Thursday, April 02, 2020

Recaps & Roundups part 56: Dungeon Geomorphs Set Two: Caves & Caverns

Also advertised in The Dragon #6 was the second set of dungeon geomorphs.  Like the first set, Dungeon Geomorphs Set Two: Caves & Caverns is a set of sheets with sample dungeon layouts that can be cut out and arranged to make quick dungeon levels.  Set One's layouts were simple dungeon rooms and corridors, while Set Two - like it says in the name - provides layouts for cavernous dungeon areas.

There's a sample level provided, that used geomorphs B II, D IV, E III and I II.  The letter indicates which geomorph to use, and the roman numeral shows which side of the geomorph should be facing up.  I've put them together below as an example.

It's a serviceable dungeon level, though as usual with geomorphs there are some tunnels that don't connect up, and others that go nowhere and need to be closed off.  I'm not the biggest fan of the lower right section jutting out like that, but I suppose it does get away from the dungeon design problem where every level just happens to be shaped in the dimensions of an A4 sheet of paper.  I wouldn't use geomorphs for dungeons that I'm designing, but they're certainly a handy tool for when you need to improvise.

As with the first set, there are some encounter key examples that are presumably written by Gary Gygax.  I'll reproduce them below.


13A. The Crystal Cavern -- an area where stalagmites, stalactites, and other such subterranean formations are in profusion. Some of them will glisten and glimmer, showing themselves to be made of precious materials worth thousands of gold pieces (18-2,000 gold piece value crystal of precious quartz stalagtites). Humans are not the only ones who are dazzled by such wealth and beauty, for ropers consider it to be their gem garden. There will always be 2-5 ropers around admiring it. Also, 1-4 additional ropers will come to it in 1-6 melee rounds if they happen to hear fighting.

13B. A party of thieves (levels: 8, 6, 4; HP: 25, 18, 12) waiting to fleece adventurers. They will attempt to hide in shadows and steal valuables from players as they pass. They will only initiate combat if the adventurers appear to be damaged and treasure-laden. The leader has a +2 neutral "Charm Person" sword (3 intelligence, 12 ego) and 1-8 gems (worth 500 gold pieces each). The sixth level thief has a +1 dagger and 100 platinum pieces. The fourth level flunky has 50 gold pieces on his person.

13C. The Mirror Pool -- a glimmering 6' by 3' mirror pool, contained within a sunken crystal basin. Adventurers may step into the pool and suddenly find themselves in a 60' by 60' room with an enraged efreet. They may step back out as easily as they open doors. The efreet wears four pieces of jewelry worth only 50 gold pieces each. Once encountered, the efreet will fight until defeated (37 HP) or until the basin is broken (to do so, a +2 or better weapon must be used). When the basin is broken, check on a six-sided die for the reaction of the efreet: 1--Efreet is insane from being cooped up so long, and will attack until killed; 2--Efreet rushes off to avenge himself, leaving his rescuers behind; 3 and 4--Efreet thanks group, gives them his jewelry, and then leaves; 5--Efreet will aid adventurers on 1-4 adventures (secret determination of time) and then vanish; 6--Efreet is so thankful that he will serve his rescuer for 1001 days.

13D. The Pile of Gold. Upon entering the area, the party will notice that there has been a fight. First, they will see a dragon skeleton and human remains. Then they will notice that there is still a large pile of gold left by whomever looted the room. As they approach the pile it comes to life, surprising them all, and attacks! It is a metal creature (the Aurotyugh) and so has some surprising abilities. It takes 18 hit dice (88 HP) and is Armor Class 3. It does 3-18 HP every time it hits, and its special attack ability is that it softens hard things. Every time it hits, its opponent goes down one Armor Class (so +2 armor becomes +1, or a Wyvern with Armor Class 3 goes to 4). This creature is worth 25,000 GP--the teeth are made of diamonds and if carefully and time-consumingly taken out are worth 30,000 gold pieces (but only 5,000 gold pieces if hastily pulled).

Interesting to see Gary adding a brand new monster here.  Whether it has any relation to the otyugh is unclear, and especially odd considering that the otyugh hasn't even debuted yet; it first appears in the upcoming Monster Manual.  I'm going to assume that this aurotyugh is a unique creation that takes the shape of an otyugh when it attacks, but is otherwise unrelated,

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