Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Recaps & Roundups part 61: Dungeons Geomorphs Set Three: Lower Dungeons

The exciting cover of Dungeon Geomorphs: Set Three

I origjnally had this product placed chronologically later in the year, but it's listed as being for sale in Judges Guild Journal M, so I've moved it back to June of 1977.  Set One was said to be available by the time Judges Guild put their first products out, which was in August 1976.  That leaves the question of when Set Two was first on sale.  It wasn't listed in the products for sale in Judges Guild Journal L, but it's there alongside Set Three in Journal M.  That leads me to conclude that Set Two and Three came out at the same time, but it's pretty weak evidence.  Weak evidence is better than no evidence, but I'm still not certain about it.  (ADDENDUM: I just discovered that Set Two was advertised in The Dragon #6, so it would have been available by April 1977.)

Dungeon Geomorphs Set Three: Lower Dungeons features - like its predecessors - example dungeon layouts that can be mixed and matched on the fly to create dungeon levels.  Set One featured simple dungeon layouts, and Set Two featured caves.  Set Three returns to the dungeons, but with slightly more complex designs, with more slanting passages and oddly-shaped rooms.

The instruction page for putting the geomorphs together is the same as in the first two installments (and can be read about here and here if you want more..  The sample level at the back is as follows;

The sample dungeon layout.

Every one of these sample dungeons uses the longer strip sections as well as the squares, and it really offends my design sense.  I'd prefer to see them laid out in such a way that they're still square or rectangular, which is boringly symmetrical but more aesthetically pleasing to me.

I'll reproduce the map key (presumably written by Gary) below.

7A. One huge Black Pudding, H.P.: 50. This monster is always very hungry, and it will pursue relentlessly as long as the party is in the room complex. Amidst the mass of junk in its lair is a bag of devouring with 7,000 gold pieces therein which it uses to attract prey.

7B. The Altar of the demon Sha-Hec'urah, set with fifty base 100 GP gems. There is a pit trap (10' deep, with six poisoned spikes) before it, with the cover trip mechanism to lock, unlock, or spring it hidden in a recess in a wall at the spot marked X. Touching the altar automatically alters 7C (below).

7C. An evil lama and curate (H.P.: 26, 21; A.C.: 0, 2; S.A.: Lama has snake staff and normal mace, curate has +1 mace) who serve the altar. With them is the "Arm of Sha-Hec'urah," a creature which appears to be a troll, but which strikes as a nine-die monster and causes only a loss of strength at 1 point per hit. Strength loss lasts for 2-12 turns, except on a roll of 20, in which case the loss is permanent unless a cure disease spell is cast upon the victim within 24 hours of the hit. The "Arm" wears an amulet which gives him this weakening ability. If he is slain the amulet may be worn by any player character, and his scoring a hit by touch will enable the strength loss to take place; the wearer loses 5 points permanently from charisma and will become more and more chaotically evil until becoming the new "Arm." The "Arm of Sha-Hec'urah": H.P.: 43; A.C.: -2 (due to the amulet). The "Arm" will call if below 20 H.P., and if the demon is thus summoned, there is a 10% chance it will come.

7D. 6 GNOLLS, H.P.: 13, 11, 11, 10, 9, 7. These are the guards for 7E, and as soon as they see any trespasser enter their area two will run for help, three will attempt to hold off the enemy for a moment, and the last will slip to the alcove in the passage leading out. As he hears his three rear-guards shouting, he will pull the chain which opens the bars of the cages set high in the walls of the chamber they are deserting, freeing 2 GARGOYLES (H.P.: 20, 17). In the far corner of the chamber are 3 magic arrows (+1) and 670 GP belonging to the gnolls.

7E. 2 STONE GIANTS. H.P.: 44, 36. These two are quite clever for their kind, having amassed treasure of 10,400 CP, 4,500 SP, 1,980 EP, and 625 GP stored in two large chests with no locks or protection.  They have hidden a potion of hill giant strength in a bucket of water on their table. The "water" in their bucket is actually a powerful delusive agent, and if it is touched it will cause delusions that the bucket has disappeared. There are ten base 100 GP gems hidden in the larger giant's club handle.

I'll use this sample dungeon level, combining it with the levels from the other geomorph sets to make a complete geomorph dungeon.  The only curious thing in the room description above is the note in room 7B that touching the altar will alter 7C.  It doesn't say how 7C will be "altered", so I'm taking this as a typo that should say that it will "alert" 7C.

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