Thursday, September 29, 2016

Avoid the Lich Noids: Dungeons With Dominos (but on cards this time)

So these cards are a thing and now you have a dungeon in your pocket. Sure you could already do this with tarot cards or playing cards and such but I saw these and they are cool so I wrote this thing.Plenty of people already do this with dominos but dominos are less elegant than a pack of cards, this shit fits in your pocket or purse or killsack or shoe holster or empty magazine.

Shuffle them like crazy and then spread them out in a dungeon layout of your choosing. Roll a bunch of spare d6 to indicate doors like so:

1- Open
2- Closed, unlocked
3- Closed, locked
4- Closed, unlocked, trapped
5- Closed, locked, trapped
6- Unique (like it only opens for a code word or it's magically sealed or only opens at certain times or or or)

Put the doors wherever you want doors to be. Let the controller of the light source determine when you flip these cards over. You and the mapmaker make your notations so that when the light source moves away you can flip the cards back over. 1/2 of a card represents a 10'x10' cube.

By themselves each value represents something specific, with evens being physical dungeon features and odds representing animate opposition.

0- Blank space; only stone here or, if appearing in a corridor, an unpassable cave-in or floor collapse.
2- Decorative feature, like statues, art, or intricate architecture
4- Utilitarian feature, like a kitchen or shitterhole
6- Comfort feature, like a bedroom, harem, or torture chamber
8- Fuck You Carl Sagan room; a Wizard did this, something about this room makes something not work like normal; maybe it's gravity, maybe it's language, maybe it's caterpillars.

1- Nonhostile animal or NPC (NOT friendly - ambivalent at best)
3- Hostile animals
5- Hostile humanoids
7- Hostile monsters
9- 6+HD monster

Then we take care of a few things about rooms and card-on-card contact.
  • Only end contact is considered when determining stack-on effects. You can try stacking effects from all directions of contact if you feel like it but good luck my homegirl, let me know how the funhouse wood chipper comes out.
  • If the total value both sides of all cards present in a room is somehow LESS than the d6 result on the door through which you entered this room is instead EMPTY and devoid of anything interesting, the vaunted Gygax "breathing space."
  • For even numbers, the quality and extent of the room's features are determined on a scale of 1-10 (0 being 10) depending on what value that card is making end contact with; this might represent the craftsmanship or the vintage of the decorations of whether the place is just overstuffed. For 8s it represents the level (1-10) of caster this effect must be considered backed by. If an even number's end contact is divisible by 3 the area must be considered trapped.
  • For odd numbers the number of creatures encountered is determined by the card's end contact, 1-10, with the exception of 9s; for 9s you just have 1 such monster and the card you're making end contact with represents how many HD you have to add to 6 before determining the monster found in this chamber. If an odd number's end contact is divisible by 4 then there is considered to be something valuable here, "treasure" guarded or otherwise.
This is what I mean by end contact, parallel cards for like 30x20 rooms do not have end contact, you have to form either a line or a right angle to be considered in contact

Then of course we have other stack-ons to consider depending on what cards within a chamber or corridor are making some kind of end contact

01 Dead adventuring party
02 Rival adventuring party
03 Evil twin adventuring party
04 Time displaced adventuring party
05 Animal corpses
06 Humanoid corpses
07 Monstrous corpses
08 Warning written somewhere in room
09 Cryptic clue written somewhere in room
11 Overt clue written somewhere in room
12 Secret passage
13 Secret passage, dangerous
14 Secret passage, trapped
15 Edible food or drinkable water
16 Reliable map
17 Bullshit map
18 Barricade against one door
19 Multiple barricades
22 Dungeon entrance/exit, unguarded
23 Dungeon entrance/exit, guarded
24 Dungeon entrance/exit, guarded, locked or blocked
25 Important letter
26 Interesting reading
27 Useful reading
28 Magical message
29 Magical tome or scroll
33 Something is alive that is normally inanimate (not like undeads but like chest mimics)
34 Something cute
35 Something extra gross
36 Something extra creepy
37 Something seemingly benign
38 Something on fire
39 Hardcore nudity
44 A red herring
45 Something filthy and foreign that shouldn't be here
46 A machine beyond any reckoning
47 Magical surveillance
48 Mechanical or animal surveillance
49 Vegetable hazard
55 Elemental hazard
56 Metaphysical hazard
57 Non-damaging insects
58 Cobwebs fucking everywhere, too thick to see through
59 Something brand new, just made or purchased and at odds with its environs
66 The banner of some faction which is/was holed up in this dungeon
67 Fake treasure
68 Blood. Blood. Blood.
69 If you don't have a specific place you wanted to put the macguffin it is instead here
77 A dangerous language barrier
78 An animal doing something it normally doesn't, like a flying shark or a vulture scratching around like a rat
79 Cursed magic item
88 A ghostly flicker
89 Magic item
99 Altar to the Worst God
00 Unique physical feature

If a door is trapped or if a trap is present in the room then the value on the door (1-6) determines how many d4 of damage the trap does, while the number making end contact with the door determines the type of trap. If the card is doubles (like 9/9) then you may choose one or more elements to combine into one trap.

1 Needle
2 Dart
3 Spike
4 Blade
5 Crossbow
6 Acid
7 Poison
8 Crushing rocks
9 Pit
0 Magic, effect of a spell level equal to the value of the door/the door you entered through.

With these, a handy hex map, those story-generator dice, and maybe the Rules Compendium I'm pretty fucking set to run whenever. I mean I need to rearrange things a bit so the stack on effects make a little more sense according to the above but....it's something. I'm going to set up some time to run a game with this soon, stay tuned.