich Lord needed a bone pit I connected it with him tomb above and filled it with skeletons.

4b (oops, used that one twice) - to the left - is Oshtrar, the second Drow mining colony. It became their new capital city after the slave revolt wiped out Dre'Kulath and Shaktar. In the Age of Monsters, gnome delvers took up residence and make it Vozitok, where they would hold out, besieged on both sides by hobgoblins and the Lich Lord's ghouls, until the end of the game.

5 is Zektalar, the upmost colony of the Drow. It never got around to fully mining its gold vein, which provided the hobgoblins (who eventually got to calling it Aurog instead of 'The Bigass Mine Where Gnolls Keep Killing Us') with needed resources when they spread out from Ogrir.

6 is where the gnolls began. For whatever reason, they called their territory the Grillig. They waged a vicious war on the hobgoblins in Aurog, and it looked like them being a breeder group they'd eventually win out in a war of attrition. They would've, if I'd read the rules more carefully and been applying population bonus to combat roles at this point. Eventually they were driven back into this den and put to the sword.

7 is the volcano that erupted at the end of the Drow Era, having a Krakatoa-like effect upon the surface world.

8 is the lava for the volcano. Yep.

9 is the only tomb on the map, and thus the lair of the Lich Lord when he arose in the Villainous Age. If I'd known he'd have shown up there, I would've made it a bit bigger. Right before he showed up some adventurers went in there with holy water and wiped out the drow zombies that had been sitting around for years.

10 was the Temple of Evil, home base for the Cult of the Devourer, a group responsible for the hobgoblin victory over the gnolls and the prime supporters of the Lich Lord. Eventually the gnomes went up and sacked it. The Devourer is a big spiney guy with two mouths, and he likes murder. I made the temple really huge because I wanted more room to draw the statue, and there was a lot of empty space. (I actually cheated to make this room. I hadn't rolled on the Special Features table yet, and I decided I'd rather have something from there than ANOTHER delver group).

11 is the troll den. A troll sat there for a few decades before the Lich Lord captured him. It probably smells.

12 is the corner of the Great Cave where the ogre-mage Bagomet took up residence. He got to beat up the drow zombies and take their lunch money before Vuldr caved his skull in. Huzzah!

13 this is the Grinder Cave, as in meat grinder. The battle line of the Hobgob-Gnoll War sat here for several years, and it got pretty World War One.

14 is a charnel pit/gnollish pantry that conveniently sat right below the Grinder Cave. Yummy dead things!

15 is the exploratory shaft that marked the end for the drow. They found the surface and decided that it was time to ravage the surface for resources since the gold veins had all but run out. An alliance of human nations mercilessly drove them back down into the Underdark and sealed off the shaft. That's what you get for worshiping spiders!

16 is the temple to Lolth where the priests of Shaktar holed up and called down he wrath to destroy the rebellious slave army. She did, and then slew all but the most devout few priests as repayment. Again, don't worship spiders, guys.

17 is the Statuary Hall of Oshtrar. Over to the upper left is the chamber of the big crystal statue golem that guarded the place. Both got destroyed in the Human-Drow War.

18 is the shrine to Lolth that eventually became a shrine to the Devourer, and the last place of Devourer-worship once gnomes destroyed the Temple.

19 isn't actually on the map. Whoops.

20 and 21 are tunnels made by a pair of ankhegs, the one on the right actually doing some damage to help put the gnolls permanently out of comission.

22 is the hidden series of caves made during the volcanic eruption that the two adventuring parties both travelled through.

Below's the chronology I made during the game. Excuse the overfrequent exclamation marks and melodrama (and the longness. Man, this post is big)

This was a dry run, so I forgot to take into account some rules and did a lot wrong. For one, I entirely ignored the surface kingdom during the Age of Monsters, and I never added population to the opposed combat rolls (whoops). Next time, though!

In retrospect, going over everything in pen at the end of an age, bigger paper, and a lightboard would be great help. Also, more tokens.

This game would be more fun with multiple people and a table-sized dungeon, so you could have three or four people mapping out big dungeons.

Years 1-11: Natural disaster! The Great Flood wipes clean the underground world and the waters carve out new caverns from the rock.
12: The Drow build the city of Dre’Kulath.
13: Spring, the Drow establish the gold mining colony of Shaktar. By summer, it is rapidly mined out and expands. In fall, the torture pit of Shaktar is completed.
14: Oshtrar is founded opposite to Shaktar. Shaktar and Oshtrar both continue to expand, Shaktar having nearly exhausted all of their gold vein. Oshrtar builds a torture pit, and Shaktar makes a shrine of gold to Lolth.
15: Shaktar exhausts its gold vein, but is already a major city in its own right. Oshtrar mines to the end of the vein that runs between them. Shaktar begins digging surfaceward in search of another vein, and makes connection with a massive cave chamber. Oshtrar builds their own shrine to Lolth.
16: Slave revolt in Dre’Kulath! The slaves overwhelm the small force of elite guards and slaughter the ruling caste of the area. Proclaiming liberty and revolution, the now equipped and emboldened slave army moves onto Shaktar, and organizes a massive fighting force out of its slaves. It is only by a desperate mass blood sacrifice that the priest caste is able to make the doors of the Shrine to Lolth impenetrable and call down her wrath on the slave rebellion - but Lolth is a cruel goddess, and she slaughters all but the most devout Drow in Shaktar along with the slaves! Except a few priests, all of Shaktar is wiped out, leaving Oshtrar as the only viable colony in the region. Der’Kulath now lies abandoned. Desperate for more resources to rebuild the region, Oshtrar begins mining upwards looking for another vein... and finds it!
17: Far above Oshtrar, the colony of Zektalar is founded, and expands rapidly. It creates an inventive new torture pit, figuring that more regular beatings will prevent another revolt.
18: A shrine of Lolth is founded in Zektalar, where slaves are regularly sacrificed in thanks and prayer for protection from another revolt. Expanding in wealth and power, Oshtrar creates a hall of statuary and forges a mighty golem in the image of the General-Priest that rules Oshtrar.
19: Bursting with renewed pride and lust for more slaves, the Drow make a mass sacrifice of slaves to Lolth to bless their effort as they tunnel further upwards and breach the surface, falling upon the human nations, looting, burning and enslaving all that they come across! Marshaling their many armies and setting aside disputes, the Nations of Man, led by the City-State of Delqora, form an alliance to push the Drow back into the underground in the Great Drow-Human War. Not content to let such a threat remain below their feet, specially trained war-bands are sent deep into the earth and use sword and spell to wipe the Drow from beneath their lands, with the teeming slaves all too happy to reenact the Great Revolt. The Drow Era ends in fire.
20: Volcano! In what some say to be Lolth’s revenge, a lava shaft tears up through the earth and erupts on the surface. The eruption showers ash into the atmosphere, dimming the sun and causing two years without summer for the surface. Nations starve, kingdoms crumble, societies are thrown into upheavel, but below ground life thrives...
21: The Age of Monsters begins! Rising from the ashes of the surface, Ironhaus Castle becomes a safe haven for humans as they defend against the marauding beasts from below.
22: Looting the remains of the lost cities, a band of hobgoblin miners take up residence in old Dre’Kulath renaming it Ogrir. However, they are beset by roving bands of former slave creatures of the Drow, and suffer heavy casualties. They swear revenge for their lost comrades.
23: A group of gnolls take up residence natural caverns yet unexplored, calling them the Grillig. Blocked off by the drow of the underdark and their former slaves, the hobgoblin delvers begin digging upwards to fresh caves.
24: The hobgoblin vendetta against the slave creatures continues, and eventually they are wiped out. The hobgoblin now have unopposed command of Dre’Kulath. Meanwhile, the dead of Shaktar rise and stalk their unholy halls.
25: A wandering troll takes up residence right near the top of the shaft the hobgoblins have dug. It begins feeding on the hobgoblin delving parties sent up to the Great Cave, picking them off one by one...
26: Intent on reclaiming its lost treasures and rebuilding their empire, Drow delvers rise from the Underdark and enter the ruins of Shaktar, founding New Shaktar. They are quickly fallen upon by the restless dead, who impede their advancement into the city and feast on their flesh. The hobgoblins finally drive the troll off from their lands, and dig a new shaft up, finding the lost colony of Zektalar. The gnolls, desperate for more fertile caves to support their population, tunnel into Zektalar and immediately fall upon the former slave creatures living there, wiping them out.
27: Hobgoblins: Delve into Zektalar and discover gold never mined by the Drow! They immediately begin mining.
Gnolls: Continue scrounging through Zektalar, slowly moving towards the Hobgoblin mines...
Troll: Lurks in its cave.
Drow: Reclaim the shrine to Lolth and all its relics, but in breaching its gates enrage the dead further, who slaughter delving parties and carry the holy objects back to their crypts.
Ogre-Magi: Seeking solitude for his blasphemous arcane studies, Bagomet the Ogre Mage makes his lair in a corner of the Great Cave near the great lava shaft. He expends his supplies soon, and finds the cave mushrooms poor fare to live on.
28: Hobgoblins: Continue exploring Zektalar, looting what little remains in the shrine of Lolth after the Drow-Human War. They find the shaft to the surface, and guard it cautiously.
Gnolls: Find the Zektalar torture pit, and decide to use it for food storage.
Troll: Lurks.
Drow: Fed up with the undead, the drow decide to move over to old Oshtrar. They reclaim the statuary hall, but also find grubby gnomes.
Ogre-Magi: Looking for richer caves, Bagomet descends down the old shaft into Shaktar, finding the walking dead of the drow, and takes from them the holy relics of Lolth they’d hidden away in their crypts.
Gnomes: A group of deep gnomes make their home in the ruins of Oshtrar, renaming it Vozitok. They clash with the drow of New Shaktar, using ingenious traps and superior technology to keep the drow at bay, and burgle their supply stores.
29: Hobgoblins: The hobgoblins and gnolls come to clash in what will become known as the Grinder Cave, above the gnolls’ pantry/charnel pit. It is a brutal war of attrition.
Gnolls: The gnolls fight the hobgoblins with vicious lust, indiscriminately dragging corpses out of the Grinder Cave to throw into their food stores. Sheer numbers make it seem that the gnolls will eventually overwhelm the hobgoblins.
Drow: The drow continue their skirmishing with the gnomes over Oshtrar. However, it seems the ingenuity of the gnomes gives them the upper hand against the drow.
Ogre-Magi: The ogre mage eats that wandering hobgoblin I mention below. Oh well.
Gnomes: With liberal use of the napalm-like Gnomish Fire, the gnomes wipe clean once again the scourge of the drow from the underground. Their treasures lie unclaimed in the re-ruined Shaktar.
Wandering monsters; A gigantic ankheg burrows its way between the Great Cave and Zektalar ruins, terrorizing hobgoblins, and another begins burrowing towards the Grillig of the gnolls. A lost hobgoblin wanders around the old Shaktar exploratory shaft. The troll remains in its cave.
30: Hobgoblins: The fight with the gnolls turns against them, and they suffer massive casualties in an ambush. The line of battle is pushed further into Zektalar.
Gnolls: Emboldened by their success, the gnolls continue pushing further into the caves, slaughtering and being slaughtered as they go.
Ogre-Magi: Bagomet encounters adventurers! And it goes veeery badly for him. The adventurers trick him into falling down a pit and then shove a boulder in on top of him.
Gnomes: The gnomes keep expanding into Shaktar.
Wandering monsters: They sit in their lairs, waiting...
Adventurers!: A force of adventurers from the surface descend through a hidden cave system under Mt. Damolath into the underground! With merciless (and mercenary) efficiency they kill Bagomet and take his stuff! Huzzah!
31: An evil cult of gnolls and heretic drow carve out a massive temple to The Devourer, and begin sending out missionaries...
Hobgoblins: Hobgoblin delvers find the entrance to the main chamber of the Grillig in the Great Cave, and a daring two-fronted attack is planned. Meanwhile, missionaries from the Devourer Cult reach the hobgoblins, and promise divine aid in slaughter. The ruined shrine of Lolth is converted into a Devourer Shrine, and group of evil monks take up residence sanctifying unholy relics. With religious fanaticism now on their side as well, the hobgoblins fall upon the gnolls, and successfully sack the majority of their makeshift forts.
Gnolls: Enraged by the sudden shift of the tables, the gnolls retaliate in the only way they know how: berserk massacre. This time their numbers aren’t enough, and they are successfully repelled by the hobgoblins.
Gnomes: The gnomes peacefully expand.
Wandering Monsters: Smelling the blood and fear of the retreating gnolls, one of the ankhegs bursts through the cave floor into the midst of the Grillig and begins devouring. It is eventually slain, but not before it has decimated the gnoll population.
Adventurers!: The party descends down the old Shaktar mine shaft and go grave-robbing and encounter the still-restless dead of the drow. They slay them by flooding the necropolis with an endless decanter of holy water, but are disappointed to find a lack of treasure.
32: A band of cultist missionaries arrive in Vozitok, and are rapidly executed by the gnomes.
Hobgoblins: Praise the devourer! The gnolls coop themselves up in the last tunnels of the Grillig, and prepare for their last stand. With murder on their minds, the hobgoblins rush heedlessly into the fray. Casualties are heavy on both sides, but now it’s the hobgoblins who have numerical advantage, and the gnolls are rendered extinct from the caves. The hobgoblins are now rulers of the caves, with power on par to that of the drow empire of old. The mines have become a town in their own right, and are now called Aurog. With the ascent of their nation, the Age of Monsters ends...
33: The Age of Villainy! While the gnomes begin to expand into Shaktar, strange forces begin to coalesce - the mass destruction of ghouls by adventurers in the old drow tomb causes a release of unholy energy that creates the LICH LORD. Sensing his power, the Cultists execute a coup d’etat and take control of the Hobgoblin cities, pledging their (literally) undying loyalty to him.
Lich Lord: With the resources and workforce of the hobgoblins at his command, he begins contructing a necropolis from where he will command his undead legions. A lab for experiments in creating more efficient undead is made, and the cave troll captured for research into regeneration.
Hobgoblins: The hobgoblins pay tribute to their new master, the Lich Lord, and marshall their still-bloodthirsty forces to do his bidding. Seeking ever more resources for their new lord, they raid Vozitok and make off with gnomish equipment.
Gnomes: Suddenly surrounded by the Lich Lord and his hobgoblin minions, the gnomes prepare for a long, long siege, as hobgoblin forces flood the cave tunnels.
Adventurers!: Faced with hobgoblins on all sides, a world-domination-mad lich lord building an undead army, and friendly gnomes in need of help, the adventuring party bravely assaults the enemy head-on. Alas, the hobgoblin horde overwhelms the poor heroes, and they are destroyed.
34: Lich Lord: With those pesky adventurers out of the way, the Lich Lord commands an assault on Vozitok.
Hobgoblins: The hobgoblins raid Vozitok, making off with vital supplies.
Gnomes: Discovering a source of evil near their city, the gnomes lead a strikeforce into the Grand Temple of the Devourer, easily overwhelming the cultists there and laying waste to the evil icons within. Retrieving the bodies of their fallen comrades from the surface, the gnomes take up the armory of magical equipment they had been carrying and assemble their own elite strikeforce.
Adventurers!: Descending through the same secret caves by Mt. Damolath as the last group comes
35: Lich Lord: Hobgoblin workers are used to onstruct (and then fill) a bone pit.
Hobgoblins: The hobgoblins continue their raids on the gnomes.
Gnomes: The gnomes begin to suffer heavier and heavier casualties at the hands of the hobgoblins.
Adventurers: Huzzah! The new band of adventurers plunges headlong into battle with the Lich Lord, laying siege to his necropolis. The battle is pitched, and near the end it looks like the Lich Lord victorious. But with his last breath, the wizard of the party blasts a hole in the wall of the Lich Lord’s lab. Lava spills in from the shaft, flooding the necropolis and burning the Lich Lord and all his undead legions to ash! The hobgoblins, seeing their immortal master destroyed, rebel against the Devourer priests and kill them on their own sacrificial altars. They enter into an uneasy truth with the gnomes, and it seems for now that the surface and underground is at peace.

8 responses:

Words fail me. How long did this take you to make, and why is it so awesome?

The endless decanter of holy water and the lava-suicide at the end are my favorite parts.

The thing that I love is, using this tool you're able to create the framework for one of those "mega-dungeons" that usually take months and a team of designers to make. Cool!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 8:45:00 AM PST  

I think about three to four hours all together.

The system is very conductive - I probably couldn't have come up with something like this just sitting down and drawing caves.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 4:17:00 PM PST  

Count me in if you ever decide to do a multi-person one. :-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 1:53:00 PM PDT  

I'm with Shadowminister. I'm speechless! That is one gorgeous dungeon.

And hey, if there's interest, I'd be glad to set up a multi-player game online somewhere. All we need is a forum. I've got one, but it's not the best software.

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