It’s not often I get to show off how artistically my development is arrested, but here we go…
A multi column dungeon dressings/rooms/accessories table, with columns like ‘natural cave’, ‘necromancy lab’, ‘mine’, ‘underground prisons’, ‘evil temple’ and whatever you feel like including. Oh why am I the 15th!??!
I’m afraid I can’t do this in the format that you requested. Well I could, but I’m not going to. I understand the OSR fetish for endless tables, tables, tables, but in this case, I wanted to do something different that will hopefully still be useful for you.
Today’s post is the first in a series of drop tables, the Kaotic Cave (2.4 MB file). This is the ‘natural cave’ table. These tables are all hand-crafted with no real artistic skill whatsoever and are not intended to reflect high production values. To wit:
Just grab a handful of dice and drop them on the table to fill several rooms and with trappings and possibly encounters or encounter hooks. Look under each die at every space it touches and arrange the items indicated on your map however you like. Each large hex has a smaller hex in the middle with an encounter. If the inner hex is not touched, have the monsters be away from their lair when the PC’s arrive. Maybe they are wandering, or perhaps they are in a battle with a neighbor. If multiple large hexes are touched, you can optionally include all the encounters together in a large room or hallway, battling it out.
I have tried to arrange these tables so that encounters that have similar window dressing are close to one another. The Kaotic Cave has several humanoid races close to one another with accessories that fit any group.
For example, the mound of skulls in the troglodyte hex could easily belong to the Kobalds. If I dropped a d4 on that space, as pictured, I would fill a cave chamber with smashed shriekers, a mound of skulls, a troglodyte corpse, a garden and some trogs fighting the kobalds in their home. Why in the Kobald’s home? If I didn’t have a preference, I’d just go where the larger part of the die is. If two dice cover the same large hex, I reroll the one furthest from the center.
I threw several dice with this, so for level one, I have:
- a pack of kobalds [sic] defending their home from troglodytes. They were warned by the dying alarm of their shriekers, which were placed to guard their garden (of mushrooms, I suppose) and the shrine built with the skulls of their ancestors.
- a room with troll bones,
- an ale cellar with a secret door to the outside,
- a corpse in the middle of a pentagram (no obvious explanation, perhaps a hook to later encounters),
- an owl bear’s nest with owlbear(s) and all the surrounding trappings (worms, bones, beetles, roaches, centipedes and a half-eaten dwarf),
- the mushroom mens’ home with its residents plus all the surrounding trappings (dung, glowing fungus, mulch pile, spore pods, guano and a mushroom garden)
- a room with rats eating a dead adventuring party.
Another throw for level two gives me:
- a room with a brazier and burnt bones,
- the lair of the giant spider, where she is hiding, plus all the surrounding trappings (eggs, more bones, small spiders, a giant web, mummified corpses and a secret exit),
- a room full of bats
- a hallway with a full backpack and shredded ropes and a trap
- a nest of flail snails with the snail family plus slime trails, trippy mushrooms, a dead party, a pile of bones, a pond and a bunch of baby flail snails.
- a dead, runt adult albino ape, lying on a dung pile, holding a cow femur
- a hidden room with weapons, armor and several jewels belonging to human bandits, who are away.
- the d4 went off the sheet, so I’ll add one wandering/pursuing monster to this level: It’s a minotaur who wants the dragon’s treasure but will let someone else kill it.
- The lair of the trogs, who have their own skull mound, human bones, a cave painting of demons, trippy berries, their own smashed shriekers and a half eaten kobald [still sic]. These would be the weak, young and elderly trogs, since the boys are out fighting. I wonder who started this?
- another chamber of bats and guano–the same large chamber as on level 2.
- A pool or stream with a secret underwater door, which leads to a lake outside.
- an abandoned campsite (formerly belonging to goblins).
- A gelatinous cube lurks in this chamber. A smart party will be wary once they find human bones, a map (of what? you decide!), a scroll of spells, a ring, gold coins and some bits of armor.
- The dragon’s chamber, complete with dragon, hoard, ceiling exit, eggs, melted armor slag, pieces of armor and a flock of birds that clean parasites from under its scales as it sleeps.
Now this won’t populate your megadungeon, but I think the above isn’t too shabby for a night of adventuring. The die rolls took twelve seconds total, while the typing took twelve minutes.
Here’s the Kaotic Cave as a hi-res jpeg at 2.4 MB. I’ll probably update the images to make them smaller and more readable later this week.
I hope it was worth the wait, Orsobuffo. Tomorrow: The necromancer’s academy.