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.