Friday, January 23, 2009

Stonehell: The Contested Corridors

I meant to have this up earlier in the week, but events of a positive nature conspired to delay my completion of the third quadrant of Level 1. Stonehell: Level 1C – The Contested Corridors is now available.

This section of the dungeon presents the adventurers with an opportunity to influence the balance of power on the uppermost level and gives them a chance to make some allies that might either assist their efforts to explore the dungeon or at least not hinder them. It’s quite possible that a party can go charging into this area with spells and quarrels blazing and survive, but negotiations and good reaction checks will have their own rewards.

The Open Sore Orcs have recently dislodged a gang of goblins from their home section of the dungeon, resulting in an almost complete annihilation of the goblins. The goblins are desperate to reclaim their home area, but lack the strength to dislodge the orcs. They’d be more than willing to come to an arrangement with the party to reach this goal. Of course, the party might wipe out the orcs without even running into the goblins, resulting in a power vacuum within the dungeon that the goblins, or perhaps another humanoid band, would be quick to fill. If the party presses on deeper into the dungeon, they may discover that their line of retreat has become blocked by an unsuspected new threat that’s moved in behind them.

The idea that the dungeon should constantly be changing based on the party’s efforts and the duration of their absence from its subterranean halls is a concept that goes back to the origins of the game. It’s absolutely required to keep the dungeon fresh, especially if you’re using the megadungeon as the campaign’s “tent pole”. While the town and outdoor adventure are often touted as the time and place for the players to witness the influence of their character’s actions upon the overall face of the campaign world, there is no reason to limit this influence to just those types of adventures. The party’s decisions and actions should always have long-term effects on the game world, no matter if these actions occur above or below ground. This increases the vested interest that the players have in the game world and reminds them that everything they do has an impact, for better or for worse.

As with anything, it’s always best to begin small and allow the players to see that they do have an effect on the world in a manner other than wanton violence and accrued wealth. Whatever plays out in this small section of the dungeon is sure to have later repercussions as the party explores deeper and increases in power. A good referee will take note of these events and insert whatever ripple effect they might have into the campaign later on down the line.

Section 1D, the final quadrant of this level is currently in mental note form only. I hope to get to work on it over the weekend and, with any luck, I’ll have it up next week. Until then, have a great weekend everybody.

6 comments:

trollsmyth said...

Yep, couldn't agree more on what you said about the PCs creating ripples inside the dungeons they explore. In fact, as concentrated and enclosed a system as your average dungeon is, I'd expect their influence to be exaggerated in the dungeon.

- Brian

The Grand Wazoo said...

My group of players is still in 1a, and have just killed the giant gecko. They have been aggresive and a bit frantic as they have run through the halls. They have killed a few of the kolbolds that couldn't run fast enough, and fallen in a pit trap or two.
They are debating leaving the halls of stone hell to recoupe some health and see if they can fill the vacant spot in the party of the mage that was killed by the Gecko.
All still love the setting and I am enjoying the format of the setting, as well as the well put together collection of rooms and inhabitants.

Amityville Mike said...

In fact, as concentrated and enclosed a system as your average dungeon is, I'd expect their influence to be exaggerated in the dungeon.

That's something I'm trying very much to keep in mind. After all, the smaller the pond, the bigger the ripples.

Amityville Mike said...

They are debating leaving the halls of stone hell to recoupe some health and see if they can fill the vacant spot in the party of the mage that was killed by the Gecko.

Stonehell has claimed its first life. Excellent. I knew that gecko was going to be trouble.

Anonymous said...

Wazoo adventure log,
The party has bolstered their numbers and continued their stabby ways venturing into the contested corridors. The group forgot to bring their good dice though and have had three KIA and two captured by the orcs there.
I am thinking of the orcs ransoming the players back to the group but have not been able broker any parley yet.

Amityville Mike said...

The party has bolstered their numbers and continued their stabby ways venturing into the contested corridors. The group forgot to bring their good dice though and have had three KIA and two captured by the orcs there.

Man, if I ever get a chance to be visiting upstate in time for a game session, you're guys are going to kill me if I sit in on a game. :-)