The Development of Towns in D&D: This article gives guidelines on designing your campaign's main town or city, where the PCs go between dungeon expeditions. The advice given is generally quite good, but in my opinion it errs on the side of over-preparation. (Yes, I realise how ridiculous that is coming from the author of this blog.) There are number of little rules tidbits that I'm going to pilfer from here:
- Cartographers sell wilderness and dungeon maps for 100 to 600 gp, depending on how remote the area is.
- A shave and a haircut at the barbers costs 1 gp.
- Armour and weapons can be bought at pawnshops, but they have a 1-in-6 chance of being defective.
- There is a 1-in-4 chance that a foreign merchant or two will be present in the main square.
- Horses can be boarded at the stables for 2-3 gp per week.
- In the seedy area of town, there is a 1-in-8 chance per turn of encountering a thief or a band of brigands.
- Soothsayers charge 20 gp to predict how a planned adventure might turn out.
- There are magicians who will cast spells for a fee of 50gp x spell level. Now this is something I will have to limit to very low level spells, probably only 1st or 2nd. The price is far too low for anything more powerful, and only the weakest and poorest of magic-users would resort to selling their services for such a low price.
- Brothels charge 20gp (and 35 gp for the special!). Bribes of 10-100 gp can be made to find out information.
- Surgeons can heal 1-6 hit points for 25 gp with a 50% chance of success. They have a 1-in-6 chance to cure poison for 35 gp.
- Scholars at the library can research facts for a fee that begins at 100gp and goes up as the info required gets more specific.
In addition, an inn named Falgrave's is detailed, which I will probably jam into the City of Greyhawk. It's run by a dwarf named Falgrave, and is mostly frequented by demi-humans. Falgrave himself is up on all the non-human gossip.
There's a quick method given for generating NPCs, which is pretty handy. It brings up the idea that adventurers are exceptional, and suggests rolling 3d4 for the stats of townspeople. I can support this as a general idea, but in practice there's no scope here for townsfolk to have any scores greater than 12, so I'm ignoring it. I'm also ignoring the suggestion that females only roll 2d6 for Strength and Constitution. But rolling 2d6 for every stat for kids? That I'll go with. Also provided is a means for determining random alignment, age, personality type, loyalty, initiative and level. It's nice to haved this sort of thing on hand.
To illustrate the method we get a sample NPC, Blatherson of Hillock. His stats are: Str 12, Con 9, Int 13, Cha 15, Dex 8, Wis 7. He's Lawful, old, loyal to his friends, and cooperative and friendly. He's 4th level, and though it doesn't say I will assume that he is a Fighter. He frequents the Golden Goblet tavern, where he constantly drinks mead and tells stories of his exploits in the Goblin Wars.
Introduction to Gamma World: Yes, Gamma World is going to be in my campaign, given that it has conversion rules in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. This article gives a brief background for the setting. The gist is that in the 23rd Century, life is great until various ideological groups start warring with each other. Into this chaos comes a mysterious group known as The Apocalypse, which issues an ultimatum to the governments of the world: stop fighting, or be destroyed. Man unites in battle against The Apocalypse, but the resulting war destroys human civilization and leaves the Earth devastated. Nice set-up, and I look forward to delving further into this later on.
A Re-Evaluation of Gems & Jewelry in D&D: This article presents a series of tables that give greater variety and accuracacy in determining the type and value of gems and jewelry. It falls a smidge on the over-detailed side, but even the author is smart enough to acknowledge that this doesn't work for the times when you find a crapload of gems together. It's fine for the smaller hauls, though.
For my campaign I'll be introducing these tables with the explanation that gem evaluation techniques make a sudden rapid improvement all of a sudden.
Still More Additions to Metamorphosis Alpha: Jesus H, is Jim Ward still cranking this stuff out? This time we get some new monsters. It's an eclectic selection, with mutated plants, animals, and even a few awful pun-based monsters modelled after the staff of TSR. The Gygarant, for example, has a Sonic Yell attack, I guess because Gygax used to shout at people a lot. You see what they did there? Eh, I'm sure it was funny to people who knew them personally.
Anyway, I won't go the details, because I don't know the MA rules at all. But all of these guys will be going into my version of the Starship Warden. Even the pun monsters, because although they are lame they are also quite functional and dangerous, at least to my untrained eye.
Next: The Dragon #9!